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Convention on Biological Diversity
Rio de Janeiro, 1992
Core Treaties  
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  The United Nations Environment Program began to consider an international convention on biological diversity in response to growing awareness that biodiversity is a precious global asset to present and future generations, and to the increasing threat to the survival of species and integrity of habitats and ecosystems. The process considered the need to share costs and benefits between developed and developing countries, as well as ways and means to support innovation by local people.

  The Convention's objectives are "the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources." This makes the Convention the first global, comprehensive agreement to address all aspects of biodiversity: genetic resources, species and ecosystems. It recognizes that protecting biodiversity is "a common concern of humankind" and a crucial part of the development process. To achieve its objectives, the Convention promotes a renewed partnership among countries. The foundations of this partnership are the Convention's provisions on scientific and technical cooperation, access to genetic resources, and the transfer of environmentally-sound technologies.

Key Provisions

  According to the Convention, countries that are party to it commit to conserve biodiversity and use it sustainably. These countries must develop national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and integrate them into broader national plans for environment and development. This is especially important for such sectors as forestry, agriculture, fisheries, energy, transportation and urban planning. These countries will identify and monitor the important components of biodiversity that must be conserved and used sustainably.

  Other key provisions are:

  • to establish protected areas to conserve biodiversity, while promoting environmentally sound development around these areas
  • to rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems, and promote the recovery of threatened species in collaboration with local residents
  • to respect, preserve and maintain traditional knowledge of the sustainable use of biodiversity in partnership with indigenous peoples and local communities
  • to prevent the introduction of alien species that could threaten ecosystems, habitats or species; and to control and to eradicate such species
  • to control the risks posed by organisms modified by biotechnology.

  The Convention also focuses on promoting public participation, especially in assessing the environmental impacts of development projects that threaten biodiversity, and on educating people and raising awareness about the importance of biodiversity and the need to protect it.

  The countries that are party to the Convention must report on national implementation of the Conventionís provisions. In addition, the Convention provides for establishing the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice. This body gives advice about the implementation of the Convention to the countries that are party to it.

  The Convention also provides for the explanation of protocols as deemed appropriate by the Conference of the Parties.

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