History of the Convention

Introduction

The Earth's biological resources are vital to humanity's economic and social development. As a result, there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations. At the same time, the threat to species and ecosystems has never been so great as it is today. Species extinction caused by human activities continues at an alarming rate.

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.

The Convention was opened for signature on 5 June 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Rio "Earth Summit"). It remained open for signature until 4 June 1993, by which time it had received 168 signatures. The Convention entered into force on 29 December 1993, which was 90 days after the 30th ratification. The first session of the Conference of the Parties was scheduled for 28 November – 9 December 1994 in the Bahamas.

The Convention on Biological Diversity was inspired by the world community's growing commitment to sustainable development. It 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.

Pre-CBD Meetings

Dates and VenueMeeting

May 1992

20 - 21 May 1992
Nairobi, Kenya
Confirmed
Conference for the Adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity
11 - 19 May 1992
Nairobi, Kenya
Confirmed
Seventh Negotiating Session / Fifth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negociating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity

February 1992

6 - 15 February 1992
Nairobi, Kenya
Confirmed
Sixth Negotiating Session / Fourth Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity

November 1991

25 November - 4 December 1991
Geneva, Switzerland
Confirmed
Fifth Negotiating Session / Third Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity

September 1991

23 September - 3 October 1991
Nairobi, Kenya
Confirmed
Fourth Negotiating Session / Second Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negociating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity

June 1991

24 June - 3 July 1991
Madrid, Spain
Confirmed
Third Negotiating Session / First Meeting of the Intergovernmental Negociating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity
24 June - 3 July 1991
Madrid, Spain
Confirmed
Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and Technical Experts on Biological Diversity

February 1991

25 February - 6 March 1991
Nairobi, Kenya
Confirmed
Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and Technical Experts on Biological Diversity

November 1990

19 - 23 November 1990
Nairobi, Kenya
Confirmed
First Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and Technical Experts on Biological Diversity
14 - 17 November 1990
Nairobi, Kenya
Confirmed
Sub-Working Group on Biotechnology

July 1990

9 - 13 July 1990
Confirmed
Third Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity

February 1990

19 - 23 February 1990
Confirmed
Second Session of the Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity

November 1988

16 - 18 November 1988
Geneva, Switzerland
Confirmed
First session of Ad Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological Diversity