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Name CBD
Logo Image:CBDLogo.gif
Geographic Scope Global
Subject Focus Expertise Biological Diversity and sustainable development
Contact E-mail: secretariat@cbd.int
URL http://www.cbd.int
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Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live.

The importance of the biodiversity challenge was universally acknowledged at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which met in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and through the development of the Convention on Biological Diversity. In ratifying the Convention, the Parties have committed themselves to undertaking national and international measures aimed at its achieving three objectives:

  • The conservation of biological diversity
  • The sustainable use of its components
  • The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

The convention is an essential instrument for achieving sustainable development.

Water-specific thematic programmes

1. Inland Waters Biodiversity

Inland Waters Biodiversity Programme - Inland waters was adopted as a CBD thematic area at the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) in Bratislava, Slovakia. The Convention's inland waters programme promotes the ecosystem approach, including integrated watershed management, as the best way to reconcile competing demands for dwindling supplies of inland waters. It is essential that the maintenance of biodiversity is seen as a critical demand for freshwater use and managed in coordination with other demands. The programme identifies the actions that Parties need to carry out to halt the trend of biodiversity loss, including monitoring, assessment and evaluation of biological diversity of inland water ecosystems, conducting environmental impact assessments of water development projects, development of pollution prevention strategies, choosing and using appropriate technology, and promoting transboundary cooperation, ecosystem-based management and the involvement of local and indigenous communities at all appropriate levels.

2. Marine and Coastal Biodiversity

Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Programme - Adopted in 1998, and reviewed and updated in 2004, the programme of work on marine and coastal biodiversity focuses on integrated marine and coastal area management, marine and coastal living resources, marine and coastal protected areas, mariculture, and invasive alien species. The road ahead for coastal areas lies in better and more effective implementation of integrated marine and coastal area management in the context of the Convention’s ecosystem approach. This includes putting in place marine and coastal protected areas to promote the recovery of biodiversity and fisheries resources and controlling land-based sources of pollution. For open ocean and deep sea areas, sustainability can only be achieved through increased international cooperation to protect vulnerable habitats and species.

Parties commit themselves to a more effective and coherent implementation of the three objectives of the Convention, to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth.

Key Resources


  • MEKONG River Awareness Toolkit - produced by the Mekong River Commission, was developed as part of the dnvironment training program conducted by the Environment Program of the Mekong River Commission. The primary objective of the RAK is to use multimedia and interactive CD-ROM learning tools to train MRC staff, National Mekong Committee staff, and riparian government agencies about Mekong River ecology. It is hoped that the RAK will help promote a better understanding of the natural and human-induced processes affecting the sustainability of the Mekong River system.
  • Ecosystem Approach Sourcebook Database - the first version of the case study database is operational. The database can be searched by biomes, sectors, issues, tools and approaches, and ecosystem approach principles and operational guidance.
  • Impact Assessment Database - case studies on biodiversity and impact assessment can be retrieved via searches by region, country, keyword, type of information and programme area.
  • Roster of Experts - provides a facility for users to search for experts in a specific country and field of expertise.
  • Database of Scientific Assessments - Through its search functions the database represents a resource to provide information to Parties and other partners on completed, ongoing and planned assessments. Assessments can be searched by country, region or subject. It is envisaged to develop a mechanism that will allow adding relevant assessments by interested partners and should the database should thus become a tool for activly sharing information on scientific assessments relevant to the Convention.
  • Country Profiles - providing the most relevant national information related to the Convention on Biological Information and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Selected publications

  • BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY OF INLAND WATER ECOSYSTEMS:The allocation and management of water for maintaining ecological functions and the role of watercourse conventions in implementing the programme of work (2008) - The equitable and sustainable allocation and management of water are crucial for maintaining the ecological function of inland water ecosystems and sustaining the significant services that these ecosystems provide to support human well-being. Globally, these ecosystems are in serious decline due to the pressures placed upon water by its various users. The future scenario is for rapidly increasing demands for water in order to supply human needs. Indisputably, one of the main impacts of climate change is on the hydrological cycle. These factors combined urgently call for better allocation and management of water if aquatic ecosystems are to be sustained. Where water is shared between two or more countries, cooperation between the States concerned for enabling transboundary integrated water resources management has a critical role to play. This has been clearly recognised in a number of important undertakings or commitments, including the 2006 Hashimoto Action Plan supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and the 2005 World Summit Outcome....
  • SYNTHESIS AND REVIEW OF THE BEST AVAILABLE SCIENTIFIC STUDIES ON PRIORITY AREAS FOR BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION IN MARINE AREAS BEYOND THE LIMITS OF NATIONAL JURISDICTION (2008) - This is the first attempt to review and synthesize existing literature for the priority habitats listed in decision VIII/24, which include seamounts, cold water coral reefs, hydrothermal vents and other ecosystems in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The note presents, in synthesized format, information about the distribution, status and trends (where available), as well as the threats facing these ecosystems. Information about the functioning of these ecosystems and the ecology of associated species is also presented. Finally, the note reviews work that has been undertaken to identify priority conservation areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.
  • OPTIONS FOR PREVENTING AND MITIGATING THE IMPACT OF SOME ACTIVITIES ON SELECTED SEABED HABITATS (2008) - This note synthesizes existing information as it relates to options for preventing and mitigating the impacts of some activities on selected seabed habitats, particularly hydrothermal vent, cold seep, seamount, cold-water coral and sponge reef ecosystems, each of which have been shown to host high levels of endemism and diversity, and are possible sources of new genetic resources (CBD 2005a; CBD 2006e). First, the report provides a summary of the biodiversity value and importance of these seabed habitats. Second, it presents an assessment of the state of knowledge of the existing and potential threats to these seabed habitats. Third, it reviews previous analyses of options for addressing the identified threats to seabed habitats found in binding and non-binding international instruments. Fourth, it further analyzes and explores options for preventing and mitigating threats to deep seabed habitats in areas beyond the limits of national jurisdiction, including: (i) the use of codes of conduct, guidelines and principles; (ii) management of threats through permits and environmental impact assessments; (iii) area-based management of uses, including through the establishment of marine protected areas; and (iv) ecosystem-based and integrated management approaches (CBD 2005a).

Click Here for all publications related to the Inland Waters Biodiversity Programme.
Click Here for all publications related to the Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Programme.

Work on the Ground

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See also

External Resources


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