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Celebrating the International Day of Biological Diversity

22 May 2023

Monday 22nd May marks the ‘International Day of Biological Diversity’, a day sanctioned by the United Nations for the promotion of biodiversity issues.

The theme this year is ‘From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity’. To celebrate the day, we’re sharing highlights of our policy and capacity-building work towards restoring and protecting biodiversity.  

Although an annual event, celebrating the day this year is of particular significance following the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a historic agreement signed December 2022 at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15), setting goals and concrete measures to stop and reverse the loss of nature by 2050. The agreement includesfour long-term goals related to the achieve the vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050, and 23 action-oriented global targets for urgent action over the decade to 2030 with the results enabling achievement towards the 2050 goals. 

Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) experts are playing an active role towards the implementation of the framework agreement, which comprises, among other things, a set of headline, binary, component and complementary indicators. For example, our Director of Science, Professor Steve Widdicombe, sits on the COP established ad hoc technical expert group (AHTEG), with a time-bound mandate until the sixteenth meeting of the COP, to advise on the further operationalization of the monitoring framework

PML’s Head of its International Office, Dr Matt Frost, will take part and give a presentation during the Sustainable Ocean Initiative Workshop on Ocean-related Capacity-building Needs for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (5 – 9 June). The workshop aims to identify and discuss various capacity needs related to the implementation and monitoring of the Framework in marine and coastal areas, including with respect to its goals, targets and indicators. It is expected that the workshop will produce a priority list of capacity needs that will be useful in guiding future capacity-building activities, including those under the Sustainable Ocean Initiative. 

Professor Widdicombe said: “This International Day of Biological Diversity carries its own special significance with the recent adoption of the UN High Seas Treaty to help reverse biodiversity losses and ensure sustainable development, vital for achieving ocean-related goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. To mark the achievement, the theme this year is ‘From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity’, which I fully support. Pieces of paper, promises and fine words don't save ecosystems on their own and it is key that the agreements are now implemented .  

Informing biodiversity restoration is at the heart of what we do and we are unique in our capability to link laboratory and field studies, satellite observations, physical and ecosystem modelling and socio-economics.  

Our work includes documenting changes in marine biodiversity from genes to ecosystems, to understand the causes of changes, to predict changes in the future, to understand the consequences of biodiversity loss both for marine life and for people and to use this knowledge to inform policy. For example, satellite-derived ocean front maps generated by PML informed the Convention on Biological Diversity on setting scientific criteria for Ecologically or Biologically Significant Marine Areas, supporting the designation of national and international areas for the protection of large mobile marine species.  

Methods developed at PML for linking empirical and socio-economic research, and valuing marine ecosystem benefits, inform policy and management approaches in the UK and provide evidence for the designation of marine protected areas. Novel statistical approaches from PML are being used to include biodiversity conservation objectives in climate-ready Marine Spatial Plans in Ireland and Vietnam.  

Why not discover just some of our biodiversity projects from across the organisation by following the links below: 

Browse all projects here >>