On International Women’s Day 2014 we pay particular homage to the leaders, both women and men, who have pushed tirelessly for the empowerment and participation of women in issues related to biodiversity.
Women are strong forces of change. Their efforts in stewardship can inspire further action in such critical areas as ecosystem management and protected areas, and thus help achieve the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
Women’s leadership is critical for community revitalization and for renewable natural resource management. Women often have first-hand knowledge of their ecosystems, including the importance of diversification, pest management, soil conservation and the development and use of plant genetic resources. Women often play a critical role in selecting seeds based on, inter alia, resistance to disease and drought, storage quality, adaptation to agro-climatic conditions, and in preserving them using a variety of traditional methods. Women also tend to have a more highly specialized knowledge of wild plants used for food, fodder and medicine than men. Thus, accounting for women’s knowledge, and ensuring their full participation can contribute substantially to sustainable development.
The international community recognizes that the diversity of genes, species and ecosystems continues to decline, while pressures on biodiversity remain constant or are increasing in intensity, mainly as a result of human activities. The root causes of biodiversity loss must be addressed. This is why countries adopted the Strategic Plan. The active participation of women in decision-making processes on biodiversity related issues is key to achieving the Strategic Plan and ensuring that by 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.
Nature protects if she is protected. By protecting biodiversity and achieving the Strategic Plan and its Aichi Targets, we will ensure a good quality of life for all, including women. On behalf of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, I wish women all around the world a joyous and fulfilling celebration of International Women's Day 2014.