Biodiversity

Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is most often associated with the earth’s vast variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms, but the term encompasses diversity at all levels—from genes to species to ecosystems to landscapes. Scientists estimate there are approximately 8.7 million species globally, of which approximately 2.2 million are marine. In spite of 250 years of research and over 1.2 million species already identified, it is possible 86% of existing species on Earth and 91% of species in the ocean still await description.

In each ecosystem, including those that occur within or among forests, wetlands, mountains, deserts, and rivers, living creatures interact with each other as well as with the air, water, and soil around them, forming an interconnected community. The ecosystem services provided by biodiversity are estimated to be worth trillions of dollars—double the world’s GDP. Biodiversity also includes genetic differences within species, such as different breeds and varieties, as well as chromosomes, genes, and genetic sequences (DNA). Biodiversity also has human benefits. For example, many new medicines are harvested from nature, such as the rosy periwinkle, which provides two very important cancer-fighting medicines.

Events and Articles

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15th Meeting of the Monaco Blue Initiative

Participants reflected on how to accomplish the urgent tasks for 2024, including progressing on ratification of the BBNJ Treaty, delivering on GBF objectives by 2030, and addressing important challenges like deep seabed mining, as well as overcome setbacks like the failure by WTO members to agree on a second phase of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.
Event 18 March 2024

UNEA-6 and OECPR-6

Under the theme “Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution,” delegates adopted 15 resolutions, two decisions, and a Ministerial Declaration, covering topics including the highly hazardous pesticides, sustainable lifestyles, sand and dust storms, and environmental recovery in areas affected by armed conflict.
Event 19 February 2024 - 1 March 2024

14th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP 14)

From the launch of the first State of the World’s Migratory Species report, to a resolution on deep-sea mining, and updated guidelines on light pollution, ecotourism, and community involvement in conservation, the first Conference of the Parties in Central Asia effectively tackled many challenges in the conservation of migratory species. (Sintesis en español) (Résumé en français)
Conference of the Parties (COP) 11 February 2024 - 17 February 2024

66th Meeting of the GEF Council

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council Members will consider a new work program of the GEF Trust Fund under GEF’s eighth replenishment cycle, how to streamline the GEF project cycle, and possible actions to support the new agreement on conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ).
Event 5 February 2024 - 9 February 2024

23rd Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention (COP 23)

Delegates praised the Convention as an example of how to translate global commitments into regional action. The week’s highlights included the adoption of the new Programme of Work and Budget 2024-2025, and the Portorož Ministerial Declaration, in which Parties commit to a healthy Mediterranean environment.
Event 5 December 2023 - 8 December 2023

12th Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions and 1st Meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Benefit-sharing from the Use of Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources

Although they appear distinct, the issues under the two Working Groups’ consideration are interrelated as they are developing ways to implement the targets and goals of the landmark Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and both address issues of fair and equitable participation and sharing of benefits in relation to biodiversity.
Event 12 November 2023 - 18 November 2023

GEO Week 2023

GEO Members adopted the GEO Post-2025 Strategy, which not only supports GEO’s continued leadership in enabling the provision and use of Earth observations but also introduces pathways for GEO to co-produce products and services with users and for users, thereby requiring GEO to adapt its operating model.
Event 6 November 2023 - 10 November 2023

77th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee

Delegates faced with 77 agenda items, with over 101 related documents spanning some 2,700 pages, were unable to complete the entire agenda, but were able to make recommendations on 11 compliance cases, establishment of the CITES Global Youth Network, seizure reporting on big cats, monitoring elephant poaching, and stockpiling timber.
Event 6 November 2023 - 10 November 2023