The World Biodiversity Forum Announces New Virtual Convention in January 2021, Advised By The Convention on Biological Diversity and in Collaboration with TEALEAVES

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The World Biodiversity Forum will end the decade with a series of virtual collaborative events and workshops to inspire a variety of stakeholders to take action to preserve biodiversity.

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The 2021 edition of the World Biodiversity Forum, organized by University of Zurich, bioDISCOVERY and TEALEAVES, will be held virtually. The series of events will commence on January 7th, 2021, and continued in the main events held in May 2021. The 2021 Virtual World Biodiversity Forum brings to­geth­er lead­ing researchers, societal actors, youth representatives, prac­ti­tion­ers, and decision-makers from dif­fer­ent sectors in panel discussions and interactive workshops. The purpose is to inspire actions to achieve the goals of the new global biodiversity framework and the 2050 Vision of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

With the planet heading towards a mass extinction, The World Biodiversity Forum will create a platform of exchange, amplifying biodiversity to the forefront of global discussions. 2021 is the “Year of Impact '' - COP26 of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will convene to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity will convene with the goal of committing to a new global biodiversity framework. Synergies between conventions are setting a path to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2030.

“Biodiversity is life on earth. Without biodiversity, humans would not be able to exist. Urgent action is required to preserve biodiversity, for its own sake, but also for future generations,” says Dr. Cornelia Krug, Science-Policy Liaison at the University of Zurich and World Biodiversity Forum Co-Chair.

Looking through the lens of biodiversity (science), The 2021 Virtual World Biodiversity Forum will focus on actions for transitions and transformations, and provide concepts and ideas for how society as a whole can move towards Living in Harmony with Nature. Focusing on transition points and transformation necessary to achieve this goal, the event series will bring together a variety of societal actors to shape narratives and to highlight actionable outcomes.

“Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, released this fall, showed that many good things are happening around the world and these should be celebrated and encouraged,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“Nevertheless, the rate of biodiversity loss is unprecedented in human history and pressures are intensifying. Earth’s living systems as a whole are being compromised. And the more humanity exploits nature in unsustainable ways and undermines its contributions to people, the more we undermine our own wellbeing, security and prosperity.”
“The decisions and level of action we take now will have profound consequences -- for good or ill -- for all species, including ours.”

January 7th, 2021 | Biodiversity For A New Decade
“It is time to see biodiversity as an asset, not a problem,” says Dr. Michael Schaepman, President, University of Zurich.

Loss of biodiversity, changing climate, increase in extreme events threaten to damage human health, economies and societies - it is high time to put the world on track to achieve the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity “Living in Harmony with Nature”. The kick-off event will use the findings from the Global Assessment and the Global Biodiversity Outlook 5, in particular areas of transition and entry points how transformation could be achieved. The event will gather biodiversity leaders to answer the question: Why do we need to take action, and what do we want to achieve?

The two-part session will commence with an opening address from Ms. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, along with statements from Dr. Anne Larigauderie, Executive Secretary, The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and Dr. David Cooper, Deputy Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity. A panel discussion will follow, featuring, among others, Mark Rounsevell, Professor of Land Use & Climate Change, Karlsruhe Institute for Technology, and Chadia Wannous, Coordinator of Toward a Safer World Network (TASW).

January 14th, 2021 | Lipstick on a Fig Tree: Why Planting Trees Avoids the Real Problems (and May Make Things Worse)
This session will feature an interactive panel discussion with Dean Meigan Aronson of the University of British Columbia Faculty of Science, Patrick Lewis, Director of the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden, Dr. Paul Smith, Secretary General of Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Dr. Pedro Bancalion, Professor of Tropical Forestry at the University of São Paulo, and Lana Sutherland, CEO and Co-Founder of TEALEAVES.

Tree-planting dominates political and popular agendas, and is often portrayed as an easy answer to the climate crisis and effective mitigation for corporate carbon emissions. However, it is not a simple solution and planting the wrong trees in the wrong place can cause considerably more damage than benefits, failing people and nature. The botanic garden community needs to put the practical conservation of biodiversity first – in seed banks, in living collections and, most importantly, out there in the landscape. Panelists will convene to explore a botanist’s rules of engagement in a rapidly changing world.

May 2021 Events
The virtual convention will resume in May with specific themes and highlight options for actions and solutions, and challenge the audience to follow suit and take action.

About World Biodiversity Forum
Established in 2020 the World Bio­di­ver­si­ty Fo­rum brings to­geth­er lead­ing re­searchers, ear­ly ca­reer re­searchers, prac­ti­tion­ers, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from dif­fer­ent sec­tors, de­ci­sion-mak­ers and so­ci­etal ac­tors in con­ver­sa­tion, pro­viding a plat­form for ex­change, cov­er­ing a wide range of per­spec­tives, and cap­tur­ing a di­ver­si­ty of vi­sions. Supported by the University of Zurich Research Priority Program ‘Global Change and Biodiversity’ and bioDISCOVERY, The Forum aims to re­de­fine and set the agen­da for bio­di­ver­si­ty as a fo­cal point over the next decades in cur­rent themes and top­ics across sec­tors. More details found at

Established in 1994, TEALEAVES is one of the very few tea blenders in the world, known for crafting the highest quality teas in small batches by hand. With a unified goal of inspiring connections and creativity, TEALEAVES blends techniques, stories, people, companies and ideas to understand and tackle global issues. This information is shared through the work of documentaries (Garden of Secrets, Color in Sight, Language of Aroma), Design Weeks (San Francisco Design Week, LA Design Week), and panel discussions (World Biodiversity Forum, Nature x Design). More information is available at

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