NSP - The Convention on Biological Diversity - "The Rio Summit"

The importance of biodiversity and to sustainable development to the world community were underscored in the landmark 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (the Rio “Earth Summit”) was presented. The CDB came into force in 1993 with the objectives for 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. It is currently signed by 193 Parties (from 192 counties plus the European Commission).

The objectives of the convention are (Article 1): "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, including the appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding."

The sustainable use of biodiversity, as stated in the CBD involves "the use of components of biodiversity in a way that does not lead to the long term decline of biodiversity, thereby maintaining its potential to meet the needs and aspirations of present and future generations.

At the 2000 meeting, a supplementary agreement known as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was set up to ensure “an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMO) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health, and specifically focusing on transboundary movements”. The Cartagena Protocol is of important to soil biodiversity as many LMOs are crop species which have the potential to impact on soil biodiversity. It has been currently signed by 159 countries (and the European Union).

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2010: The Year of Biodiversity