Press Release

International Year of Biodiversity wins the Green Award as best global environmental campaign

December 9, 2010



>> Discover GEF activities for the 2010IYB


Montreal, 3 December 2010 - With the slogan “Biodiversity is Life. Biodiversity is our Life”, the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) won the coveted 2010 Green Award for best Global Campaign in recognition of the strength of a campaign that inspired activities throughout the world that showcase the value and beauty of biodiversity. The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has served as the United Nations’ focal point for the Year.

The award ceremony took place at London’s Natural History Museum on 2 December with more than 400 guests. The ceremony was attended by Sir David Attenborough, Britain’s best loved naturalist with more than 50 years of broadcast experience including the BBC Life series. Sir David Attenborough received the lifetime achievement award. Rt. Hon. Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, delivered a key note address. Mr Eric Falt, the Assistant Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), also addressed the participants.

“The celebrations organized for the International Year of Biodiversity by the citizens and Governments of 191 countries and partners around the world have been an extraordinary human experience aimed at reconnecting people with nature. It has demonstrated the resolve of the people of the world to protect life on Earth,” said Ahmed Djoghlaf, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity. “The 2010 Green Award is recognition of and tribute paid to people of the world for this achievement.”

The Green Awards, now in their fifth year, illustrate the crucial role that green marketing and sustainability communications plays in informing people about green issues, products and lifestyle choices. The Awards showcase examples of excellence and best practice in communicating sustainability and green issues.

The campaign for the International Year of Biodiversity encouraged people to learn about the biodiversity that surrounds them, to discover how it contributes to their lives and well-being, and to take actions that would ensure that it is preserved and used sustainably.

Throughout the year, activities were held around the world in 191 countries. Painting competitions, urban art, a YouTube contest, flash mobs, film festivals, activities by the global Scout movement, a campaign linked to the Fan Fests at the FIFA World Cup financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and an active Facebook community that tracked actions and activities around the world are but a few of the key events organized. A vibrant website has served to showcase these and countless other activities and provide accessible information to the public on biodiversity.

Thousands of requests to use the IYB logo from organizations around the world resulted in it becoming one of the most recognizable environmental brands of 2010. The logo has appeared on urban transit systems, in botanical gardens, in television commercials, in films at the Fan Fests at the FIFA World Cup, on posters and postage stamps, on the Airbus A380 aircraft, on wine and a number of other products around the world.
The official launch of the International Year of Biodiversity took place on 11 January 2010 in Berlin with the participation of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, in her capacity as the President of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Celebrations continued throughout the year. High-level celebrations took place in major cities of the world including Curitiba, Tokyo, Nagoya, Paris, New York, Beijing, New Delhi, Siam Reap, Baghdad, and many other cities

All relevant United Nations agencies contributed to the celebration of the year. UNESCO organized a high-level event as well as a scientific conference and assisted in preparing an international exhibit financed by the GEF. In February, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launched the International Year in North America in New York at the American Museum of Natural History. More than 74 field offices of UNDP contributed to the celebration of the International Year on Biodiversity.

The main celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity took place in Nairobi on 22 May 2010 and coincided with a an outreach campaign organized by the Government of Germany and the international magazine GEO, which counted on activities in 38 countries in four continents.

For the first time in the history of the United Nations General Assembly, a high-level event on biodiversity with the participation of heads of state and government took place on 22 September to mark the celebration of the International Year on Biodiversity. The celebration took place with the participation of the actor and film-maker, Edward Norton, appointed in July by the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon as the United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity.

The Year’s activities contributed to the success of the Nagoya Biodiversity Summit in October, attended by more than 18,000 participants representing the 193 Parties to the Convention and their partners. The Nagoya Summit adopted a ten year strategic plan as well as a new international treaty on access to and sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources and the Kuala Lumpur-Nagoya Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. A resource mobilization strategy was adopted and the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Naoto Kan, announced a contribution of 2 billion United States dollars over three years for the implementation of the Nagoya outcomes.

Building on the success of the International Year of Biodiversity and based on an initiative of Japan, the United Nations General Assembly is expected to declare 2011-2020 the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity in support of the new biodiversity vision.

To mark the International Year of Biodiversity, the Aeon environmental foundation established the Midori Prize, including a special category for the International Year of Biodiversity. The Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel was awarded the prize for her contribution to the promotion of the biodiversity agenda during the German Presidency of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The International Year of Biodiversity will come full circle when Japan, the new President of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, plays host to the official closing ceremonies to be held in Kanazawa, Japan on 18 and 19 December. The closing ceremony will serve as a bridge to the celebration of the 2011 International Year of Forests.


Notes to Editors

About the Green Awards
Launched in 2006 to critical acclaim, the Green Awards were set up to recognize and reward creative work that communicates the importance of corporate social responsibility, sustainable development and ethical best practice in any sector and across any marketing discipline. Find out more at:

About the International Year of Biodiversity:
The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) to raise awareness about the crucial importance of biodiversity, to communicate the human costs of biodiversity loss, and to engage people, particularly youth, throughout the world in the fight to protect all life on Earth. Initiatives will be organized throughout the year to disseminate information, promote the protection of biodiversity and encourage countries, organizations, and individuals to take direct action to reduce biodiversity loss. The focal point for the Year is the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.


The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources. With 193 Parties, the Convention has near universal participation among countries. The Convention seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community. The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, a supplementary treaty to the Convention, seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 159 countries and the European Union have ratified the Protocol. The Secretariat of the Convention and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal.

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