Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention on Biological Diversity is a legally binding document , which came as an outcome of Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993. It is commonly known as “Biodiversity Convention”.
Conservation of biological diversity (or biodiversity);
Sustainable use of its components; and
Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources
The idea is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
198 countries / territories including India are parties to the CBD.
The United States has signed but not ratified the convention.
CBD – Important Provisions
The CBD has 23 preamble paragraphs and 42 articles. The preamble paragraphs interalia recognize and reaffirm the following:
Intrinsic value of biodiversity
Biodiversity conservation as common concern of humankind
Sovereign rights of States over their biological resources
Responsibility of States to conserve and sustainable use their biodiversity
Precautionary approach towards biodiversity conservation
Vital role of local communities and women in conservation, and sustainable use of biodiversity
Need for provision of new and additional financial resources and access to technologies to developing countries to address biodiversity loss.
Economic and social development and poverty eradication are the first and overriding priorities of developing countries.
Why US not ratified the CBD?
By 2009, US, Iraq, Somalia and Andorra had to sign and ratify the CBD. With Iraq’s accession to the CBD in July 2009, the US, Somalia and Andorra are now the only remaining countries that have not signed / ratified the CBD.
US has ratified the UNFCCC and UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification), but did not ratify the CBD.
Please note that the main concerns of United States are the CBD provisions, which call for technology transfer to developing countries. US thinks that it could threaten US intellectual property interests.
Further, there is another reason that the obligations for financial aid under the CBD are vague. Strangely, the other developed countries have not shared these concerns.
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
On 29 January 2000, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a supplementary agreement to the Convention known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. The Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
Advance Informed Agreement (AIA) procedure
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety establishes an advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure for ensuring that countries are provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the import of such organisms into their territory. The Protocol contains reference to a precautionary approach and reaffirms the precaution language in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. The Protocol also establishes a Biosafety Clearing-House to facilitate the exchange of information on living modified organisms and to assist countries in the implementation of the Protocol.
Conference of the Parties (COP):
The Governing body of the CBD is the Conference of the Parties (COP), which consists of all governments (and regional economic integration organizations) that have ratified the treaty. This ultimate authority reviews progress under the Convention, identifies new priorities, and sets work plans for members. The COP can also make amendments to the Convention, create expert advisory bodies, review progress reports by member nations, and collaborate with other international organizations and agreements.
Till now 10 COP have held.
2010 International Year of Biodiversity
The United Nations declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) to raise awareness about the crucial importance of biodiversity, to communicate the human costs of biodiversity loss, and to engage people, particularly youth, throughout the world in the fight to protect all life on Earth. Initiatives will be organized throughout the year to disseminate information, promote the protection of biodiversity and encourage countries, organizations, and individuals to take direct action to reduce biodiversity loss. The focal point for the year is the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Latest COP – COP 10
10th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity was held in October in Nagoya Japan, the Nagoya Protocol was adopted.