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Biodiversity A Global Outlook

2. What are the Convention on Biological Diversity and its 2010 Biodiversity Target?

  • 2.1 What is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)?
  • 2.2 What worldwide target has been set for biodiversity?

2.1 What is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)?

The source document for this Digest states:

The Earth Summit in 1992 led to the creation of the CBD
The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 led to the creation of the CBD. Source 

Deep concern over the rapid loss of biodiversity and the realization that it plays a fundamental role in supporting human life motivated the creation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, a legally binding global treaty. Opened for signature at the Earth Summit Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entering into force in 1993, the Convention arose from an international dialogue begun a decade earlier by the World Commission on Environment and Development (known as the Brundtland Commission). The Convention is holistic, covering all aspects of biodiversity, and was the first international treaty to acknowledge the role of biodiversity in sustainable development.

Far more than simply a conservation treaty, the Convention encompasses three equally important and complementary objectives: the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. Underpinning the Convention’s three objectives is the recognition that humans, themselves exhibiting a diversity of cultures, are an integral component of ecosystems. All people and nations, whether rich or poor, share the same planet and depend upon the same storehouse of biodiversity. The near universal participation rate in the Convention—187 countries and the European Community are presently Parties—is a sign that our global society is well aware of the need to work together to ensure the survival of life on Earth.

Source & ©: CBD  Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 (2006),
Introduction, p.10-11

2.2 What worldwide target has been set for biodiversity?

The source document for this Digest states:

The 2010 Biodiversity Target

In 2002, 10 years after the entry into force of the Convention, member countries attending the sixth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention acknowledged that the rate of biodiversity loss was still accelerating and that, in order to reduce and halt this loss, threats to biodiversity must be addressed.

For these reasons, the Conference adopted a Strategic Plan, in which Parties committed themselves to a more effective and coherent implementation of the three objectives of the Convention in order 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 for the greater benefit of all life on Earth.1 This target was subsequently endorsed by the Heads of State and Government at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, providing a rallying point for the activities of other biodiversity-related conventions, major international non-governmental organizations, and the scientific community. Recently, world leaders meeting at the 2005 World Summit of the United Nations agreed to fulfill the commitments of all States to meet the 2010 target.

To assess progress in achieving the goals of the Strategic Plan and its 2010 Biodiversity Target, and to help communicate the state of this progress to the public, Parties agreed on a framework of focal areas to guide action. The seven focal areas in decision VII/30, adopted at the 2004 Conference of the Parties include:

  • Reducing the rate of loss of the components of biodiversity, including: (i) biomes, habitats and ecosystems; (ii) species and populations; and (iii) genetic diversity;
  • Promoting sustainable use of biodiversity;
  • Addressing the major threats to biodiversity, including those arising from invasive alien species, climate change, pollution, and habitat change;
  • Maintaining ecosystem integrity, and the provision of goods and services provided by biodiversity in ecosystems, in support of human well-being;
  • Protecting traditional knowledge, innovations and practices;
  • Ensuring the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources; and
  • Mobilizing financial and technical resources, especially for developing countries, in particular least developed countries and small island developing states among them, and countries with economies in transition, for implementing the Convention and the Strategic Plan.

For each of the seven focal areas of the framework, the Conference of the Parties identified indicators for assessing biodiversity status and trends, and outcome-oriented goals and targets, which act as sub-targets to the overall 2010 Biodiversity Target. Such clear, stable, long-term targets, relating to concrete outcomes, can help shape expectations and create the conditions under which all actors, whether Governments, the private sector, or civil society, have the motivation to develop solutions for meeting agreed-upon challenges. Targets also form the core of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, providing a commonly agreed focus for activities by all countries and stakeholder groups to meet the needs of the world’s poorest people. Similarly, the Kyoto Protocol is centred on meeting targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 reviews the key importance of biodiversity for human livelihoods and wellbeing (Chapter 1); provides an assessment of the current status and trends of biodiversity and of some of the key drivers of biodiversity loss (Chapter 2); reviews the progress to date in developing and implementing the Convention and its Strategic Plan (Chapter 3); and considers the prospects and challenges of meeting the 2010 Biodiversity Target (Chapter 4). Finally, key actions needed to reach the 2010 Biodiversity Target are provided in the conclusion.

Source & ©: CBD  Global Biodiversity Outlook 2 (2006),
Introduction, p.11

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