Each year, between the end of May and the beginning of June, three international days recall three vital and interdependent issues on which the future of our planet depends: biological diversity, the environment and the ocean.
And with each year comes an even greater need to understand the urgency of coming together and taking up the immense challenge of preserving nature and its living fabric and, thereby, preserving the beauty of our world.
We were made aware of this urgency in 2019, when the report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was presented to UNESCO. It was strongly reaffirmed in the sixth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2022. The figures are clear: we have barely two years left to limit global warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century. Failure to do so would mean failing to preserve the habitability of our world and the diversity of species that inhabit it.
Our relationship with nature and with other living things must be radically rethought in order to address this issue – we must design and create a truly shared world. This is the core message of the International Day for Biological Diversity, a message that is strongly reflected in UNESCO’s mandate and daily work.
Through our Biosphere Reserves, Geoparks and World Heritage Sites, together covering 6% of the Earth’s land mass, the equivalent of the surface area of China, we have shown that it is possible to live in this world while establishing a lasting and harmonious relationship with nature.
With the adoption of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, it is essential to intensify these efforts, which are at the heart of the common objective of the international community to preserve 30% of the planet in protected areas. But we also need to extend our efforts beyond these protected areas. We must draw inspiration from the solutions already implemented in these areas to build genuine sustainable development everywhere, with full respect for nature and the living.
These objectives call for a new ethic of life, which will serve as the basis for a lasting reconciliation between man and all other species and forms of life. To this end, and as part of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which began in 2021, UNESCO has brought together not only scientists and politicians, but also artists, indigenous and local communities and a wide range of other people in our societies in order to collaboratively design the new path that will bring humanity back to nature.
On this International Day for Biological Diversity, we invite you to take this new path with us in order to protect life in all its richness.