What is biodiversity ?

Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
"Biodiversity" or "Biological diversity" means the variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems. See here for more related terms defined under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • Current status

    Current global trends have highlighted the unsustainable use of natural resources around the world. In response, increasing attention is now being paid to knowledge in traditional land use systems that have evolved from local communities’ long-term efforts to adapt to their surrounding environments and enjoy their bounties in a sustainable manner. Harmonious interactions shaped in such areas have created complex mosaics of different land use types, and contributed to both human well-being and biodiversity.
  • What is CBD ?

    Convention on Biological Diversity

    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted in Nairobi in May 1992, opened for signatures in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, and entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 196 Parties. CBD has 3 main objectives:
    1. 1. The conservation of biological diversity
    2. 2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
    3. 3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources
    For more information, see  CBD Secretariat website.
  • What is SEPLS ?

    Socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes

    Around the world, local communities’ efforts over many years to adapt to the surrounding environment and enjoy its bounty for the long term have created unique and sustainable landscapes and seascapes that have provided humans with goods such as food and fuel, and services such as water purification and rich soil, while hosting a diversity of animal and plant species. These landscapes and seascapes vary widely but are commonly characterized as dynamic bio-cultural mosaics of habitats and land and sea uses where the interaction between people and the landscape maintains or enhances biodiversity while providing humans with the goods and services needed for their well-being. SEPLS has been coined to refer to a variety of different names for these areas across countries and languages collectively, including dehesa in Spain, ahupua’a in Hawaii, satoyama in Japan.
  • What is the Satoyama Initiative ?

    Satoyama Initiative

    The Satoyama Initiative was started through a joint collaboration between the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ) and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) with the vision of “realizing societies in harmony with nature”. It aims to build on mutually beneficial human-nature relationships, where the maintenance and development of socio-economic activities (including agriculture, fishing and forestry) aligns with natural processes. Efforts under the Satoyama Initiative are concerned with the promotion and conservation of SEPLS around the world, entailing a range of activities including expanding the body of knowledge about how the relationships between humans and nature should function in a wide variety of production landscapes and seascapes from both social and scientific points of view.

Aichi Targets

Aichi Biodiversity Targets

A set of 20 global targets set by the Parties to the CBD, under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It is grouped in five strategic goals:
  • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society
  • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
  • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity
  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management and capacity building


Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are set of 17 goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all, as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it is important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.  For more information, see here.