United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) - UPSC Notes

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) is a United Nations treaty that is responsible for the conservation of Biological Diversity around the world. The UNCBD is an important topic for the IAS Exam, particularly for the environment, ecology and biodiversity, and also the international relations segments.

International organisations and groupings are an important part of the International Relations section of the General Studies paper-2 in the UPSC Syllabus. International relations is a very dynamic part and is crucial for multiple papers in Prelims and Mains. Students preparing for UPSC 2020 and other Government Exams must be aware of the topic.

What is the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)?

The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, informally known as the Biodiversity Convention is a multilateral treaty opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro in 1992. It is a key document regarding sustainable development. It comes under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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  • 196 countries are a party to the CBD.
  • India is also a party to the Convention. 
  • The convention is legally binding on its signatories.
  • The Conference of Parties (COP) is the governing body of the convention. It consists of the governments that have ratified the treaty.
  • Its Secretariat is in Montreal, Canada.
  • Only two member states of the United Nations are not Parties to the CBD, namely: the USA and the Vatican.
  • In the 1992 Earth Summit, two landmark binding agreements were signed, one of them being the UNCBD. The other one was the Convention on Climate Change.
  • More than 150 countries signed the document at the Summit, and since then, over 175 nations have ratified the agreement. 

Read about Green India Mission (GIM) – National Mission for a Green India.

Goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity

The goals of the Convention are listed below:

  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. In order to implement that, the convention does the following:

1 Asserting intrinsic value of biodiversity
2 Affirming conservation of biodiversity as a common concern of population
3 Taking responsibility to conserve biodiversity in the State and that the state uses this biodiversity sustainably
4 Affirming the State to put the biological resources as the Sovereign Rights of the State.
5 Taking a precautionary approach towards conservation of biodiversity
6 Highlighting the vital role of local communities and women 
7 Supporting access to technologies for developing countries and searching for provisions for new and additional financial resources to address the biodiversity loss in the region

Click on the link to learn more about Biodiversity for UPSC 2020.

All genetic resources, species and ecosystems are covered in the agreement. Traditional conservation efforts are linked to the economic goal of using biological resources sustainably. A 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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