[Oversea] International Year of Biodiversity

International Year of Biodiversity

News from BirdLife International

International Year of Biodiversity is not just a celebration, but a call to action

The United Nations has launched 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) at an event in Berlin, Germany. Speakers included Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, and a video message from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.

"BirdLife International welcomes the UN’s decision to choose biodiversity as its focus for 2010", said Dr Marco Lambertini, BirdLife International's Chief Executive. "With threats to biodiversity growing faster than ever, this is an important recognition of the urgent need for more action to halt its loss."

It was only in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro that the world's governments together recognised, for the first time in international law, that biodiversity is 'a common concern of humankind'. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known informally as the Biodiversity Convention, was created, and adopted by nearly 200 countries.

Importantly the CBD set global targets to significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010. These targets, along with national plans to achieve them, have been adopted by most of the world’s governments. BirdLife Partners throughout the world have helped their governments to compile national biodiversity inventories, and to develop their biodiversity action plans. Some BirdLife Partners have also joined their government's delegations at meetings of the parties to the CBD.

For BirdLife International, the world's largest partnership of conservation organisations, the IYB is an important focus of attention on the failure of nations to meet their 2010 targets of halting rates of loss, while spotlighting the need for real and binding future targets. The next conference of the Convention of Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010, will assess international progress towards the target.

BirdLife is an official partner of International Year of Biodiversity. With its sound base in science, and the BirdLife Partnership's global repository of information on bird populations, BirdLife International is uniquely placed to comment and report on the state of biodiversity for the CBD.

Action for birds has also been shown to benefit other biodiversity, while protecting and restoring the ecosystem services on which people and their livelihoods depend. Apart from its work on threatened bird species, the BirdLife Partnership's work ranges from the restoration of damaged small island ecosystems to the establishment and management of national and transboundary Protected Areas. Across the developing world, BirdLife is working with marginalised and impoverished communities, helping them to achieve security through land rights and representation, and sustainable livelihoods.

The CBD Secretariat has called for countries around the world to raise the profile of the IYB by celebrating the importance of biodiversity. "The local nature of the BirdLife Partnership means that we are well placed to run activities to celebrate biodiversity", said Dr Lambertini. "Many BirdLife Partners will undertake events and actions in 2010 in support of the International Year of Biodiversity. These will range from formal education and public awareness programmes to festivals and events celebrating biodiversity."