Background

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.

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 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has three main objectives:

1. The conservation of biological diversity

2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity

3. The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

The Convention on Biological Diversity provides a global legal framework for action on biodiversity. It brings together the Parties in the Conference of the Parties (COP), which is the Convention’s governing body that meets every two years, or as needed, to review progress in the implementation of the Convention, to adopt programmes of work, to achieve its objectives and provide policy guidance.

The COP is assisted by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice, (SBSTTA), and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI). SBSTTA is established under the Convention (Article 25) and is made up of government representatives with expertise in relevant fields, as well as observers from non-Party governments, the scientific community, indigenous peoples and local communities, and other relevant organizations. SBSTTA is responsible for providing recommendations to the COP on the technical and scientific aspects of the implementation of the Convention.

The Subsidiary Body on Implementation is established by the decision of the COP to review progress in implementing the Convention and identifies strategic actions to enhance implementation, including how to strengthen the means of implementation. It also addresses issues associated with the operations of the convention and the Protocols.

The COP also establishes other subsidiary bodies in the form of working groups, from time to time, with responsibility to deal with specific issues as they arise. These subsidiary bodies are characterized as “ad hoc” because they are established for a limited and specific mandate and period and are generally open for participation by all Parties as well as observers.

The Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) supports the decision-making processes under the Convention as well as the implementation of the Convention on the basis of guidance and requests from decisions of the Conference of the Parties.