16.05.2011 -

Treasuring Biological Diversity

© UN-CDB

International Day for Biological Diversity 2011: Forest Biodiversity, Earth’s living Treasure

Biodiversity as a concept is both simple and challenging. We are familiar with the wide range of animals and plants that share our planet but are less familiar with the vital role biodiversity plays in maintaining our mutual life support system, and in both the physical and mental aspects of our well-being.

It is now widely recognized that we need to improve the way our societies and economies account for ecosystem services. We often take these services for granted, such as the ability of the forest to filter water or produce oxygen.

Forests can provide multiple benefits to society as long as they are not overexploited. The concept of sustainable use of biodiversity is essential in this regard: it means that forest species, ecosystems and genes are used in a way and at a rate that does not lead to the long-term decline of biodiversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.

UNESCO contributes in a multidisciplinary way to tackling the root causes of biodiversity erosion and loss due to unsustainable development, particularly through its Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB). MAB aims to set a scientific basis for the improvement of the relationships between people and their environment globally. It combines natural and social sciences, economics and education to improve human livelihoods and safeguard natural ecosystems, thus promoting innovative approaches to economic development that is socially and culturally appropriate and environmentally sustainable.

UNESCO will also host the next informal meeting of scientific organisations interested in the Intergovernmental science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), as part of its efforts to take forward this initiative, established in the landmark decision of the 65th United Nations General Assembly at the closure of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity.

This 2011 International Biological Diversity Day marks the launch of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity. The Day is preceded by the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development on 21 May 2011

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