Cherishing nature: World Biodiversity Day

News Published 22 May 2015 Last modified 15 Jul 2016
2 min read
Photo: © Dare Ferjan, Environment & Me /EEA
Today, 22 May, is the International Day for Biological Diversity. We are currently witnessing a steady loss of biodiversity, with profound consequences for the natural world and for human well-being. Through its extensive network and close collaboration with partners, the European Environment Agency (EEA) brings together the most comprehensive knowledge base on Europe’s biodiversity in order to help policymakers, civil society and the public tackle biodiversity loss.

Biodiversity embraces the variety of genes, species and ecosystems that constitute life on Earth. It plays a key role in the functioning of ecosystems and the provision of ecosystem services which are essential for human life and well-being. These include provisioning services (e.g. fisheries, biomass), regulating and maintenance services (e.g. pollination, nutrient cycling, and water purification) and cultural services (e.g. recreation). The European Environment Agency’s recent assessments, including the recently published The European environment – state and outlook 2015 and State of Nature in the EU, show that Europe’s biodiversity is still being eroded, despite significant local improvements.

The European Environment Agency was set up to support environmental policy making in the European Union and has been actively working on biodiversity since its early days. Today, through its European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet), the European Environment Agency offers the most comprehensive and complete picture of Europe’s biodiversity.

Explore our knowledge base

The EEA produces a series of reports, indicators, maps, data sets and other outputs, all of which can be accessed through our thematic page.

The European Nature Information System (EUNIS) brings together European data from several databases and organisations into three interlinked modules on sites, species and habitat types. The web portal presents information on more than 120,000 protected areas in Europe, including Natura 2000 sites which cover 18 % of Europe's land area.

It also includes information on European species, with details of distribution, threat and conservation status in Europe and globally, the legal status of protection at the European level, and the sites designated for their conservation. The habitats module describes their composition, conservation status and the sites designated to protect habitat types at European level.

More information on protected areas and other biodiversity topics is available on the Biodiversity Information System for Europe (BISE). This partnership platform supports the knowledge base for the European policy and implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity and EU targets.

To build up the knowledge base needed for supporting policy making, the EEA has been working closely with Eionet, including the European Topic Centres (ETCs), including the ETC on Biological Diversity. The ETC Biological Diversity is a consortium of national agencies, research institutions and non-governmental organisations from various European countries.

The world has been celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity to raise awareness and understanding of the issues around biodiversity since 1993.


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