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The Convention on Biological Diversity

Opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and entering into force in December 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international treaty under the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), for the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity and the equitable sharing of the benefits derived from the use of genetic resources.

The CBD seeks to address all threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including threats from climate change, through scientific assessments, the development of tools, incentives and processes, the transfer of technologies and good practices and the full and active involvement of relevant stakeholders including indigenous and local communities, youth, NGOs, women and the business community.

With 193 Parties, the CBD has near universal participation among countries.  Only four member states of the United Nations are not Parties to the CBD, namely: Andorra, South Sudan, United States of America and the Holy See (the Vatican).

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety is a subsidiary agreement to the CBD. It seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology. To date, 166 countries plus the European Union have ratified the Cartagena Protocol. 

The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, is another subsidiary agreement to the CBD, which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by 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, thereby contributing to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, and it will enter into force only after 50 Parties ratify it.  For an update on how many Parties have ratified the Nagoya Protocol to date see: www.cbd.int/abs/nagoya-protocol/signatories/default.shtml

The Secretariat of the CBD and its Cartagena Protocol is located in Montreal, Canada.

For more information on the CBD visit: www.cbd.int .