Today is the International Day for Biological Diversity, which aims to raise awareness, understanding and knowledge of biodiversity issues. The day was sanctioned by the United Nations back in 1993, and has become part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Biodiversity forms a core focus within sustainable development.
The Convention of Biological Diversity was signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, which is dedicated to promoting and encouraging sustainable development.
The Convention sees biodiversity as being much more than just animals and plants, but also the interrelated connection between humans, food security, a healthy natural environment, and access to fresh air and water.
This year’s theme celebrates 25 years of action for biodiversity, highlighting the progress and achievements made both globally and nationally.
Through the adoption of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 - 2020 and the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Convention of Biological Diversity has been able to create, implement and achieve a range of national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
The core vision is that by 2050 all biodiversity is valued, conserved, and restored, with the ecosystem services maintained in such a way as to ensure the health of the planet and its inhabitants.
This day also allows us to look towards the future and reflect on what needs to be done.
Australian citizens are encouraged to take part in World BioQuest 2018, which invites global citizens to find and identify as many wild animals and plants as they can from the parts of the world through the QuestsGame app. The data collected then assists with scientific research and biodiversity conservation.
So why is biodiversity so important?
Biodiversity forms the variety of life on Earth. The CSIRO highlighted 5 core values that humans place on biodiversity:
- Economically, biodiversity provides us with natural resources that we use for consumption and production
- We require biodiversity for ecological life support through the oxygen, air, water, pollination of plants and many other ecosystem services
- Tourism is one industry that relies on biodiversity, and so it is needed for many recreational activities, such as hiking, fishing and camping
- Our culture is also interconnected with biodiversity through our identity, spirituality and aesthetic appreciation. Imagine Australia without our beautiful landscapes – it just wouldn’t be what it is without the unique and endemic biodiversity hotspots! The southwest of Western Australia marks a prime location for Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) Biodiversity Hotspots
- And finally the scientific element of biodiversity, which presents us with the ecological data that we use to interpret and analyse the natural world around us