Held on May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity is a United Nations–sanctioned day for the promotion of biodiversity issues. We look at the importance of International Biodiversity Day and how companies can get involved.

International Day for Biological Diversity

This United Nations day aims to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and its crucial role in the survival of fauna and flora around the world

Look up the term ‘International Day’ and it seems that every day of the year has a cause attached. In May alone you have World Tuna Day (May 2), International Tea Day (May 21) and World Football Day (May 25). But none are as vital to human civilisation as the International Day for Biological Diversity.

Celebrated on May 22 every year, this day was created in 1993 to promote biodiversity issues to respect, protect and repair our biological ecosystems so all living organisms can continue to thrive in the face of increasing threats from climate change and human destruction.

Sticking to the plan

This year, the theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity is ‘Be Part of the Plan’, a call to action for governments, indigenous people and local communities, non-governmental organisations, lawmakers, businesses and individuals to highlight the ways they are supporting the implementation of the Biodiversity Plan – also known as the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Signed in 2022 at COP15, this groundbreaking Framework includes targets to protect 30% of the planet for nature by the end of the decade and restore 30% of the planet’s degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems. The agreement came after a devastating report released in 2019 by UNESCO, which demonstrated that human activities were responsible for a huge loss of biodiversity, which amounted to 75% of terrestrial ecosystems.

According to the UN, the increasing loss of biodiversity and ecosystems will undermine progress towards 80% of the assessed targets of its eight Sustainable Development Goals, with one million animal and plant species now threatened with extinction. Since over 80% of the human diet is provided by plants and 80% of people living in rural areas in developing countries rely on traditional plant-based medicines for basic healthcare, halting the loss of biodiversity is incredibly important for the health and survival of billions of people.

Looking ahead to COP16

The International Day for Biological Diversity comes ahead of COP16, due to be held in Colombia in October 2024, which will be an opportunity to assess what each country has done to fulfil their commitments to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

“We have a clear global mandate to halt biodiversity loss and create a healthy and sustainably ocean for millions of people all around the world, following the adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework,” said Environment Secretary Steve Barclay in May 2024. “It’s clear that we must now focus on taking action to achieve these goals and put nature on the road to recovery. We are set to publish the UK’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan soon and I urge all G7 countries to show leadership in publishing these ahead of COP16 in October.”


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