Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was inspired by the world community's growing commitment to sustainable development and entered into force in 1993. It concerns mainly the biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. CBD sets principals for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from genetic resources and traditional knowledge.

Species extinction caused by human activities still continues at an alarming rate. Biological resources are vital for the economic and social development of humanity and conservation of biological diversity should be a common concern of humankind. 

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Aims and Objectives

The CBD aims to:

  • sustain the rich diversity of life on Earth;
  • ensure the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components;
  • ensure fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the commercial and other utilization of biological diversity;
  • recognize the value of traditional knowledge and inclusion of local people;
  • Provide appropriate access to genetic resources and transfer of relevant technologies taking into account all rights over those.

How it works

The Convention of Biological Diversity provides a legal framework for action on biological diversity. It links traditional conservation efforts to the goal of using biological resources sutainable and covers biotechnology, technology development and transfer, benefit sharing and biosafety. The CBD is legally binding. Countries, which are part of it are obligated to implement its provisions. The responsibility for this implementation as well as for achieving goals rests largely with the individual countries.

Governments are required to develop national biodiversity strategies and action plans for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. Moreover, states must ensure that activities within their jurisdication do not cuase damage to the environment of other states or beyond the limits of national jurisdiction. 

Each Party shall: 

  • Identify components of biological diversity important for its conservation and sustainable use;
  • Research and monitor biological diversity;
  • Identify processes and categories of activites affecting biological diversity.


The institutional framework consists of the Conference of Parties, the Secretariat, a subsidary body on scientific, technical and technological advice, Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on the Review of Implementation of the Convention, Open-ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee and Ad Hoc Open-ended working group on protected areas.


Conference of Parties:

The CoP is the ultimate authority and consists of all governments and regional economic integration organizations which have ratified the treaty. The CoP meets every two years and is responsible for:

  • reviewing progress;
  • identifying priorities; 
  • setting work plans;
  • making amendments to the Convention;
  • collaborating with other international organizations.



The Secretariat is financed from contributions made by Parties and non-Parties to Trust funds. It is responsible for the organization and planning of the CBD.


Subsidiary body on scientific, technical and technological advice (SBSTTA):

The SBSTTA consists of government representatives with expertise in relevant fields. The SBSTTA main task is to assist the Conference of Parties with advice in regard of the implementation of the Convention. Its tasks include to:

  • provide assessments of the status of biological diversity;
  • provide assessments of the types of measures taken in accordance with the provisions of hte Convention;
  • respond to questions that the CoP may put to the body.

Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on the Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI)

In 2004 the Conference of the Parties established the WGRI to help to review the impacts and effectiveness of exisitng processes under the Convention and to support more effective processes for evaluation, reporting and reviewing implementation of the Convention and the Strategic plan.


Open-ended Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Committee (ICNP) 

In the tenth meeting of the CoP the Parties decided to establish the ICNP for the Nagoya Protocol on ABS as an interim governing body for the Nagoya Protocol until the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol at which time it will cease to exist. 

The ICNP meets twice during the inter-sessional period and helps in the preparations necessary for the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol. 


Ad Hoc Open-ended working group on protected areas

Has the mandate to: 

  • explore options for cooperation for the building of marine protected areas in areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, consisten with international law and based on scientific information;
  • explore options to moblize financial resources for the implementation of the work programme by developing countries;
  • contribute to further development of tool kits for management, monitoring and evaluation of national and regional systems of protected areas; 
  • consider reports from the Parties, academia, and scientific organizations etc. on progress in the implementation of the work programme on protected areas;
  • recommend to CoP ways how to improve the implementation.