International Year of Biodiversity Launches Formally

The UN International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) was officially launched today, with an opening ceremony held in Berlin. Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen officially opened the IYB at 10.00am GMT.

Marking the launch of the IYB with a piece on the Guardian website today is Dr Bob Bloomfield, co-ordinator for the International Year of Biodiversity UK activities and network, of which the BES is a member. In his piece, Dr Bloomfield emphasises the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services to the health and well-being of the human population, particularly the poor. Drawing attention to the TEEB (The Economics and Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity) review, led by Pavan Sukhdev of the UN Environment Programme, Dr Bloomfield highlights the economic catastrophe which will befall society should destruction of the natural world result in a loss of fundamental ecosystem services; this would be of an order of magnitude greater than the global economic crisis.

Pavan Sukhdev was a guest speaker at a parliamentary reception in October 2009, organised by the BES and Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management, at which both organisations launched a position statement on the role of science and professionalism in conserving biodiversity beyond 2010.

Signatories to the Convention on Biological Diversity will gather in Nagoya, Japan, later this year to discuss performance against the target to slow declines in biodiversity by 2010 (the ‘2010 biodiversity target’) and formulate a successor. It’s widely acknowledged that countries have failed to meet this goal: robust action will therefore be needed to meet any targets developed for 2020.

The IYB-UK partnership is made up of over 200 organisations, drawn from diverse sectors, committed to using 2010 to make a difference for biodiversity conservation. You can find out more about the International Year of Biodiversity and IYB – UK at the IYB-UK website: