The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 as,” The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) “ to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. A “Biodiversity Week”will be observed from May 18-22 to remind us that biodiversity is the basis for a sustainable future. On December 29, 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) came into force and each anniversary of this date was designated the International Day for Biological Diversity. From 2001 onwards the date of this celebration was moved to May 22 due to the number of holidays that fell in late December.
As the global community is called to re-examine its 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 health, water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few. The theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) on 22 May 2020 is “Our solutions are in nature” which emphasizes hope, solidarity and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature. The theme will cover 3 topics during the week leading up to the observance: 18 May will cover the importance of knowledge and science; 19-21 May will raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity; and finally, the day of the observance ,22 May will issue a call to action.
***Given the ongoing pandemic, for the first time, CBD will celebrate this day in a digital format via online-only campaign. This year, CBD Secretariat is in the process of creating digital assets to support celebration of the International Day of Biological Diversity (IDB).
This slogan can also pair well with different calls to action for each day. Calls for action could include: • Ecosystem-based solutions for addressing biodiversity loss, climate change and land degradation simultaneously; • Mainstreaming biodiversity in economic sectors. It also shows that people are part of nature rather than separate from nature. 2020 is a year of reflection, opportunity and solutions. It is expected, from each of us, that we will “Build Back Better” by using this time to increase the resilience of nations and communities as we recover from this pandemic. 2020 is the year when, more than ever, the world can signal a strong will for a global framework that will “bend the curve” on biodiversity loss for the benefit of humans and all life on Earth.
Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms.The biodiversity we see today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the influence of humans. It forms the web of life of which we are an integral part and upon which we so fully depend . So,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 resources are the pillars upon which we build civilizations. The loss of biodiversity threatens our food supplies, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and sources of wood, medicines, and energy. It also interferes with essential ecological functions.”Our personal health and the health of our economy and human society depends on the continuous supply of various ecological services that would be extremely costly or impossible to replace.”
For example, it would be impractical to replace, to any large extent, services such as pest control performed by various creatures feeding on one another, or pollination performed by insects and birds going about their everyday business.
Decline in biodiversity
1. In the last 100 years, more than 90 percent of crop varieties have disappeared from farmers’ fields.
2. Locally-varied food production systems are under threat, including related indigenous, traditional and local knowledge.
3. With this decline, agrobiodiversity is disappearing, and also essential knowledge of traditional medicine and local foods.
4. Half of the breeds of many domestic animals have been lost, and all of the world’s 17 main fishing grounds are now being fished at or above their sustainable limits.
5. The loss of diverse diets is directly linked to diseases or health risk factors, such as diabetes, obesity and malnutrition, and has a direct impact on the availability of traditional medicines.
Things you can do to conserve biodiversity
- Reduce your meat consumption .Eat and purchase seasonal foods
- Buy local foods. Promote local and indigenous biodiversity for food and nutrition
- Buy organic foods
- Reduce your food waste .Compost your food scraps
- Reduce food packaging by using reusable bags or reusing glass jars or containers
- Avoid single-use plastics like plastic straws, coffee cups, plastic cutlery, take out containers or plastic water bottles
- Reduce or eliminate pesticides and fertilizer
So, ”Our Solutions are in Nature” Nature-based solutions with biodiversity safeguards can help protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems, that also address societal challenges, thereby simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits. Whether it is food security, climate change, water security, human health, disaster risk or economic development, nature can help.
Dr Dimpy Gupta