International Day for Biological Diversity – UNESCO

Celebrating the IBD with a thematic webinar organized by UNESCO
On the occasion of the International Biodiversity Day, a UNESCO webinar set up online dialogues and conversations between experts, UNESCO networks, in particular their sites and youth networks, private sector partners and artists. The aim was to share scientific assessment of the unprecedented health crisis we are going through, but also to come together in this period of great uncertainty around common values, to share the resources on which we can rely upon to be collectively resilient and to make the necessary changes.

The theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity, which takes place on 22nd May 2020, is “Our solutions are in Nature”.

 This International Day is part of the year 2020 defined as momentous for biodiversity with major events planned (and mostly postponed to a later date) such as the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity or the Biodiversity Forum in UN New York. The current pandemic has shaken this international biodiversity agenda but also has revealed our total interdependence with the living world and our global interconnectedness.

“Every year, in late May and early June, UNESCO celebrates three major international days which are an important opportunity to consider together the three systemic pillars of climate change: biodiversity, the environment and the oceans. This year, at a time when the world has been struggling with an unprecedented pandemic for many weeks, these days are the occasion to remind us once again that it is only with a cross-cutting and ambitious approach that we can build a more ecologically-sustainable future. Of these three pillars, it is without doubt biodiversity that has been the most talked about in these recent weeks of widespread lockdown. The retreat into the private sphere and the desertion of most public spaces have temporarily blurred the sharing of space between humans and other species. ” Audrey Azoulay, Director-General

The interventions were organized around 5 themes:

  • Introduction: Links between coronavirus and biodiversity: the scientific analysis
    • Eduardo Brondizio, Co-President of 2019 IPBES evaluation report on biodiversity and ecosystem services
    • Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Acting Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
    • Serge Morand, Researcher at  CNRS-Cirad
    • Shamila Nair-Bedouelle, Sub-director of natural science, UNESCO
  • What unites us: connecting around our shared values
    • Eric Julien, Founder of Association Tchendukua
    • Raphaël Mathevet, Research Director CNRS
    • Alice Roth, Co-MAB
    • Hélène Valade, Director of Environment Development, Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH)
  • What changes are necessary?
    • Didier Babin, President of MAB France Comity and Team leader of Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support
    • Irene Hoffmann, Secretary, Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (FAO)
    • Paul Leadley, Researcher at Paris-Saclay University – IPBES Expert
    • Pierre-Yves Pouliquen, Sustainable Department Director at Suez
  • What are the possible ways to regenerate ecosystems and restore our connections with biodiversity?
    • Tim Christophersen, Coordinator of Nature for Climate of UN Environment Programme and focal point forUN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030
    • David Obura, Director and Founder of CORDIO East Africa
    • Berglind Orradóttir, Deputy Director at GRÓ Land Restoration Training Programme, under the auspices of UNESCO
    • Sir Tim Smit, Co-founder of EDEN project
  • Closing: Sharing our solutions from nature
    • Miguel Clüsener-Godt, Director of the Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences at UNESCO, Secretary of MAB programme
    • Humberto Delgado Rosa, Director of natural capital, Directeur du capital naturel, DG Environment, European Commission
    • Mechtild Rössler, Director UNESCO World Heritage Centre
    • Vladimir Ryabinin, Executive Secretary at Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

Speakers have answered the following questions:

  • What is your view, what are your thoughts on the crisis we’re going through?
  • What changes are required of us?
  • What are the opportunities to be seized?
  • What practices should we give up? What has become unacceptable?
  • What can we do to make change (and which change) happen?
  • What obstacles can we encounter?
  • What strengths and allies do we have to get through this and move forward?

Take a look at UNESCO Biodiversity Day panels video

Watch panels videos:

“Links between Coronavirus and biodiversity: the scientific finding”:


“What unites us: Connecting around shared values?”


“What changes are needed?” with our Team leader participation:


“What are the possible ways/tools to regenerate ecosystems and restore our links to the living?”:


“Sharing solutions from nature”:

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