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Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was signed in 1992 at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro and ratified in 1993.

The CBD is a comprehensive, binding agreement covering the use and conservation of biodiversity. It requires countries to develop and implement strategies for sustainable use and protection of biodiversity, and provides a forum for continuing international dialogue on biodiversity-related issues through the annual conferences of the parties (COPs).

Jakarta Mandate

But the 1992 document contained no specific article on marine and coastal biodiversity. Instead the 1995 Conference of the Parties dealt with these issues in two decisions. One (II10) was a policy decision – now known as the Jakarta Mandate on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine and Coastal Biological Diversity – containing basic principles and thematic areas. These provisions were to be implemented through a multi-year programme of work described in the second decision (IV5).

The Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans are considered to have a major role to play in the promotion of the Jakarta Mandate at the regional level. The CBD already enjoys close cooperation with the Cartagena Convention in the Caribbean, the Barcelona Convention in the Mediterranean (MAP has a RAC that is mainly addressing biodiversity issues) and the Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) in the South-East Pacific.

Negotiations are under way with other regional bodies, such as the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) and the Regional Coordinating Unit for the East Asian Seas Action Plan (EAS/RCU).

The regional programmes also have much to contribute to the CBD work programme as it relates to guidelines on integrated marine and coastal area management, criteria for protected marine and coastal area establishment and management and guidelines for ecosystem evaluation, including indicators.

The CBD builds on the Law of the Sea Convention by extending protection to biodiversity located within the 12-mile limit zones areas not directly protected under the LOS provisions.