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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19th Meeting of the CITES Conference of the Parties (CITES CoP19)

Delegates adopted 46 proposals to increase or decrease controls on international trade in wildlife and wildlife products, bringing many species of sharks, lizards, turtles, fish, birds, frogs, and plants under the Convention’s control to ensure the sustainability of these species in the wild while allowing their international trade.
Conference of the Parties (COP) 14 November 2022 - 25 November 2022

The Land Gap Report

Great hope has been placed in achieving significant carbon reduction through natural carbon sinks, but this approach requires land. A new report, presented at a side event, looks into the gaps between the official climate plans of governments and the lack of land to meet pledges and commitments.
Event 11 November 2022

Ocean Futures Lab

UN climate and biodiversity processes happen too often in siloes, each attracting a different set of experts and thus creating separate conversations. In an event on Ocean-based climate solutions, panelists called for much greater cooperation between biodiversity and climate international frameworks.
Event 8 November 2022

GEO Week 2022

Convening under the theme, “Global Action for Local Impact,” GEO Week 2022 brought together practitioners to discuss the potential for earth observation to assist in addressing global challenges. The week was heavily focused on the future direction of GEO, with participants engaging in sessions related to the road to GEO post-2025.
Event 31 October 2022 - 4 November 2022

5th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the BBNJ

Despite more progress at this two-week session than over the last decade, delegates were unable to reach consensus on a new high seas treaty addressing marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction and, instead, suspended the session, to be resumed in early 2023.
Event 15 August 2022 - 26 August 2022

9th Session of the IPBES Plenary and Stakeholder Day

After a week of intense negotiations, delegates approved the summaries for policymakers and chapters of two new assessments: the sustainable use of wild species, and the methodological assessment of the diverse conceptualization of multiple values of nature and its benefits, including biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services.
Event 2 July 2022 - 9 July 2022