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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62nd Meeting of the GEF Council

GEF Council Members endorsed the more than USD 5 billion replenishment for the next four-year period of the GEF and adopted Work Programs worth more than USD 238 million, launching projects that will contribute to a green and blue recovery and direct significant resources to small island developing States and least developed countries.
Event 21 June 2022 - 23 June 2022

UNEA's Role as a Governance Architect

Once called “the world’s parliament on the environment,” the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) has a unique role in global environmental governance. It is high-level and universal—the only forum for stakeholders from all countries to discuss the environmental challenges we face.
Article

Geneva Biodiversity Conference

Delegates prepared the foundations for the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, which must adopt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF) later this year. Work on the GBF progressed slowly so delegates had no choice but to schedule a fourth meeting of the Working Group in Nairobi in June 2022.
Event 14 March 2022 - 29 March 2022

74th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee

Delegates successfully completed a challenging agenda of 89 items, 117 documents, and 5,000 pages, encompassing issues from big cats conservation, to tree species, to fish, sharks and rays, marine turtles, seahorses, Tibetan antelopes, and saiga antelope, preparing the way for the next Conference of the Parties in Panama in November.
Event 7 March 2022 - 11 March 2022

4th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the BBNJ

At the most productive meeting so far, “unprecedented progress” was made in discussions on marine genetic resources, including benefit sharing, area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments, and capacity building and the transfer of marine technology.
Event 7 March 2022 - 18 March 2022

UNEA Flagship Side Events

During the resumed Fifth Session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), side events focused on “Strengthening actions for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals” and the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
Event 28 February 2022 - 4 March 2022