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A look back at the International Year of Biodiversity

As the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity comes to an end, Marie Clements reviews the year’s activity and looks ahead to the coming Decade of Biodiversity.

A global initiative led by the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN 2010 International Year of Biodiversity’s Biodiversity is Life communications campaign succeeded in engaging nations worldwide on the importance of protecting biodiversity.

IYB logo

The success of the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) was recognised when the global campaign picked up the Green Award for Best International Campaign. The campaign’s positive message celebrated love for nature.

hogweed and beeHogweed and bumble bee

Across the world, the IYB campaign was adopted by over 1500 organisations in 146 countries, including 90 different governments, 388 NGOs, 3 indigenous communities and 21 UN agencies. These embraced the campaign’s messaging, logo and slogan ‘Biodiversity is life. Biodiversity is our life.’ Available in 29 languages, the campaign has been seen by millions from Brazil to Britain, Georgia to Japan.

The IYB’s nature-inspired logo became internationally recognised and featured at the African Cup of Nations, where it was used as the official sponsor for Puma’s ‘Play for Life’ Africa Unity football kit; it appeared at high profile political conventions; was trimmed into bushes outside Montreal’s City Hall; and appeared as a floral well dressing in Derbyshire, whilst bells were rung across England to celebrate biodiversity.


In the UK a small team, based at the Natural History Museum London, and funded by Defra, helped to build and support an informal, voluntary partnership to back the campaign across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The IYB-UK partnership grew to encompass more than 450 organisations including businesses, NGOs, academia, faith groups, and cultural organisations. The partners held over 1300 events around the UK that allowed people to learn more about nature, get involved and support initiatives to preserve biodiversity.

Following the COP10 meeting in Nagoya, a call from delegates resulted in the CBD beginning to plan for a decade of biodiversity, running from 2011 – 2020, which will continue the good work begun during the IYB. Watch the CBD website for more news on the decade of biodiversity.

Ox-eye daisyOx-eye daisy © 2010 Natural History Museum, London

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