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International Day for Biological Diversity
22 May

Convention on Biodiversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international legally-binding treaty with three main goals: conservation of biodiversity; sustainable use of biodiversity; fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Its overall objective is to encourage actions which will lead to a sustainable future.

The conservation of biodiversity is a common concern of humankind. The Convention on Biological Diversity covers biodiversity at all levels: ecosystems, species and genetic resources. It also covers biotechnology including through the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. In fact, it covers all possible domains that are directly or indirectly related to biodiversity and its role in development, ranging from science, politics and education to agriculture, business, culture and much more.

The CBD’s governing body is the Conference of the Parties (COP). This ultimate authority of all governments (or Parties) that have ratified the treaty meets every two years to review progress, set priorities and commit to work plans.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) is based in Montreal, Canada. Its main function is to assist governments in the implementation of the CBD and its programmes of work, to organize meetings, draft documents, and coordinate with other international organizations and collect and spread information. The Executive Secretary is the head of the Secretariat.

Facts and Figures

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993.
  • To date, there are 193 Parties.
  • Components of biodiversity are all the various forms of life on Earth including ecosystems, animals, plants, fungi, microorganisms, and genetic diversity.
  • With its three objectives, the CBD is often seen as the key international instrument for sustainable development.
  • Ecosystems, species and genetic resources should be used for the benefit of humans, but in a way that does not lead to the decline of biodiversity.
  • Substantial investments are required to conserve biodiversity, but it will bring significant environmental, economic and social benefits in return.
  • The Ecosystem Approach, an integrated strategy for the management of resources, is the framework for action under the Convention.
  • The precautionary principle states that where there is a threat of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity, lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to avoid or minimize such a threat.
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