International Day for Biological Diversity 2016

May 22nd 2016 sees International Day for Biological Diversity (IDBD) return once again. Designed to increase understanding and awareness around some of the world’s most important biodiversity issues, the day was first created back in late 1993 by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly.

Initially, the 29th December was chosen as the International Day for Biological Diversity, due to that being the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity. However, in 2000 the UN General Assembly adopted the 22nd May as the chosen day instead, with one reason being that many countries found it difficult to carry out suitable celebrations around the 29th December due to the number of festivities and holidays that happen around that time. Moving the date to May, it was hoped would give participating countries more time to plan out events in honour of International Day for Biological Diversity.


This year, the theme for the event is ‘Mainstreaming Biodiversity: Sustaining People and their Livelihoods’. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, “biodiversity is the foundation for life and for the essential services provided by ecosystems”, which means that it can impact many areas of people’s livelihoods and development in a variety of areas.

According to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, over 80% of the human diet is provided by plants, with rice, maize and wheat providing 60% of our energy intake. There are over 80,000 species of tree on the planet, yet less than 1% have been studied for their uses. This is even though as many as 80% of rural communities in developing countries rely on traditional plant-based medicines for their healthcare requirements. With so many unknown species, microorganisms and invertebrates living on our planet, and issues around biodiversity, desertification and deforestation being so profound, as a population we need to be more aware of helping the world around us.

Biodiversity issues can have huge affects on a number of economic sectors, from agriculture and forestry to tourism. By taking steps to reduce the impact of biodiversity loss, and raising awareness of the issues that can arise as a result of biodiversity issues, the International Day for Biological Diversity is ‘investing in people, their lives and their well-being’.