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These pages and sections capture news of climate change and stories about the groundswell of climate action by governments, companies, cities, the UN and civil society around the globe. To provide feedback, email us at press@unfccc.int Photo©Naziha Mestaoui

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May 22 is the International Day for Biological Diversity. This year’s theme is “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism”. Diversity in species, ecosystems and landscapes attracts tourism and promotes economic growth.  In turn, a well-managed tourist sector can help reduce threats to key wildlife populations, and can maintain or increase biodiversity, through tourism revenue. The biggest threat to biodiversity comes from climate change, caused by heat-trapping greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere.

Biodiversity and Climate Change

Climate change has and will continue to affect biodiversity loss. Species around the world are forced to adapt to warmer temperatures and altered ecosystems, either through shifting habitats, changing life cycles, or by developing new physical traits.

As the planet warms, many species are forced to migrate to cooler environments. In many cases, however, this migration is not possible because of geographical or human-made barriers, competition from species already in the area, or unfavourable environmental parameters. Species that cannot adapt or migrate are at risk. According to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, climate change is likely to become one of the most significant drivers of biodiversity loss by the end of the century.

Protecting biodiversity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change are complementary goals. Ecosystems play a key role in the global carbon cycle. Conserving and restoring habitats can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to address climate change by storing carbon. Biodiversity can also help with climate change adaptation.  Conserving ecosystems such as mangroves can help reduce climate change impacts from flooding and storm surges.

Why an International Day for Biological Diversity?

While there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations, the number of species is being significantly reduced by certain human activities.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for "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" that has been ratified by 196 nations.

Given the importance of public education and awareness for the implementation of the Convention, the General Assembly proclaimed 22 May, the date of the adoption of its text, as the International Day for Biological Diversity by its resolution 55/201 of 20 December 2000.

Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism

The celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity under the theme “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism” is an opportunity to raise awareness of the important contribution of sustainable tourism both to economic growth and to the conservation of biodiversity.

This theme has been chosen to coincide with the observance of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development and can contribute to ongoing initiatives such as the Sustainable Tourism Programme.

Biodiversity and the Sustainable Development Goals

The objectives of halting biodiversity loss and promoting the sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems are included in Sustainable Development Goal Nº15.

See the website for the International Day for Biological Diversity here

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