Convention on Biological Diversity

At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for "sustainable development" -- meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity. This pact among the vast majority of the world's governments sets out commitments for maintaining the world's ecological underpinnings as we go about the business of economic development. The Convention establishes three main goals:

  • the conservation of biological diversity
  • the sustainable use of its components, and
  • the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.

A guide to the Convention and the full text can be found at:

Also see overview on UK Biodiversity Framework

In 2010 the Conference of the Parties adopted a revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the 2011-2020 period.

The Strategic Plan Mission is to “Take effective and urgent action to halt the loss of biodiversity in order that by 2020 ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services, thereby securing the planet’s variety of life, and contributing to human well-being, and poverty eradication, ensuring:

    • pressures on biodiversity are reduced;
    • ecosystems are restored;
    • biological resources are sustainably used;
    • benefits arising from genetic resources are shared;
    • adequate financial resources are provided;
    • capacities are enhanced;
    • biodiversity issues and values are mainstreamed;
    • policies are effectively implemented; and,
    • decision-making is based on sound science.

It establishes 20 Targets for 2020, the so-called “Aichi Targets”.  Target 8 addresses the impacts from air pollution (and other pollution) “By 2020, pollution, including from excess nutrients, has been brought to levels that are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity.”