United Nations Names 2010 International Year of Biodiversity

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At a ceremony today in Berlin, the United Nations will declare 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity in an effort to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity ­— the variety of life around the world — and how human activity is threatening it.

The campaign will be marked by a series of events that will aim to influence the thinking of the world’s decision makers in hopes that they will change their practices and policies to become more environmentally friendly. The first of these events will take place on January 21 and 22 in Paris, where the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will meet, bringing together many world leaders. The Convention on Biological Diversity, which is part of the United Nations Environment Programme, is heading the campaign.

Many species are facing extinction due to changing climates. In December, the International Union for Conservation of Nature released Species and Climate Change, a report that highlighted the way climate change is destroying the habitat of plants and animals around the world. Campaign leaders stress that a breakdown in any part of the world’s natural food system, such as the extinction of a species, can have severe consequences on the entire living network.

For more information on the campaign, see the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 2010 International Year of Biodiversity page.