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Biodiversity Awareness Increases Interntionally

9 May 2011

Biodiversity awareness has risen again among consumers and business, according to the latest edition of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) Biodiversity Barometer launched on 5 May. When asked if they had heard about biodiversity, an average of 65% of the people interviewed in the USA, France, Germany and the UK said they had heard about biodiversity in February 2011, up from 56% in February 2009. In the same period, 27% of the world’s top 100 beauty companies mentioned biodiversity in their reporting, up from 13% in 2009.

When measured in seven countries (Brazil, South Korea, Japan, USA, France, UK and Germany) the average biodiversity awareness is 70%. Yet, the UEBT Biodiversity Barometer shows that large differences exist between countries, with particularly high awareness rates in France (98%), Brazil (93%), and South Korea (78%).

According to one of the targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), by 2020 at the latest, people need to be aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve it and use it sustainably. This also accords with target 14 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: 'The importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into communication, education and public awareness programmes'.

When asked to define biodiversity, the numbers drop significantly, with on average of only 1 in 3 people being able to define biodiversity correctly. However, it is encouraging to see that the number of correct definitions has gone up faster than the general increase in awareness. Young people more often define biodiversity correctly, which indicates a strong upward potential over the next decade and confirms the plans of the CBD to promote biodiversity education.

“These results are an important tool for the achievement of the Global Biodiversity targets,”

said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“During the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity, our number one priority will be to work to increase biodiversity awareness around the world. The Biodiversity Barometer will help us track our progress, as well as fine-tune the messages to the realities of each region."

The full text of the announcement from the Union for Ethical BioTrade can be read online (PDF).

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