Monarch butterflies on a branch

World Environment Day

5 June

The United Nations designated 5 June as World Environment Day to highlight that the protection and health of the environment is a major issue, which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world. The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.

The year 1972 marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics, with the first major conference on environmental issues, known as the Conference on the Human Environment, or the Stockholm Conference. Later that year, on 15 December, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (A/RES/2994 (XXVII)) designating June 5 as World Environment Day and urging "Governments and the organizations in the United Nations system to undertake on that day every year world-wide activities reaffirming their concern for the preservation and enhancement of the environment, with a view to deepening environmental awareness."

"As 2021 marks the beginning of United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, led jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and with which UNESCO is closely associated, the formidable reservoir of experience accumulated in our biosphere reserves will now be of service to the world."
UNESCO Director-General
Audrey Azoulay Director-General of UNESCO
Planet Earth surrounded by grass
"UNESCO will be responsible for the "Humans in Nature" panel, which will expand and extend the avenues that have been explored for the past 50 years in our biosphere reserves in order to prevent the degradation of ecosystems worldwide."
UNESCO Director-General
Audrey Azoulay Director-General of UNESCO

What UNESCO does for Environmental Protection

Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB)
UNESCO's commitment to biodiversity
Geology, Ecosystems and Biodiversity
Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS)

Message from Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences of UNESCO

With its unique designated sites, UNESCO has been a leader in promoting in-situ solutions to the global challenges of terrestrial, coastal, and marine biodiversity loss.

UNESCO’s strategy for biodiversity is implemented in its designated sites. Over 10 million km², roughly 6% of the earth’s landmass, is already under one or more UNESCO designation, through its 1,121 World Heritage sites (including 252 natural and mixed sites and 114 cultural landscapes), its 714 Biosphere Reserves and its 161 Global Geoparks. UNESCO is also about the soft power to convene diverse interests, unite diverse cultures and emphasize shared human values. UNESCO believes that it is possible to transform mind sets to achieve sufficient momentum to bring change in this critically important UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

Conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity: UNESCO designated sites

Biosphere Reserves
Natural World Heritage
UNESCO Global Geoparks
"Attacks on nature are contributing to the health crisis."
Jane Goodall and Audrey Azoulay

On the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity, Friday 22 May, Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO, Jane Goodall, a primatologist famous for her studies on chimpanzees and ambassador for the Great Apes Survival Partnership launched by the United Nations, remind us that the global COVID-19 crisis must not make us forget to defend our planet's flora and fauna.

These stories on the importance of biodiversity from the perspective of young people in biosphere reserves were prepared by the Youth Network of the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme. In this article, representatives from around the world give us an insightful overview of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Read all of the stories
MAB Youth Programme
MAB Youth stories for the International Day of Biological Diversity 2020

Good Practices

The Tuawhenua explain their attachment to the land
BIOsphere and Heritage of Lake Chad (BIOPALT) project
Green economy initiatives reconcile people and nature in Ghana
"No Plastic" Campaign protects marine life in Principe
17 Apr. 1981
Executive Board paper submitting the report of its Committee on International Non-Governmental Organizations concerning its recommendations on the classification of these organizations in categories A (consultative and associate relations) and B (information and consultative relations), notes the Director-General's decisions concerning admission to category C (mutual information relations) of certain organizations
Resolution adopted by the United Nations' General Assembly
United Nation's Celebration of this day
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