Convention on Biological Diversity

In effect since December 29, 1993, The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the only existing global agreement for preserving and improving marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

The main objectives of the CBD are to promote the conservation of biological diversity, ensure the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity, and to promote the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits resulting from the utilization of genetic resources.

With the exception of the United States, Andorra, and the Holy See, every member state of the United Nations has signed the CBD (known as ‘Parties to the Convention’).

CBD Parties (193 total) are encouraged to implement comprehensive ocean health policies, establish integrated coastal zone management programs, protect spawning and nursing areas, reduce the introduction of invasive species, create educational programs and research initiatives, enact improvements in waste treatment, and enforce controls on destructive fishing practices.

Which Goals Does This Affect?

How Was It Measured?

The country responses to surveys included in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Third National Report (2005) were applied in varying combinations for five separate Resilience measures for different goals and sub-goals; the response layers used were alien species, habitat, mariculture, tourism, and water. Each question was weighted equally within each category and responses were averaged to give a score between 0-1 for all respondents. For each question score, a 1 was assigned if a country was a signatory and responded “yes”, or a 0 if a country was a signatory and answered either “no” or had no response.

153 members of the 193 members of the CBD responded to the Third National Survey (2005). All contributing countries were given 0.5 credit within each of the Resilience measures for being a member of the CBD, the other 0.5 of the Resilience score came from each country’s responses to specific questions within each Resilience measure. In cases where the European Union answered “yes” or was a signatory, all EU25 countries were given that response if none was provided on an individual basis. Data was provided for 147 regions, and used geographical means, weighted by country area, for the remaining regions.

Why Is This Important?

The measures that a country is taking to conserve biodiversity can be seen as an indicator of its implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) goals. The following indicators were developed by the CBD and the United Nations Environmental Programme’s World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC) to assess the extent to which a nation is meeting these goals.

-Parties support the CBD goal of designating 10% of the oceans by working to designate 10% or more of their EEZ waters as MPAs through plans, monitoring, enforcement and creation of national networks of MPAs.  

-Parties have strategies and action plans targeted to key terms of the CBD, e.g. having a comprehensive ocean health policy, developing new MPAs, improving the management of existing ones, protecting spawning and nursery areas, creating educational programs and research initiatives, improving waste treatment, and controlling destructive fishing practices.  

-Parties’ marine and coastal resource management plans identify critical components and key threats to ecosystems, incorporate local and traditional knowledge, and strengthen institutional, administrative and legislative support for integrated marine and coastal ecosystem-based management (EBM).  

-Parties’ marine management programs include assessing, monitoring, reporting and responding to the health status of coral reefs, including bleaching; restoring degraded reef habitat; and providing education and training programs for communities dependent on coral reef services and scientists who study reefs.  

-Parties minimize the negative effects of mariculture by conducting environmental impact assessments, effective site selection, effective methods for waste control, and by avoiding introduction of invasive species or genotypes and minimizing use of antibiotics.  

-Parties assess and minimize the impacts of tourism on biodiversity by educating tourism operators; assisting indigenous and local communities to participate in policy-making, development planning, product development and management for tourism; and incorporating guidelines [link to]: on biodiversity and tourism development in national plans for tourism development.

What Has Been Done?

Get More Information

IUCN Environmental Law Centre and IUCN Biodiversity Programme
A Guide to the Convention on Biological Diversity. 1994. 

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
CBD provides a strategic plan for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its component factors on local, national, and international scales.


PHOTO(S): © Keith A. Ellenbogen
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