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Sustainable Tourism the theme for World Biodiversity Day 2017

The 22nd of May this year is the World Biodiversity Day – a United Nations mandated celebration. Every year bears a theme and this year the theme is Sustainable Tourism. The United Nations General Assembly has recognized 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, and the theme is meant to coincide with this.

The UN recognizes the impact of biodiversity on tourism, and consequently tourism’s impact on economies. Tourism, the UN says, provides a good argument for the political and economic case for conserving biodiversity. However, the UN’s case for choosing tourism is also linked to a few of its institutional initiatives such as its Aichi Biodiversity Targets, that are strategic goals such as mainstreaming biodiversity awareness, promote sustainability, fostering ecological conservation, enhancing the benefits of ecosystem services and facilitate policy towards biodiversity.

The theme also relates to its Sustainable Tourism Programme built around its programs on sustainable consumption and production. The UN also wants to place an emphasis on raising awareness of the guidelines of its Convention on Biological Diversity.

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The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) receives much importance in the UN as it is an international legally binding treaty with the purpose of protecting biodiversity. The treaty is governed over by the Conference of the Parties, a body that includes governments or parties that have agreed to the treaty.

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Biodiversity the world over is severely threatened. The chief architects to this are habitat-destruction, over-harvesting, pollution and human intervention in the alteration of ecosystems. 22 per cent of animal life is in danger of going extinct, while 8 per cent have already gone extinct. There is also a uniformity in the manner in which humans consume natural products. According to the UN, 60 per cent of agricultural intake come from just three crops – rice, wheat and maize. Also, ten marine species contribute to about 30 per cent of intake in fisheries. Furthermore, the contribution of microbes and invertebrates to ecosystems has not been fully mapped.

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