International Day for Biological Diversity 2018: Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity

Every year, on 22 May, the world celebrates the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB). This year, the theme ”Celebrating 25 Years of Action for Biodiversity” was chosen to mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and to highlight the progress made in the achievement of its objectives at the national and global levels.


The 25th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the Convention, to communicate to the world the importance of biodiversity, and also to urge strengthened efforts to achieve the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and related commitments including the Sustainable Development Goals.


Biodiversity in the Mediterranean Basin

Covering more than two million square kilometres, the Mediterranean region is the second largest of the 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world and the largest of the world’s five Mediterranean-climate regions (CEPF, 2011). According to RAC/SPA, it is considered as one of the major reservoirs of marine and coastal biodiversity, with 28% of endemic species and 7.5% of the world’s marine fauna and 18% of its marine flora.


Trends in the status of Mediterranean biodiversity

During the last decades, a clear decline in Mediterranean biodiversity has been observed. For example, more than 50% of wetlands, the ecosystems that support a remarkable level of biodiversity, were reported to have disappeared over the past century, and their decline and deterioration continue.

One of the most striking trends concerning Mediterranean biodiversity in the last decades is the continuous increase in the number of alien species reported in terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments.

According to the IUCN Red List, 1,912 species of amphibians, birds, cartilaginous fishes, endemic freshwater fishes, crabs and crayfish, mammals, dragonflies and reptiles have been assessed to date in the Mediterranean region with regard to their conservation status. About 19% of these species are threatened with extinction: 5% are Critically Endangered, 7% are Endangered and 7% are Vulnerable.


Fish Species Map of the Mediterranean Basin (MWO ; IUCN Red List)


The state of biodiversity conservation in the PACA region (France)

In Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, the Regional Biodiversity Observatory (ORB) published “The Living Region Index“( LRI). It is intended to monitor the evolution of biodiversity in this territory and represents the first regional declination of the Living Planet Index created by WWF.

The index was based initially on the demographic variations of 282 species (1,515 populations) and showed a stable general trend from 2000 to 2015. On average, vertebrate populations living in the PACA region have remainded stable.


The demographic variations of 282 species in the PACA region. Photo extracted from the Living Region Index in PACA.


The index has also shown an improvement in the situation for wetlands that are important biodiversity reservoirs. Thanks to conservation measures implemented nationally and internationally, the population of some species of waterbirds is rising again in these exceptional environments. On the other hand, the invasive species in the wetlands of the region such as many exotic fishes, crayfish and plant species could pose a short-term threat to local biodiversity.


Index freshwater wetlands and water bodies 2000-2015. Photo extracted from the Living Region Index in PACA.


For more information about the Living Region Index , please contact Thomas Galewski, from Tour du Valat, at


Threats to the Mediterranean biodiversity

The Mediterranean comprises 7 to 9% of the planet’s marine species diversity but faces many challenges. Climate change, fishing impacts, habitat loss and degradation, pollution, eutrophication, and the establishment of alien species are the most important threats in the marine environment.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) acts as a safeguard to protect the natural realm with the objectives of protecting 10% of the marine surface by 2020. The CBD Aichi Target 11 says ”By 2020, at least [] 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascape.


How can we best tackle the threats to the Mediterranean biodiversity?

If we want to avoid extinctions of species in the Mediterranean, we need to implement urgent conservation actions. Countries must promote efficient mesures such as enforcement of adequate legislation and sustainable management of exploited species to preserve the future of the Mediterranean biodiversity.


Synergies for a sustainable Mediterranean region

The MedWet Framework for Action 2016-2030 ollows the three Strategic Goals and one Implementation Goal of the 4th Strategic Plan 2016 – 2024 of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. It is also designed as an early contribution to achieving some of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals 2016–2030 (SDGs).

Under this premise, MedWet has studied and created a brand new info-graphic to show how its four MedWet Framework Goals would help to achieve the SDGs, the Aïchi Targets (Convention on Biological Diversity) and the goals of the  Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development 2016 – 2030 (Barcelona Convention). With this tool, MedWet seeks to ensure the correct understanding of the Framework for Action and the links among the most important global processes related to environment and development.

More information here.



More information

Website of IDB
Share your IDB celebrations by registering your activities on the website of the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity
See what’s happening in your country on 22 May 2018
Read the message from Martha Rojas-Urrego Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands on the occasion of the IDB 2018.
Download the Living Planet Index 2016 published by WWF.