Preamble: In keeping with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Movement Agenda 21 Objective, “to encourage members of the movement to play an active part in sustainable development while developing and implementing their programmes and action plans”, the SVG National Olympic Committee accepted the IOC’s commitment to pursuance of a part to economic development and to protect Earth’s environment and non- renewable resources.
Towards this end, NOC established a Sport and Environment Commission mandated to develop and implement a programme of awareness for its affiliates leading to an understanding of the need to protect the environment and to respect the ‘biodiversity of life.
This article is part of that programme and the NOC is pleased to present it for use and possible impact on the wider society.
The United Nations has declared 2010 the International Year of Biological Diversity with the theme, ‘Biodiversity is Life – Biodiversity is our Life’ , and May 22nd has been designated Biodiversity Day. The declaration provides the opportunity for all peoples of the world to be made aware of and to understand the importance of biodiversity to sustaining life on earth.
Biological Diversity or Biodiversity are terms use interchangeably to define the variety of life and all its forms on earth, for example the wide varieties of plant and animals species, microorganisms, genetic differences within and among each species and breeds of livestock, chromosomes, DNA/genes the building blocks of life.
It was eighteen years ago at the Earth Summit held Rio de Janerio, Brazil in 1992 that one hundred and fifty (150) world leaders began to look seriously at the environmental destruction and degradation of the various ecosystems due to considerable threats from human activities. At this Conference, two binding agreements were addressed: the Convention on Climate Change; and the Convention on Biological Diversity.
This article concerns itself with the Convention on Biological Diversity as the first major environmental agreement addressing the conservation and sustainable use of the world’s biological diversity’ focusing on the following objectives: (i) the conservation of biodiversity; (ii) sustainable use of the components of biodiversity; (iii) sharing in the benefits arising from the commercial and other utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.
The chosen theme, ‘Biodiversity is Life – Biodiversity is our Life’ is calling to human beings to be good stewards; to exercise their rights and duties in protecting and conserving, at all time, the biological resources of the many different ecosystems which support life, namely agriculture, forestry, marine, coastal, lakes, rivers, mountain and desert.
These ecosystems, while separate and having their own unique characteristics, share certain similarities, one being that they all habitats for living creatures, including humans. They are also inter-dependent in that they interact with one another, sharing air, water and soil, to form a single community.
Ecosystems therefore, are life supporting systems. But just how do they support life? They provide: for food, shelter and housing (building materials); purification of air and water; detoxification and decomposition of waste; stabilization and moderation of the earth’s climate; moderation of floods, droughts, extreme temperatures and forces of wind; renewal of soil fertility, including nutrient cycling; pollination of plants; control of pests and diseases; maintenance of genetic resources, a key input to crop varieties and livestock breeds; and cultural and aesthetic benefits and their adaptability to change.
As you can see therefore, life is all about diversity and diversity is life.
Submitted by: Sports and Environment Commission – National Olympic Committee