22.05.2015

Sustainable development needs biological diversity

The International Day for Biological Diversity reflects the vital importance of biodiversity for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). As part of the post-2015 Agenda of the United Nations, the SDGs will be adopted in September for the period 2015 to 2030. The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) supports numerous projects aimed at preserving biological diversity and fosters sustainable development in developing countries and emerging economies. Many of these projects will be marking the 22 May with innovative activities to educate and raise awareness.

Biological diversity is an invaluable resource that comprises the diversity of plant and animal species, the genetic diversity within individual species and the diversity of ecosystems. It plays a vital role in global and local economies, for example in producing food and pharmaceuticals. Biological diversity and ecosystem functions and processes are essential for human health by providing nutrients, clean air and clean water, and by helping regulate pests and vector-borne diseases. Biodiversity is also the basis for ensuring many people's livelihoods. By sequestering carbon dioxide, diverse plant life plays a major role in reducing greenhouse gases and mitigating climate change. These few examples illustrate that biological diversity is essential for sustainable development and human well-being.

IKI supports activities that raise awareness on the importance of maintaining biological diversity. Since 2000, the 2 May has been important in this regard as the 'International Day for Biological Diversity', or 'B-Day', with a new theme every year. Many IKI projects will be marking this day with activities aimed at providing information, educating or raising awareness. For example, online discussion forums and expert discussions will be held in Indonesia. National campaigns to raise awareness will take place in Grenada, St. Lucia and Dominica involving music videos, playful environmental activities and discussions on the radio and via social media. In Benin and Togo, television stations will be broadcasting a panel discussion with high-level guests on establishing a cross-border biosphere reserve. In the Philippines, a competition will invite young people to take photos documenting activities that show commitment and dedication for biodiversity preservation, while in India nature hikes, film screenings and a panel discussion on the topic 'Business and Biodiversity' will be organised.

Thus far, BMUB has funded IKI with about EUR 590 million to support 144 biodiversity-relevant projects, which support partner countries in implementing the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity for the 2011-2020 period.