In 1992, at the Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for "sustainable development" -- meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations.
The Convention on Biological Diversity, which was adopted at Rio, is a pact among the vast majority of the world's governments (190 of them) to make sure that as the world continues to develop, the diverse biological resources we need to sustain life on Earth are not used up. This balance is called Sustainable Development.
In the language of the United Nations, a Convention is an international agreement, or treaty, and the governments who sign it are called Parties to the Convention. The three goals of the Convention are:
- the preservation of biological diversity
- the sustainable use of its components
- the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
These are huge undertakings. Parties not only agree to meet the goals of the Convention when they sign it, but from then on, together, they work out and agree on the ways and means to meet those goals. They make National Plans for their own country and they work together to find ways to preserve biodiversity across regions and worldwide.