Environmental Dates: International Day for Biological Diversity

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.

This year’s theme reflects the importance of efforts made at all levels to establish a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda for the period of 2015-2030 and the relevance of biodiversity for the achievement of sustainable development.The selection of the theme also underlines the adoption of the Gangwon Declaration, by ministers and participants to the High-level Segment of the twelfth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The Gangwon Declaration welcomed the importance given to biodiversity in the outcome document of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and called for the further integration and mainstreaming of biodiversity in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Source: Convention of Biological Diversity

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World Habitat Day

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The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. This year, it will be celebrated on 7 October 2013. The purpose of World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.

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World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

The World Day to Combat Desertification is Monday, 17 June

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The theme of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is drought and water scarcity.

Freshwater is valuable. Of all the water on Earth, only 2.5 per cent is freshwater. And of all this freshwater, the total usable supply for ecosystems and humans is less than 1 per cent.  When demand for water exceeds available supply, it results in water scarcity.

Drylands are particularly vulnerable to water scarcity. The projected intensification of freshwater scarcity will cause greater stresses in drylands. While each person needs at least 2,000 cubic meters of water for human well-being and sustainable development every year, on average, people in the drylands have access to only 1,300 cubic meters.

Map: Water scarcity

The goal of the 2013 World Day to Combat Desertification is to create awareness about the risks of drought and water scarcity in the drylands and beyond, calling attention to the importance of sustaining healthy soils as part of post Rio+20 agenda, as well as the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

This year’s slogan, “Don’t let our future dry up” calls for everyone to take action to promote preparedness and resilience to water scarcity, desertification and drought. The slogan embodies the message that we are all responsible for water and land conservation and sustainable use, and that there are solutions to these serious natural resource challenges. Land degradation does not have to threaten our future.

Please help us spread the message through social media, sharing our graphics and using the hashtag #WDCD2013.
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