Biodiversity Day 2024: International Geneva implementing the Biodiversity Plan

Statement by Pedro Manuel Moreno, Deputy Secretary-General of UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

Biodiversity Day 2024: International Geneva implementing the Biodiversity Plan

22 May 2024


Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we gather to celebrate Biodiversity Day and to acknowledge the importance of biodiversity for our planet and our well-being.

As we all know, biodiversity is essential for life. It provides us with the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. But it's not just about providing basic needs. Biodiversity also supports and builds resilience in our economies.

But despite its importance, biodiversity is declining at alarming rates. Up to 40 per cent of the world's land is being degraded, and one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction. This loss of biodiversity has far-reaching consequences for our planet and our economies.

Addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution is an immense task. It requires integrating environmental and biodiversity-friendly considerations into our trade and development policies, promoting sustainable practices, reducing waste and pollution, and protecting natural habitats.

And there are also opportunities. In fact, trade in biodiversity-based products amounted to around $3.4 trillion in 2022, making up almost 17 per cent of worldwide exports. Low-income economies face even greater economic dependence on these products, with this trade often constituting over 40 per cent of their exports in the past decade.

The UN Trade and Development has been a pioneer in recognizing the potential of trade and biodiversity for developing countries in promoting sustainable development. Since 1996, we have underscored that trade under sustainability criteria can contribute to addressing biodiversity loss. For this purpose, we had launched the BioTrade Initiative.

This initiative has grown significantly, with uptake by governments, businesses, and civil society in over 80 countries. At the core of the Initiative are the BioTrade Principles and Criteria - a set of guidelines for promoting sustainability across the entire value chain. The turnover from companies, associations, and projects implementing these principles and criteria has soared from $40 million in 2003 to almost $31 billion in 2022 - literally moving from millions to billions.

The UN Trade and Development has also been instrumental in bridging the trade and biodiversity communities through events such as the BioTrade Congresses. These congresses have brought together stakeholders from around the world to exchange, foster cooperation, and enhance understanding on trade-biodiversity issues.

As we move forward, it is essential that we continue to build on this progress. We need joint coordination and accelerated action from all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, and civil society, to implement the Biodiversity Plan and achieve our goals.

Dear friends,

Let us continue to work together to protect biodiversity and promote sustainable development.

Thank you.