Madagascar giant day gecko
Commonly referred to as the Madagascar giant day gecko (Phelsuma madagascariensis), it is found in the Madagascar's Protected Areas System.
Photo:Carlos Crespo/UNDP Madagascar

As we encroach on nature and deplete vital habitats, increasing numbers of species are at risk. That includes humanity and the future we want.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres

We are part of the solution

As the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few.

This year 2021 the theme is “We’re part of the solution”. The slogan was chosen to be a continuation of the momentum generated last year under the over-arching theme, “Our solutions are in nature”, which served as a reminder that biodiversity remains the answer to several sustainable development challenges.

From nature-based solutions to climate, health issues, food and water security, and sustainable livelihoods, biodiversity is the foundation upon which we can build back better. That is the main message from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), key international instrument for sustainable development. You can find in its website promotional materials for your own campaign!

Logo for the theme 2020

Logo and other graphics to spread the word

Get our official logo for the observance, available in several languages, and other graphic pieces to complete our biodiversity puzzle. Get it!

Biodiversity will have more events to celebrate this 2021. The fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15, October 2021) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will review the achievement and delivery of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It is also anticipated that the final decision on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be taken. This new framework has included a focus on ensuring work to preserve biodiversity contributes to “the nutrition, food security, and livelihoods of people, especially for the most vulnerable.”

Beside, the efforts for a sustainable biodiversity will be represented in two new decades for the period 2021-2030: the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

When biodiversity has a problem, humanity has a problem

Biological diversity is often understood in terms of the wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms, but it also includes genetic differences within each species — for example, between varieties of crops and breeds of livestock — and the variety of ecosystems (lakes, forest, deserts, agricultural landscapes) that host multiple kind of interactions among their members (humans, plants, animals).

Biological diversity resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. Fish provide 20 per cent of animal protein to about 3 billion people. Over 80 per cent of the human diet is provided by plants. As many as 80 per cent of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant‐based medicines for basic healthcare.

But loss of biodiversity threatens all, including our health. It has been proven that biodiversity loss could expand zoonoses - diseases transmitted from animals to humans- while, on the other hand, if we keep biodiversity intact, it offers excellent tools to fight against pandemics like those caused by coronaviruses.

While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities. Given the importance of public education and awareness about this issue, the UN decided to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity annually.

Did you know?

  • Current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems will undermine progress towards 80% of the assessed targets of 8 Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Three-quarters of the land-based environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions.
  • 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction.
Ladybug image that links to the website of the free course

The Convention on Biological diversity and UNDP offer a free course about how to communicate the value of biodiversity.

Related links

Related Observances

Key documents

A woman picks tea leaves in a field.

An ecosystem is a place where plants, animals and other organisms, in conjunction with the landscape around them, come together to form the web of life. Here are the eight main types of ecosystem and some of the things that can be done to revive them. 

Goal 15 SDG logo

The objectives of halting biodiversity loss and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems are included in Sustainable Development Goal 15. Learn more about this goal, the importance of biodiversity and the targets we should reach by 2030. 

 

A crowd of women sitting and laughing

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.