Independent from mankind, nature changed during a long geological history. However, the rise of human society has in a very short time started to significantly change the face of earth. The construction of roads, railways, regulation of rivers, expansion of cities and agricultural land started the strong negative impact on natural environment. First significant devastations of nature caused resistance in people and incited increasingly more organised actions against the consequences of such actions.
The United Nations proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity in order to indicate a biodiversity as a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations. This date also commemorates the adoption of the Convention of Biological Diversity as one of the most important international agreements covering the nature conservation issues. The objectives of this Convention are conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources, including appropriate access to genetic resources. Every year the International Day for Biological Diversity is dedicated to one of the key issues related to biological diversity such as agriculture, climate changes, invasive alien species or forests.
The Ivo Horvat Nature Protection Award is traditionally granted on the Nature Protection Day in the Republic of Croatia and the International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May, as an annual and life-achievement award.
The award bears the name of a prominent botanist and university professor of botany Ivo Horvat.
It was established by the Ministry of Culture in 2006, and it is granted to prominent persons and organizations deserving praise for the promotion of nature protection.