May 22 is International Day for Biological Diversity

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. Observance of this day began in 1993 to commemorate the adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Each year a different theme is highlighted. Past themes have included Forest Biodiversity (2002); Biodiversity and poverty alleviation – challenges for sustainable development (2003); Biodiversity: Food, Water and Health for All (2004); Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing World (2005); Biodiversity and Climate Change (2007); Biodiversity and Agriculture (2008). This year’s theme is “Invasive Alien Species”.

Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms. The biodiversity that exists today is the fruit of billions of years of evolution, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by human action. It forms the web of life of which we are part and on which our lives depend.

Press releases on the International Day for Biodiversity and the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity can be downloaded from