CoP-11 on Biodiversity An Opportunity to Go beyond Business as Usual

CoP-11 on Biodiversity An Opportunity to Go beyond Business as Usual

By Persis Taraporevala
Economic and Political Weekly, 22 September 2012

The Convention on Biological ­Diversity (CBD)1 is an international treaty with three main objectives – conservation of biological diversity; sustainable use of its components; and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources. The convention was tabled at the United ­Nations Conference on Environment and Develop­ment (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit, in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992 and came into force on 29 December 1993. Its primary objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. It is also seen as a key document on ­sustainable development.

The convention recognises, under inter­national law, that conservation of biological diversity is a common concern and is integral for the sociocultural and economic development of humanity. The agreement covers all ecosystems, species, and genetic resources. It links traditional conservation efforts to the econo­mic goal of using biological resources sustainably. It sets principles for the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic ­resources, notably those destined for commercial use. It also covers the rapidly expanding field of biotechnology through its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, addressing techno­logy development and transfer, benefit-sharing and biosafety ­issues. Countries that join the convention are obliged to implement its provisions and it reminds decision-makers that biological resour­ces are finite and sets out a philo­sophy of sustainable use. The CBD currently has 193 nations as signatories, known as Parties, to combat the decline of biological diversity throughout the globe