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World Biodiversity Day

By Aymeric Dufresnoy - Updated on 2022/05/25

[Credit R. Perrucaud]

A “World Biodiversity Day” is a day of the year dedicated, on an international scale, to a single theme. The United Nations calendar includes almost 140 World Days. The first World Day, Human Rights Day, was created on 10 December 1950, two years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. A World Day deals with a cause or issue of international concern and aims to draw attention to it.

The "World Biodiversity Day" was created (in Montpellier!!) in 1993 by the United Nations and has been celebrated on 22 May since 2000.

Many actors are involved in the development of World Days. The 4 main institutions specialised in their design are : 

  • the United Nations General Assembly, 
  • the United Nations Economic and Social Council, 
  • the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 
  • the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The aim of this day is to raise awareness about the preservation of animal and plant species and to defend biological diversity, the sustainable use of natural resources and the protection of genetic resources. There is a different theme each year:

In 2017: 'Biodiversity and sustainable tourism', 

In 2018: "Celebrating 25 years of the Convention on Biological Diversity", 

In 2019: "Our biodiversity, our food, our health", 

In 2020: "Our solutions are in nature",

In 2021: "We are part of the solution".

This year's World Biodiversity Day theme is: "Building a common future for all life forms", starting with the Binturongs, why not!

And since science only speaks in numbers, here are a few that we hope will make you want to get involved in preserving biological diversity:


- Fish provide 20% of the protein intake for about three billion people,

- 80% of human nutrition is provided by plants,

- 80% of rural people in developing countries rely on traditional plant-based medicines for basic health care,

- 3/4 of terrestrial and 2/3 of marine ecosystems have been significantly modified by human action,


If we cross-reference all the available data, we get some sadly significant results! In less than 50 years, there has been a 70% increase in invasive species and 1 million plant and animal species are threatened with extinction. In detail, the figures are chilling:


- 41% of amphibians are threatened with extinction,

- 1/4 of mammals are threatened with extinction,

- 30% of edible fish are overfished and 60% are fully exploited,

- 1/2 of coral reefs have disappeared in less than 30 years,

- 680 vertebrate species have become extinct since the 16th century,. siècle,

- since the 18th century,. 85% of wetlands (swamps, mangroves, ponds, etc.) have totally disappeared. On a global scale, this disappearance is three times faster than that of forests,

- 1/3 of the earth's surface is used to feed a single species (humans) and 50% of the expansion of agricultural land is at the expense of forests,

- Agricultural crop production has increased by 300% in 50 years,

- 75% of terrestrial ecosystems and 40% of marine ecosystems are considered "severely altered" by human activities.

Sources :

IPCC-IPBES (2021) – Biodiversity and Climate change

IPCC (2021) – WGII Sixth Assessment Report



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