Rio de Janeiro, 5 June 1992
In response to the growing recognition that biological diversity is a global
asset of tremendous value to present and future generations and to the
increasing threat to the survival of species and integrity of habitats
and ecosystems, the United Nations Environment Programme initiated work
exploring the need for an international convention on biological diversity.
Aspects to be taken into account in this process were 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 work culminated on 22 May 1992 with the Nairobi Conference for the
Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
The Conference adopted the Nairobi Final Act which conveyed the Agreed
Text of the Convention to the Rio Earth Summit held in June 1992 in Brazil.
In accordance with the Convention, its 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 utilisation
of genetic resources". The Convention is thus the first global, comprehensive
agreement to address all aspects of biological diversity: genetic resources,
species and ecosystems. It recognizes, for the first time, that the conservation
of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and an integral
part of the development process. To achieve its objectives, the Convention,
in accordance with the spirit of the Rio Declaration on Environment and
Development, promotes a renewed partnership among countries. Its provisions
on scientific and technical cooperation, access to genetic resources and
the transfer of environmentally sound technologies form the foundations
of this partnership.
Pursuant to the Convention, the Contracting Parties undertake to conserve
and sustainably use biodiversity. The Contracting Parties are required
to develop national biodiversity strategies and action plans and to integrate
these into broader national plans for environment and development. This
is particularly important for such sectors as forestry, agriculture, fisheries,
energy, transportation and urban planning. Furthermore, Contracting Parties
shall identify and monitor the important components of biological diversity
that need to be conserved and used sustainably.
Other key provisions are to establish protected areas to conserve biological diversity while promoting environmentally sound development around these areas; to rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and to promote the recovery of threatened species in collaboration with local residents; to respect, preserve and maintain traditional knowledge of the sustainable use of biological diversity with the involvement of indigenous peoples and local communities; to prevent the introduction of, to control and to eradicate alien species that could threaten ecosystems, habitats or species; and to control the risks posed by organisms modified by biotechnology.
The Convention also focuses on promoting public participation, particularly
when it comes to assessing the environmental impacts of development projects
that threaten biological diversity, and on educating people and raising
awareness about the importance of biological diversity and the need to
The Conference of the Parties is required to keep under review the implementation
of the Convention. In doing so, the Contracting Parties are obliged to
submit reports relating to national implementation of the provisions in
the Convention. In addition, the Convention provides for establishing the
Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice that
provides the Conference of the Parties with advice relating to the implementation
of the Convention.
The Convention also provides for the elaboration of protocols as deemed
appropriate by the Conference of the Parties. The first protocol to the
Convention is the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, adopted in Montreal,
Canada, on 29 January 2000 by the Resumed Session of the First Extraordinary
Conference of the Parties (ExCop-1) to the Convention. The Protocol has,
as at 15 June 2000, 68 signatories.
|Entry into force: 29 December 1993
Status as at 15 June 2000: Signatories: 168 Contracting Parties: 177