Today 22 May, is the International Day for Biological Diversity. The theme for this year is “Island Biodiversity”. It aims to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity for islands and the need for island states to sustainably manage their resources.
UNU-INWEH is implementing a range of projects and activities in a number of small islands in the Wider Caribbean (Caribbean, and Latin American countries with Caribbean coastlines) region focusing especially on protecting their unique marine biodiversity and reducing their vulnerability to natural and human induced threats such as pollution, development, climate change, and overfishing. The Wider Caribbean Region is listed as one of four biodiversity hot spots in the world with over 50 percent of species listed as endemic or unique to the region. Biodiversity contributes significantly to food security, livelihoods, and economies of these islands, many of which are Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Healthy coral reefs are estimated to generate an estimated USD 375 billion dollars in goods and services annually. Given their geographic isolation and, in some cases, remoteness from larger land masses, millions of islanders are particularly dependent on their natural resources for their food and livelihoods. Increasing threats to the natural resources of the world’s islands, especially SIDS, as a result, contributes to food insecurity and a decrease in viable employment. There is a critical need to recognise the value of these resources and to promote more bold actions towards their sustainable use and conservation.
To learn more about the International Day for Biological Diversity, visit http://www.cbd.int/idb
By: Hanneke Van Lavieren
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