With the adoption in 1992 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the international community recognized the value of biodiversity, and thus committed to conserve, sustainably use and fairly and equitably share the benefits of biodiversity setting the target of halting the current trends in its loss by 2010.
Biodiversity, the variety of life, is the visible and invisible basis for human existence. Large segments of the increasingly urban human population are unaware of the extent to which their material, social and cultural well-being is founded on the rich biodiversity of our planet.
The services biodiversity provides are the basis of human well-being. Biodiversity not only provides food, fibre, building materials and medicines but is also vital in regulating air and water quality and climate, in protecting us from natural hazards, erosion, and diseases, in recycling waste, and in pollinating crops. Our belief systems are inextricably linked to the natural world clearly linking cultural and biological diversity. Biodiversity supports essential processes such as soil formation.
In short, biodiversity is key to the services provided by the complex ecosystems on which our life-support system and well-being depends.
Biodiversity is being lost at an accelerating rate. Clearly identified causes include habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, over-exploitation and pollution. Underlying causes for this loss include poor governance, and poor understanding of the importance of biodiversity conservation for society’s well-being, and prosperity in the long term.
- Related links:
:: UNESCO International Year of Biodiversity
:: UNESCO and Biodiversity
:: Official IYB (website)