International Year of Biodiversity – UK – Launches in London

Yesterday, the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’, saw the launch of the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 in the UK. The BES Policy Team attended an evening reception at the Natural History Museum at which Huw Irranca-Davies MP, Minister for Marine and the Natural Environment at Defra, and Dr Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, officially launched IYB-UK, 2010. The event also offered a fantastic opportunity for delegates to tour the new Darwin Centre and to interact with many of the exhibits.

The Minister and Dr Djoghlaf acknowledged that the targets to slow and to halt biodiversity loss by 2010 would not be met. Both stressed the importance of IYB 2010 in raising awareness amongst the public about the importance of biodiversity and the need for IYB-UK 2010 partners, including the BES, to increase public outreach and education activities linked to biodiversity. Dr Djoghlaf welcomed the partnership between the UK and Brazil, the UK-Brazil Sustainable Development Dialogue, and hailed discussions, due to take place today in London, bringing together environment ministers to examine the sustainable development of forests.

The Minister used the ocassion to launch a challenge fund as part of the Darwin Initiative, aimed solely at the Overseas Territories. This did not however appear to be a new: the scheme was formally announced by the Minister at an event at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office earlier this year.

The BES is a member of the International Year of Biodiversity – UK 2010 Partnership. For more information see