BUILDING A SHARED FUTURE FOR ALL LIFE
“Biological diversity or biodiversity is the term that refers to the diversity of life on Earth and the natural structures it forms. The biodiversity we see today is the product of billions of years of evolution shaped by natural processes and increasingly by a human footprint. It shapes the life we form an integral part of and the life we are completely dependent on.
This diversity is often understood in terms of a wide variety of plants, animals and microorganisms. About 1.75 million species have been identified so far, mostly small creatures such as insects. Scientists have estimated that there are actually about 13 million species, although estimates range from three to 100 million.
Biodiversity also includes genetic diversity within each species, for example, between crop varieties and livestock breeds. Chromosomes, genes and DNA, the building blocks of life, determine the uniqueness of each individual and each species.
Another aspect of biodiversity is the diversity of ecosystems such as those found in deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers and agricultural landscapes. In every ecosystem, living creatures, including humans, form a community by interacting with each other and with the air, water, and soil around them.
It was the combination of life forms and their interaction with each other and with the rest of the environment that made the Earth a unique place suitable for human life. Biodiversity provides a large number of goods and services that support our lives.
At the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in1992, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” ― meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted in Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity. This Treaty, adopted by the vast majority of the world’s governments, establishes obligations to uphold the ecological foundations of the world, since we are involved in the business of economic development. The Convention establishes three main objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.