UN leaders marking the 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity challenged the international community to promote ecosystem-based solutions that address biodiversity loss, climate change, and land degradation simultaneously, and to mainstream biodiversity in economic sectors.
In its first-ever online-only campaign, this International Day has focused on the theme: “Our Solutions Are in Nature”.
The lead up to the Day, which is celebrated annually on May 22, focused on science and traditional knowledge as a way to understand the drivers of biodiversity loss and pathways for a sustainable future, and linkages among biodiversity, climate, and land.
The year 2020 is significant for international biodiversity policy for a number of reasons. The objectives in the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan on Biodiversity and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets were set to be achieved by the close of the year. In addition, the 2011-2020 UN Decade on Biodiversity is coming to a close. Reflections on these experiences are feeding into planning for the “post-2020” global biodiversity framework, which will provide a 2050 vision for biodiversity.
The negotiation of a new framework is underway. Leaders from around the world are expected to focus on this framework at the UN Biodiversity Summit, in September. The new framework is scheduled to be adopted at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP 15). While the COVID-19 pandemic has postponed some of these preparations and pushed them into 2021, the celebration of International Day for Biological Diversity aims to prompt reflection on the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature.
In a video message marking the Day, UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted that “COVID-19 – which emanated from the wild – has shown how human health is intimately connected with our relationship to the natural world.” He emphasised the need to work together to preserve biodiversity in order to achieve the SDGs as we “seek to build back better from the current crisis.”
Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), stressed that biodiversity remains the answer to sustainable development challenges and basis for a sustainable future.
She highlighted the need to build a resilient and sustainable global economy that incorporates nature and equitable sharing of its benefits.
By Lynn Wagner, SDG Knowledge Hub