Topic of the Day – United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)

United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, informally known as the Biodiversity convention is a multilateral treaty opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Reo De Janerio in 1992. It is a key document regarding sustainable development.

  • 198 countries are a party to the CBD.
  • India is also a party to the Convention. The convention is legally binding on its signatories.
  • Conference of Parties (COP) is the governing body of the convention. It is comprised of the governments that have ratified the treaty.


Three main goals of the convention.

  1. Conservation of Biological Diversity
  2. Sustainable use of the components of the Biodiversity
  3. Fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the genetic resources


The idea of CBD is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The convention affirms the following:

  1. Intrinsic value of biodiversity
  2. Biodiversity conservation as common concern of humankind
  3. Sovereign rights of States over their biological resources
  4. Responsibility of States to conserve and sustainable use their biodiversity
  5. Precautionary approach towards biodiversity conservation
  6. Vital role of local communities and women
  7. Need for provision of new and additional financial resources and access to technologies for developing countries to address biodiversity loss.


All the genetic resources, species and ecosystems are covered in the agreement. Traditional conservation efforts are linked to the economic goal of using biological resources sustainably. Set of principles are laid out for equitable and fair sharing of the benefits that arise out of the use of genetic resources, specifically 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.


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