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International Day for Biological Diversity

On May 22, 1992, the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted by the of the United Nations at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2001, the International Day for Biological Diversity is celebrated each year on the anniversary of this date.

International Day for Biological Diversity

The International Day for Biological Diversity raises awareness about preserving endangered habitats.

©iStockphoto.com/Terraxplorer

What Do People Do?

A wide range of events are organized globally to increase the understanding of the important role of biodiversity in our future. Celebrations are organized by: the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which forms part of the United Nations Environmental Programme; many national governments; and a range of non-governmental organizations.

Activities include:

  • Translating booklets, leaflets and other educational resources into local languages.
  • Distributing information on biodiversity via schools, colleges, universities, newspapers, radio and television.
  • Exhibitions and seminars for students, professionals and the general public.
  • Showings of movies on environmental issues.
  • Presentations of programs to preserve endangered species or habitats.
  • Planting trees and other plants that help prevent erosion.

Politicians may also give speeches on local environmental issues and other events may include competitions for children and young people to take photographs or create artwork centered on the annual theme of the day.

Public Life

The International Day for Biological Diversity is an observance and not a public holiday.

Background

In 1992 state and government leaders agreed on a strategy for sustainable development at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as "The Earth Summit", in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sustainable development is a way to meet the needs of people all over the world and ensuring that planet earth remains healthy and viable for future generations. One of the most important agreements reached during the Earth Summit was the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Convention on Biological Diversity came into force on December 29, 1993, and each anniversary of this date was designated the International Day for Biological Diversity. From 2001 onwards the date of this celebration was moved to May 22 due to the number of holidays that fell in late December. On this date in 1992, the text of the Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted at a United Nations at a conference in Nairobi, Kenya.

Each year, the International Day for Biodiversity focuses on a particular theme. Recently, the themes have been: Biodiversity and Poverty Alleviation (2003); Biodiversity: Food, Water and Health for All (2004); Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing World (2005); Protect Biodiversity in Drylands (2006); and Biodiversity and Climate Change (2007); and Biodiversity and Agriculture (2008).

Symbols

The International Day for Biological Diversity is part of a series of activities to focus attention on the Convention on Biological Diversity. The symbol of this convention is a stylized image of a twig or branch with three green leaves. Depending on the background, the leaves may be just outlines or green blocks. Each year a piece of artwork is commissioned to reflect the theme. Details of the artwork are used as symbols for different aspects of the International Day for Biological Diversity.

World Biological Diversity Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015FriMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2016SunMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2017MonMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2018TueMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2019WedMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2020FriMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2021SatMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2022SunMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2023MonMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2024WedMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance
2025ThuMay 22World Biological Diversity DayUnited Nations observance

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