Today (May 22) is commemorated as World Biodiversity Day, a time to promote public education and spread awareness about issues surrounding biodiversity.
Hivy Ortiz, Officer of the Regional Initiative for Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for Latin America and the Caribbean in a statement on Monday said that it allows people to reflect on the natural wealth surrounding us and its fundamental role in our existence. Biodiversity, which encompasses all life forms on our planet, is an invaluable treasure that deserves our full attention and protection.
She noted that Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions with the most extraordinary diversity of ecosystems in the world. It is home to 12 of the 14 terrestrial biomes, 190 terrestrial bioregions, 96 freshwater bioregions, and 44 marine bioregions.
“The region also has a precious cultural heritage resulting from the historical coexistence between human societies and nature, which has sustained them since immemorial times. Despite its obvious importance, biodiversity faces numerous challenges. Human activity, such as deforestation, pollution, climate change, and loss of natural habitats, has caused an alarming decline in biological diversity,”Hivy Ortiz, Officer of the Regional Initiative for Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for Latin America and the Caribbean
Ortiz added that the relationship between biodiversity and quality of life may be less evident to most people who live in cities and other urban centers and do not gather their food directly from nature. Yet, however distant it may seem, wildlife remains the foundation of our health and nutrition and the first line of defense against the consequences of climate change.
“We must take urgent action to conserve and restore biodiversity, as its loss would seriously affect our well-being and the balance of ecosystems,” she said.
Ortiz noted that significant progress is already being made. The United Nations Conference on Biological Diversity (COP15), held last December in Canada, concluded with a historic agreement: the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which seeks to guide global actions favoring nature between now and 2030.
It aims to restore 30 per cent of ecosystems, halve food waste, and invest at least $200 billion annually in strategies that benefit biodiversity.
This year also saw the announcement of the so-called “High Seas Treaty,” which seeks to guarantee the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, safeguarding 30 per cent of the world’s oceans in protected areas, is encouraging.
Despite the efforts being made Ortiz believe there is still a long way to go.
“We cannot afford to be indifferent or to postpone the necessary actions. The future of our planet and generations to come depends on our decisions and commitments today. It is time for all of us to take responsibility for protecting biodiversity. Governments must strengthen environmental policies and regulations, promoting conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. Businesses also have an essential role in adopting responsible practices and seeking more sustainable alternatives in their operations,”Hivy Ortiz, Officer of the Regional Initiative for Sustainable and Resilient Agriculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), for Latin America and the Caribbean
She further encouraged individuals to make conscious choices, from consuming organic and local products to reducing plastic consumption and supporting recycling initiatives. Small individual actions add up and can significantly impact biodiversity conservation.
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