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22 May 2014

International Day of Biodiversity 2014: Island Biodiversity

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Happy International Biodiversity Day 2014 to all! Today we celebrate islands and their surrounding near-shore marine areas that constitute unique ecosystems, often found nowhere else on Earth.

These ecosystems are the legacy of a unique evolutionary history and are irreplaceable treasures. Islands are especially susceptible to the effects of Climate Change due to their relatively small and closed ecosystems; it often takes just one small change that can have huge knock on effects that cannot be undone. Perhaps today, it is also fitting to remember John Donne’s quote, that ‘no man is an island’. We cannot function alone and separated from the natural world- we are inextricably linked to our ecosystems- they are the keys to our livelihoods, our economy, our well-being and cultural identity. Although today marks a special day for biodiversity, it is important to remember our connection to it, every day.

Biodiversity: this is the assembly of life that took a billion years to evolve. It has eaten the storms, folded them into its genes and created the world that created us. It holds the world steady (E.O. Wilson).

(This year’s theme of Island Biodiversity was chosen to coincide with the designation by the United Nations General Assembly of 2014 as the International Year of Small Island Developing States. In addition, the theme was chosen to correspond with the timing of COP decision XI/15 paragraph 1(a) “to strengthen the implementation of the Programme of Work on Island Biodiversity”.)

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