Bio- Diversity may be a strange or uncommon word for those concerned mainly about their selfish interests but it is a crisis of life or death for Planet Earth. May 22 was the International Day for Biological Diversity and the United Nations in a statement says while there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.
The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations, the UN says in a statement to mark this important day.
Given the importance of public education and awareness for the implementation of the Convention, the General Assembly proclaimed May 22 as the date of the adoption of its text, as the International Day for Biological Diversity by its resolution 55/201 of December 20, 2000.
The UN says 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Since entering into force, the Convention has been implemented through the vision and leadership displayed by countries, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities, the scientific community and individuals.
The theme for 2018 is celebrating 25 years of action for biodiversity. According to the UN, the results are considerable: the development of scientific guidance for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity for biomes around the world, the entry into force of the Cartagena Protocol on Bio-safety, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization and the creation and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
After adopting the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, parties have made significant headway in the achievement of a number of its Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
The Strategic Plan is comprised of a shared vision, a mission, strategic goals and 20 ambitious yet achievable targets, the Aichi Targets. The Plan serves as a flexible framework for the establishment of national and regional targets and promotes the coherent and effective implementation of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN says.
The mission of the new plan is to take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity and ensure that by 2020 the ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services, thereby securing the planet’s variety of life, and contributing to human well-being, and poverty eradication. To ensure this, pressures on biodiversity are reduced, ecosystems are restored, biological resources are sustainably used and benefits arising out of utilization of genetic resources are shared in a fair and equitable manner; adequate financial resources are provided, capacities are enhanced, biodiversity issues and values mainstreamed, appropriate policies are effectively implemented, and decision-making is based on sound science and the precautionary approach, according to the UN.
The UN says the Convention’s 25th anniversary presents a rare opportunity to highlight the achievement of its objectives at national and global levels. It also provides an opportunity to look towards the future, particularly, as we start to consider the follow-up to the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011- 2020.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a message to mark this event says the welfare and prosperity of people now and in the future, depends on a rich variety of life on earth. Since December 1993, when the Convention on Biological Diversity entered into force, its parties have acted to conserve the earth’s flora and fauna, in a sustainable and fair way, the UN chief said.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sri Lanka, along with the Western Ghats, is one of 34 ‘biodiversity hotspots’ of the world, with a large proportion of endemic species and a high dependence on its biodiversity for tourism and other social and economic activities.
Sri Lanka ratified the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1994. Article 6 of the CBD requires contracting parties to develop a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), or an equivalent instrument. This strategy acts as the principle instrument for the implementation of biodiversity conservation at both the national and global level.
We hope eco-friendly and responsible Sri Lankan citizens will go beyond the pettiness of party politics and preserve Sri Lanka’s biodiversity with this island paradise known to be having hundreds of varieties of unique species.