Days and Observances Current Affairs

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22 May: World Biological Diversity Day

Every year, May 22 is observed as International Day for Biodiversity or World Biodiversity Day. This date commemorates the date of Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity at UNEP Headquarters, Nairobi on 22 May 1992. In 2000, UN General Assembly via resolution 55/201 decided to celebrate World Biodiversity Day on May 22 instead of December 29, which was previously designated as International Biodiversity Day.

Theme

The theme for 2017 for World Biodiversity Day is “Biodiversity and Sustainable Tourism”. The theme is in sync with the observance of 2017 as “International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development” as proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly. UN has already declared 2011-20 as United Nations Decade on Biodiversity to support and promote reducing the loss of biodiversity.

About Global Biodiversity

The term Biological Diversity was first coined by wildlife scientist and conservationist Raymond F. Dasmann in 1968. This term became widespread in use during 1980s. Biodiversity refers to the “totality of genes, species and ecosystems of a region”. There are three levels of biodiversity viz. species diversity, ecosystem diversity and genetic diversity.  The term biodiveristy is used to address several problems in conservation of environment including loss of species, destruction of habitats, invasive species, genetic pollution, over exploitation and effects of climate change on biodiversity.

The spatial distribution of organisms, species and ecosystems is called Biogeography.  Biodiversity is unequally distributed on Earth and it varies across regions on the basis of climatic and geographical factors. On earth, highest biodiversity is found in tropics. In comparison to Oceans, terrestrial biodiversity is much greater. It is estimated that there are 8.7 million species on earth of which 2.1 million live in Oceans while rest are terrestrial. The terrestrial biodiversity is greater at equator in comparison to poles. Around 90% of world’s biodiversity is found n tropical rainforests which occupy less than 10 percent of Earth’s surface. The marine biodiversity is highest along the coasts in the Western Pacific which is known for highest sea temperature. Around 70% of World species are found in 12 countries viz.  Australia, Brazil, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Congo, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Madagascar, Mexico and Peru.

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November 19: World Toilet Day

The World Toilet Day is observed every year across the world on 19 November to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.

Significance of Day: It seeks to draw attention of people around the world to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation which in fact is a human right along with clean water.

2016 Theme: Toilets and jobs”. It focuses on how sanitation or the lack of it, can impact on livelihoods. It also highlights the importance of crucial role played by Toilets in creating a strong economy, as well as improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity, particularly women’s and girls’.

The observance of this day is coordinated by United Nations-Water in collaboration with Governments of member countries and relevant stakeholders.

India related Facts

In India, the observance of the day highlights the importance of Swacch Bharat Mission which to make India clean and open defecation free (ODF) by 2019. So far under Swacch Bharat Mission-Gramin 2.7 crore toilets are built, 1.2 lakhs villages are declared ODF, 60 districts declared ODF, 3 states (Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala) are declared ODF.

About World Toilet Day

WTD was instituted by World Toilet Organisation in 2001. United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had given it official recognition in July 2013 in its 67th session under the global campaign of Sanitation for All resolution. Observance of this day now has become an important platform to demand action from governments. It seeks brings together different groups, such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets.

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