While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity (biodiversity) is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.
Given the importance of public education and awareness for the implementation of the Convention, the UN General Assembly proclaimed May 22, the date of the adoption of its text, as the International Day for Biological Diversity by its resolution 55/201 of December 20, 2000.
Year 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Since entering into force, the Convention has been implemented through the vision and leadership displayed by countries, non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations, indigenous peoples and local communities, the scientific community and individuals alike.
The results are said to be considerable: the development of scientific guidance for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for biomes around the world, the entry into force of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation and the creation and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans. After adopting the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, Parties have made significant headway in the achievement of a number of its Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The Strategic Plan is comprised of a shared vision, a mission, strategic goals and 20 ambitious yet achievable targets, the Aichi Targets. The Plan serves as a flexible framework for the establishment of national and regional targets and it promotes the coherent and effective implementation of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The mission of the new plan is to: “Take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity in order to ensure that by 2020 ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services, thereby securing the planet’s variety of life, and contributing to human well-being, and poverty eradication. To ensure this, pressures on biodiversity are reduced, ecosystems are restored, biological resources are sustainably used and benefits arising out of utilisation of genetic resources are shared in a fair and equitable manner; adequate financial resources are provided, capacities are enhanced, biodiversity issues and values mainstreamed, appropriate policies are effectively implemented, and decision-making is based on sound science and the precautionary approach. ”
According to the UN, the 25th anniversary of the Convention presents a unique opportunity to highlight the achievement of its objectives at national and global levels. It also provides an opportunity to look towards the future, particularly, as we start to consider the follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011- 2020.
The Secretariat of the Convention disclosed that there will be High-level events and meetings in Montreal in Canada and New York in USA to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Convention.
The objectives of halting biodiversity loss and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems are included in Sustainable Development Goal Nº 15.