Convention on Biological Diversity

Convention on Biological Diversity:dscf9971

  1. Origins of the convention – what stimulated drafting of the convention
  • There are increasing threats to species and ecosystems and species extinction caused by human activities continues at an alarming rate. The Convention on Biological Diversity was inspired by the world community’s growing commitment to sustainable development.
  • In response, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) convened the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity in November 1988 to explore the need for an international convention on biological diversity.
  • Soon after, in May 1989, it established the Ad Hoc Working Group of Technical and Legal Experts to prepare an international legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The experts were to take into account “the need to share costs and benefits between developed and developing countries” as well as “ways and means to support innovation by local people”.
  • By February 1991, the Ad Hoc Working Group had become known as the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee. Its work culminated on 22 May 1992 with the Nairobi Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

2. How many signatories and how many ratifications

  • 168 signatories, 196 parties

3. How many African states are in the convention?

  • All

4. Assess conference or parties’ meetings – date started until now, how many conferences? Regular or irregular?

  • COP1 held in 1994, meetings held annually until 1996, thereafter regular meetings held every 2 years

5. Group expression/opinion on the convention

  • This is a far-reaching convention with almost all countries as parties
  • The Convention represents a dramatic step forward in the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.
  • The Convention provides strategic plans, including targets, to it’s members
  • And requires members to provide national reports with national strategies that have been developed for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and these are available on the conventions website.
  • It is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development
  • Criticism: although the convention states that all forms of life are covered by its provisions, national reports, biodiversity strategies and action plans submitted by countries show that this is frequently focussed on animals and plants but lacks information on bacteria, fungi & protists