Convention on Biological Diversity in a Nutshell






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Publication: Alternatives Journal
Author: Broome, Kimberley
Date published: November 1, 2010

THE UN CONVENTION ON BIODIVERSITY (CBD) is an international convention that acknowledges the importance of biological diversity to human well-being. It is cousin to the UN Convention on Climate Change.

In April 2002, the Parties to the Convention agreed to achieve by 2010 "a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth."

The CBD has three main objectives:

* The conservation of biological diversity;

* The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity; and

* The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

The UN began investigating the need for an international legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity over 20 years ago. In 1992, at the Nairobi Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text, it introduced the CBD. Canada actively participated in the negotiations.

At the Rio Earth Conference in Brazil, over 150 countries, including Canada, signed the document. It came into force on December 29, 1993, after enough countries had ratified the agreement. Now, 193 countries are signatories.

As the UN International Year of Biodiversity, 2010 also marks the 10th Conference of Parties to the Convention (COP 10), which takes place in Nagoya, Japan, in October. The agenda includes a final assessment of progress on the Convention's 2010 biodiversity targets, as well as efforts to create new goals for 2020 and 2050. Unfortunately, the CBD's 2010 targets have not been met by any of the signatories.

-K.B.

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