Saturday, May 23, 2015

UN chief sees biodiversity key to sustainable development (International Day for Biological Diversity)

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon on Friday called on everyone to recommit to global action to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, for people and for our planet, saying that biodiversity is essential to sustainable development and eradicating poverty.

The sustainable development goals and the broader post-2015 development agenda, which are under negotiation now, will provide an opportunity to mainstream biodiversity and promote transformational change in how economies and societies use and regard biodiversity, the secretary-general said in his message to mark the International Day for Biological Diversity.

Variety of life on Earth is essential for the welfare of current and future generations, Ban said. "Protecting ecosystems and ensuring access to ecosystem services by poor and vulnerable groups are essential to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger."

The International Day for Biological Diversity is observed around the world every year on May 22. This year, the theme " Biodiversity for Sustainable Development."

Later this year, the post-2015 development agenda will be adopted by world leaders at a high-level United Nations summit during the opening of the substantive session of the General Assembly in September.

Ban said reducing deforestation and land degradation and enhancing carbon stocks in forests, dry lands, range lands and crop lands generate significant benefits and are cost-effective ways to mitigate climate change.

Hence, any sustainable development framework must provide conditions for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for more equitable sharing of benefits, he said.

The globally adopted Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Biodiversity Targets provide a model that member states can use in considering how to implement the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Meeting these targets and addressing biodiversity loss more generally can contribute significantly to the post-2015 development agenda.

Also speaking on the Day, the executive secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Braulio F. Souza Dias, said biodiversity serves as a critical foundation of the Earth's life support system on which the development and welfare of current and future generations depend.

"Biodiversity underpins all those ecosystem functions and benefits essential to human well-being, not only in terms of our economies, but also for our health, food security, prevention of natural hazards, and our cultural roots," he said.

Souza Dias said that in the 21st century, conserving, restoring, enhancing and using the components of biodiversity sustainably can provide solutions to a range of challenges to sustainability and human well-being, including poverty eradication, food security, sustainable production and consumption, water security, disaster risk reduction and climate change.

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. 

It was first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, Dec. 29, the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity.

In December 2000, the General Assembly adopted May 22 as the International Day to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on May 22, 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of Dec. 29, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year. 

  Xinhua -

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