Features & Commentary
The International Year of Biodiversity
The UN’s International Year of Biodiversity in 2010 highlights REDD+ and what the UN-REDD Programme is doing to help conserve biological diversity on Earth.
2010 has been designated as the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) by the United Nations, in order to bring greater international attention to the issue of the continued loss of biodiversity. It intends to inspire action to safeguard biodiversity by raising awareness of and celebrating life on earth and the value of biodiversity. The CBD Secretariat has the main responsibility for the coordination of events and activities going on throughout this year.
Events and activities relating to biodiversity and its celebration are happening all over the world, including, amongst others, meetings, conferences, workshops, exhibitions and high level international meetings. Among the early celebrations was the North American Launch of the Year of Biodiversity on 10 February 2010, an event sponsored by UNDP that was held at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and attended by over four hundred biodiversity enthusiasts who braved storm and snow.
On the International Day for Biodiversity on 22nd May, celebrations and activities will be happening worldwide. From 20th-22nd September, the UN General Assembly will meet in New York, and one day will be devoted to a high-level discussion, featuring heads of state and government, on biodiversity and its contributions to the Millennium Development Goals. Finally, from 11th-29th October major meetings of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-MOP 5 and COP-10) convene in Nagoya, Japan. More information on these and other events can be found on the IYB website.
|Credits: Biosphoto – Montford Thierry |
REDD+ is of great importance to the conservation of biological diversity for two reasons. First, an effective REDD+ mechanism will provide climate change mitigation, which will reduce the negative impacts on biodiversity from a changing environment. This should lessen the pressure on species to adapt or migrate. If global mean temperatures rise more than 1.5-2.5°C (relative to 1980-1989), 20-30% of species will be at risk of extinction (IPCC 2007). Second, maintaining forests in developing countries, many of which are biodiversity rich, will significantly aid the conservation of biodiversity. It is estimated that half of the world’s species can be found in tropical forests (Myers 1984; Wilson 1992).
UN-REDD Programme contributes to IYB
Through its work on these key biodiversity co-benefits, the UN-REDD Programme is contributing to the International Year of Biodiversity. For example, UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) has been working with the Tanzanian Forestry and Beekeeping Division of the Ministry of the Environment to map areas of high biodiversity/ecosystem services and how they overlap with areas of high carbon. Work is also planned with Viet Nam and Bolivia. In Viet Nam, this will take the form of guidance on maintaining and enhancing biodiversity conservation during afforestation and reforestation programmes. In Bolivia, a synthesis of the datasets relevant to carbon, biodiversity and other co-benefits that have already been generated by various different actors is the first step needed in considering biodiversity conservation within their REDD+ efforts. Within other UN-REDD Programme pilot countries, the issue of multiple benefits for ecosystems is often identified and highlighted in their National Programmes.
The International Year of Biodiversity provides the opportunity to highlight the biodiversity aspects of REDD and, more specifically, what the UN-REDD Programme is doing to help address the issue of biodiversity loss.
IPCC 2007. Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Summary for Policy Makers. An Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Myers, N. 1984. The Primary Source: tropical forests and our future. Norton, New York and London.
Wilson, E.O. 1992. The Diversity of Life. Penguin, London.