The Convention on Biological Diversity and its Protocols

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international legally binding treaty for developing national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity. The CBD opened for signature at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June and entered into force on 29 December 1993.

 The Convention has three main goals: 

     • conservation of biodiversity

     • the sustainable use of the components of biological diversity

     • fair and equal sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty governing the movements of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology from one country to another and aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health.

 It was adopted on 29 January 2000 as a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity and entered into force on 11 September 2003. 

The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress (linked to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety)

The term “liability” is normally associated with the obligation under the applicable law to provide for compensation for damage resulting from an action for which that person is deemed to be responsible. Liability and redress in the context of the Protocol concerns the question of what would happen if the transboundary movement of living modified organisms (LMOs) has caused damage. More

The issue of liability and redress for damage resulting from the transboundary movements of LMOs was one of the themes on the agenda during the negotiation of the Biosafety Protocol. The negotiators were, however, unable to reach any consensus regarding the details of a liability regime under the Protocol. The matter was, nevertheless, considered both critical and urgent. As a result, an enabling clause to that effect was included in the final text of the Protocol (Article 27). Accordingly, the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP) established an Open-ended Ad Hoc Working Group of Legal and Technical Experts on Liability and Redress to fulfil the mandate under Article 27. More

The Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety was adopted by the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 15 October 2010. In accordance with its Article 17, the Supplementary Protocol was opened for signature on 7 March 2011 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York by Parties to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. It remained open for signature until 6 March 2012. The Protocol will enter into force on the ninetieth day after the date of deposit of the 40th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession (Article 18).  

 The Nagoya Protocol 

The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources is one of the three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity.  The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding, thereby contributing to the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. 

The Nagoya Protocol was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity at its tenth meeting on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. The Nagoya Protocol will enter into force 90 days after the date of deposit of the fiftieth instrument of ratification. 

The Akwé: Kon Guidelines

Voluntary guidelines for the conduct of cultural, environmental and social impact assessments regarding developments proposed to take place on, or which are likely to impact on, sacred sites and on lands and waters traditionally occupied or used by indigenous and local communities.

The Voluntary Guidelines were named by a Mohawk term meaning “everything in creation”, so as to emphasize the holistic nature of this instrument. Indeed, the guidelines are intended to provide a collaborative framework ensuring the full involvement of indigenous and local communities in the assessment of cultural, environmental and social concerns and interests of indigenous and local communities of proposed developments. Moreover, guidance is provided on how to take into account traditional knowledge, innovations and practices as part of the
impact-assessment processes and promote the use of appropriate technologies. More