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Biodiversity and International Trade

The trade-related work under the Convention captures the different aspects of the complex relationship between international trade and the objectives and provisions of the Convention.

  • The collection, production, transformation, and commercialization of biodiversity-based goods and services that meet specific sustainability criteria (“Biotrade”) may generate incentives for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Accordingly, a number of thematic programmes of work under the Convention call for the increased marketing of products derived from sustainable use, and the Secretariat is cooperating closely with the Biotrade Initiative of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to advance biotrade promotion (see pages on market creation for further information).

  • Aichi target 12 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 foresees that, by 2020, the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented and their conservation status, particularly of those most in decline, has been improved and sustained. Implementing this target includes essential international co-operation with a view to protect certain species of wild fauna and flora against over-exploitation through international trade - which is the work area of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES and CBD are therefore cooperating closely to implement this target, including through the liaison group of biodiversity-related Conventions.

  • While the Convention on Biological Diversity does not require measures that are directly related to international trade, there is a close relationship between many of its provisions – as well as those of its Biosafety Protocol – and the multilateral rules and provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO). For instance, the Parties to the Convention have emphasized the interrelationship between the Convention and the provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), and the need to further explore this interrelationship. Similarly, Parties have underlined the relationship between the Biosafety Protocol and the provisions of the WTO Agreements on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) and Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS). Accordingly, the Conference of the Parties requested the Executive Secretary to closely interact and cooperate with the relevant Committees of the WTO as well as with its Secretariat on these issues of mutual interest, and to also examine the impact of trade liberalization on biodiversity.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme