The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) entered into force on 29 December 1993. It has 3 main objectives:
- The conservation of biological diversity
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed in 1992 at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro and ratified in 1993.
The CBD is a comprehensive, binding agreement covering the use and conservation of biodiversity. It requires countries to develop and implement strategies for sustainable use and protection of biodiversity, and provides a forum for continuing international dialogue on biodiversity-related issues through the annual conferences of the parties (COPs).
But the 1992 document contained no specific article on marine and coastal biodiversity. Instead the 1995 Conference of the Parties dealt with these issues in two decisions. One (II10) was a policy decision – now known as the Jakarta Mandate on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity – containing basic principles and thematic areas. These provisions were to be implemented through a multi-year programme of work described in the second decision (IV5).
The Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans are considered to have a major role to play in the promotion of the Jakarta Mandate at the regional level. The CBD already enjoys close cooperation with the Cartagena Convention in the Caribbean and the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) in the South-East Pacific. Negotiations are under way with other regional bodies, such as the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) and the Regional Coordinating Unit for the East Asian Seas Action Plan (EAS/RCU).
The regional programmes also have much to contribute to the CBD work programme as it relates to guidelines on integrated marine and coastal area management, criteria for protected marine and coastal area establishment and management and guidelines for ecosystem evaluation, including indicators. .
The CBD builds on the Law of the Sea Convention by extending protection to biodiversity located within the 12-mile limit zones areas not directly protected under the LOS provisions.
THE Convention on Biological Diversity was negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It was opened for signature at the June 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and entered into force on 29 December 1993, ninety days after the 30th ratification. As of October 1998, more than 170 countries had become Parties. The three goals of the CBD are to promote the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. The CBD Secretariat is located in Montréal, Canada. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), which advises the Conference of the Parties (COP), meets several months prior to each COP. Negotiations on the first protocol to the Convention, conducted by the Ad Hoc Working Group on Biosafety (BSWG), concluded in January 2000.
The Earth Negotiations Bulletin has covered each COP, SBSTTA and BSWG session plus two sessions prior to the CBD's entry into force and an intersessional workshop. ENB coverage of biodiversity issues also includes several sessions of the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, which meets under FAO auspices. The following discussion focuses on decisions taken by the CBD COP, SBSTTA and the BSWG.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international agreement established by the United Nations. Its aim is to preserve biological diversity around the world. Belgium became a CBD member during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in 1992.
The CBD has three main objectives: to conserve biodiversity, to enhance its sustainable use and to ensure an equitable sharing of benefits linked to the exploitation of genetic resources.
The Convention puts much emphasis on the exchange of information and the cooperation between countries. To help these processes, the CBD has set up an international network of partners called the Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM). This website contributes to the CHM network by illustrating what Belgium is doing in the framework of the CBD.
The Convention on Biological Diversity represents the first comprehensive international statement on the importance of biodiversity. The United Nations Environment Programme had coordinated several meetings on this issue in the late 1980's, and the final text of the convention was open to signatures at the 1992 "Earth Summit" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One year later, 168 countries had signed the agreement, although the United States was not one of them. To date, the United States has still not signed the treaty.
The goals of this agreement include: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources." This treaty focuses on sustainable development at the international level, as a way to achieve economic and environmental goals concurrently. In addition, the treaty recognizes the intergenerational equity issues complicating the economic objectives today.
Key features of the Convention on Biological Diversity
- Article 6 of this agreement stipulates general measures for conservation and sustainable use of biological resources:
- "develop national strategies, plans or prgrammes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity or adapt for this purpose existing strategies, plans or programmes which shall reflect the measures set out in this Convention; and
- Integrate as far as possible and as appropriate, the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies."
- Articles 8 and 9 refer to biological techniques to ensure success of the biological diversity objectives, including both in-situ and ex-situ measures.
- Article 10 identifies ways in which member countries should promote sustainable development practices in order to ensure long-term diversity of biological resources.
- The Convention encourages throughout its text the cooperation and coordination between member countries, particularly with respect to North-South relationships. These provisions seek to prevent the exploitation of ecologically-rich countries by economically-rich countries.
Will the Convention on Biological Diversity be successful?
This convention recognizes the importance of conserving biological diversity for present and future generations. However, the convention also recognizes (as many international agreements do) the sovereignty of member countries. Although the agreement identifies general objectives of conservation and sustainable development, member countries assume responsibility for implementation. It may be overly optimistic to assume that biodiversity is protected simply because 175 countries have signed this treaty as of January 15, 1999. Measuring the treaty's success is difficult because it lacks specific provisions for achieving its objectives.
Biological Diversity Overview
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The year 1992 is the landmark year for introducing the concept to protect traditional knowledge and biodiversity. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreement is applicable at national and international level. India has adopted this agreement which has taken into account various aspects of biological diversity.
- Conservation of biological diversity
- Sustainable use of its components (genetic resources)
- Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its use
Articles related to above said objectives of CBD are
- Article 1 - fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including access to genetic resources, appropriate transfer of technologies, considering all rights over those resources to technologies and appropriate funding.
- Article 8(j) - provision to encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from utilization of knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local community embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity
The Biodiversity Act, 2002 (BDA)
This Act is applicable to India. It enforced prior approval of National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), which was established on 1st October, 2003, before applying for any kind of intellectual property rights (IPRs) based on any research or information on a biological resource obtained from India. The National Biodiversity office is located at Chennai, India.
National Biodiversity Authority exempts the use of biological resources for carrying out research.
It is mandatory to seek permission of the NBA if the use of research is for commercial purpose or any foreign institute or if any foreign institute wants to access biological resource.
Salient features of NBA
The objectives of the NBA are provided as follows
- Section 6 provides that anybody seeking any kind of intellectual property rights on a research based upon biological resource or knowledge obtained from India; need to obtain prior approval of the NBA. The NBA will impose benefit-sharing conditions
- Section 18(iv) stipulates that one of the functions of National Biodiversity Act (NBA) is to take measures to oppose the grant of IPRs in any country outside India on any biological resource obtained from India or knowledge associated with such biological resource
- For ensuring equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biological resources and associated knowledge, Sections 19 and 21 stipulate prior approval of the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) before their access. While granting approval, NBA will impose terms and conditions, which secure equitable sharing of benefits
- Section 36(iv) provides protection to the knowledge of local people relating to biodiversity through measures such as registration of such knowledge, and development of a sui generis system.
Transfer of biological resource or knowledge
According to Section 20,
- No person who has been granted approval U/s 19 shall transfer any biological resource or knowledge associated thereto which is the subject matter of the said approval except with the permission of the National Biodiversity Authority
- Any person who intends to transfer any biological resource or knowledge associated thereto shall make an application in a form as prescribed to the National Biodiversity Authority
- On receipt of an application, the National Biodiversity Authority grants approval after making enquirers subject to certain terms and conditions including the imposition of charges by way of royalty or for reasons to be recorded in writing, reject the application provided that no such order for rejection shall be made without giving an opportunity of being heard to the person affected
- The NBA gives public notice of approval granted under this section