Background to the International Year of Biodiversity

2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity, an opportunity to find real solutions to safeguard the natural environment which mankind depends upon. IUCN is playing a key role in pushing for immediate action to protect species, ecosystems and natural resources before it’s too late.

Targets to reduce the loss of biodiversity by 2010 look set to have fallen far short of what had been hoped for. As the world faces a global extinction crisis, the effects on the natural world and the most vulnerable communities could be devastating. IUCN is calling for a stronger Convention on Biological Diversity to safeguard life on earth, in all its forms.

Key issues

“Well managed natural resources are crucial to sustainable development, supporting peaceful communities, encouraging well-balanced economic growth and helping reduce poverty,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN. “Protecting biodiversity protects valuable assets that are vital to the global economy.”

“We are facing an extinction crisis. At risk of extinction worldwide are 21 percent of the world’s mammals, one in three amphibians, one in eight birds and 27 percent of reef building corals,” says Jane Smart, Director, IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group. “We need to remember that extinction is irreversible, once a species is extinct it is gone forever. The loss of this beautiful and complex natural diversity that underpins all life on the planet is a serious threat to humankind now and in the future.”

Biodiversity is the basis of all life on earth. We need practical action and supportive policies to conserve species, manage and restore ecosystems, including protected areas and the wider landscape, and promote the sustainable use of natural resources,” says IUCN’s Head of Ecosystem Management Programme, Neville Ash.

Press events

• 11 January 2010: Launch of International Year of Biodiversity, Berlin, Germany

• 20 January 2010: European Press Release on launch of Cities for Biodiversity Prize, interview opportunity in Paris

• 20 January 2010: Nature Congress – IUCN French Committee, Paris, France

• 21 – 22 January 2010: High-Level Event for International Year of Biodiversity - Launch of the UNESCO Biodiversity Exhibition, Paris, France

• 21 January, 1030-1130 CET Press conference on the launch of IYB at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, attended by IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefèvre.

• 21 January, Brussels, conference on biodiversity and climate change. Sebastian Winkler, head of countdown 2010, will be a speaker.

• 22 January, joint media advisory in French, publication of the French and Spanish version of the summary report Natural Solutions, Protected Areas and Climate Change.

• 22 January (TBC), international press release, new report on Invasive Alien Species by GISP

Media team

Nicki Chadwick, Media Relations Officer
m. +41 76 771 4208, e.

Pia Drzewinski, Media Relations Officer
m. +41 76 505 8865, e.