International Day for Biological Diversity

plants reflecting on a lake

The International Day for Biological Diversity is held annually on the 22nd of May, and it is a global event sanctioned by the United Nations. It was created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in 1993. From 1993 to 2000, it was held on December 29th, however since 2000, it is now held on 22nd May at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, as well as changing the date to avoid other events in late December.  

The event furthermore falls within the scope of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals, as current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystems undermine the targets and progress towards these goals. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can only be met when respecting and protecting the ecosystem and wildlife and preserving rich biodiversity and differences within species. With the aim of providing information and promoting awareness for biological diversity, this day hopes to respect, protect and repair biological wealth. 

If you have not yet heard of the term biological diversity, it refers to plants, animals and microorganisms, as well as the genetic differences within different species. Rich biological diversity, with a vibrant and healthy ecosystem, is essential for many important aspects of life, such as water, food, medicine, clothes, fuel, shelter, energy etc. to name a few. With the slogan of ‘From agreement to action: build back biodiversity’, the UN aspires to implement all measures from an already agreed upon action plan (the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework signed in December 2022) on a global level to conserve diversity and to stop and reverse the loss of nature by 2050. 

Loss of biodiversity is a threat to all, from our daily lives to species facing extinction. Many species, for example, the tiger (with only around 4,500 left in the wild according to the World Wildlife Fund), are in danger of facing extinction during our lifetime. The destruction of wildlife due to human intervention is a devastating loss, and without proper control and measures to stop and reverse this, will be catastrophic and irreversible.  

Biological diversity is also the pillar our civilization is built upon, with fish providing 20% of animal protein to around 3 billion people and over 80% of the human diet consists plants. Around 80% of those living in rural areas and developing countries also rely on traditional plant-based medicine for basic healthcare, which would not be possible without a rich and diverse ecosystem with interspecies differences. Diseases transmitted from animals to humans (zoonoses), would also increase with a loss in biodiversity, therefore maintaining biological diversity would help control and prevent pandemics such as the coronavirus.

There is no doubt that having a rich and diverse ecosystem is incredibly important to maintain and protect, to ensure we can continue living sustainably and use the resources we so heavily depend on (water, food, medicine etc.). Nature is beautiful, and we should wish and aspire to preserve it and the fascinating differences between different species, as well as differences within species. If you have ever stood in nature, without human intervention, and first-hand experienced the wonder of our planet, you would see the importance of preserving it and reducing the destruction we are causing.

If you want to learn more about the United Nations International Day for Biological Diversity, you can visit the official website

If you would like to volunteer in Reading towards wildlife preservation for the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.

Some more conservation and environmental volunteering opportunities, including local options, can be found online.


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