International Day for Biological Diversity: ‘From Agreement to Action; Build Back Biodiversity’
Despite the incredible diversity of plant and animal life, biodiversity loss and the destabilization of ecosystems threatens the survival of 1 million species and the lives of billions of people.
Today’s International Day for Biological Diversity is designed to raise awareness about biodiversity around the world and advocate for its conservation. This year’s theme is “From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity,” which recognizes biodiversity restoration is an important step toward a sustainable future.
Biodiversity defined as the enormous variety of living things, including plants, animals, and all living organism from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other aquatic habitats as well as the ecological complexes of which they are part; this contains diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems.
An impressive array of biodiversity exists within Saudi Arabia, including more than 2,400 plant species, 1,230 marine fish species, 499 bird species, 266 coral species, 117 mammals, 107 reptiles, eight amphibians, eight freshwater fish, and numerous invertebrates.
Despite the incredible diversity of plant and animal life, biodiversity loss and the destabilization of ecosystems is a major concern globally that threatens the survival of 1 million species and the lives of billions of people. Ecosystems provide us with essential services on which our current way of life depends, including the provision of food and clean water.
This year’s theme highlights the importance of protecting and restoring biodiversity and ecosystems while also celebrating the historic achievements made at the 15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15) and the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which aims to halt and revise nature loss.
Global biodiversity is both a measure and a driver to protect and preserve our planet. This understanding has led to a number of global environmental protection strategies which the company has encompassed. This includes the Global Goal for Nature and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 14 and 15 which focus on life below water and life on land respectively.
The most effective way to conserve biodiversity is to avoid impacting high-quality habitat, and biodiversity protection is at the core of Aramco’s sustainability framework. As per our new Corporate Biodiversity Protection Policy, we avoid the highest value habitat in the Kingdom by not operating in designated world heritage sites, strict nature reserves, or wilderness areas.
Furthermore, Aramco works to ensure its operations result in no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystems services in national parks, important bird and biodiversity areas, important plant areas, and Aramco biodiversity protection areas (BPAs).
We have also committed to reduce our operations environmental footprint and to create a legacy of projects that improve both natural habitats and shared resources.
Aramco’s commitment to delivering positive impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services in its operational areas supports the Saudi Green Initiative and Global Biodiversity Framework, and is also informed by IPIECA’s (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association) guidance and UN SDGs. We strive to conserve natural resources and minimize the negative impact of our business activities on the environment by updating procedural operating instructions and guidance.
BPAs help build back biodiversity
Guided by our policies and standards, Aramco’s BPA program directly contributes toward the theme of “Build Back Biodiversity.” Our BPA program recognizes the exceptional biodiversity value of the Kingdom and currently affords protection to 12 BPAs covering an area of approximately 985 km2.
These sites contain nationally, regionally and/or internationally significant biodiversity, such as the presence of threatened, migratory and/or endemic species. The management of these areas of high biodiversity value is guided by scientific principles and international best practice.
As a means to inform science-based decisions, we develop innovative solutions to map and monitor biodiversity. We also lead cutting edge applied research in biodiversity conservation where we operate, and we invest in education and raise awareness to inspire generations to come.
At Aramco, we strive to create a culture that prioritizes the understanding of ecological habitats, their plants and animals, and promotes their protection. Having a sound knowledge of the distribution and abundance of the Kingdom’s biodiversity is essential for natural resource management and biodiversity protection.
In addition, targeted monitoring is required to measure and ensure the effectiveness of any implemented management actions. This is why we map and monitor significant biodiversity such as marine turtles and migratory birds.
We are dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity protection in Saudi Arabia, and have long been conducting initiatives to engage our employees and communities in biodiversity protection.
Join us in celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity and advocating for the protection of the Kingdom’s and the worlds biodiversity.
— By Peter Gilchrist, Edward Bradbrook, Maareb Alsubhi of the Environmental Biodiversity Division, Green Energy, and Environmental Policy Department