At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations "Sustainable Development". 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,
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.
To date 188 Countries have signed the Convention including Zambia. Article 19 of the Convention includes a supplementary agreement to the Convention regulating the transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 29 January 2000. This protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from potential risks that may be posed by living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology
Brief Background of the Convention
Preparations for a Convention on Biological Diversity were initiated by the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1987 through the establishment of an Ad Hoc Working roup of Experts on Biological Diversity which met in 1988. The Ad Hoc Working Group was followed in 1991 by an Intergovewrnmental Negotiating Committee for a Convention on Biological Diversity. The agreed text of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted by 101 Governments in Nairobi, Kenya in May 1992 and signed by 159 Governments and the European Union at the Inited Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. The Convention entered into force on 29th December 1993 and the first meeting of the Conference of Parties was held in Nassau, Bahamas, in November - December 1994.
The broad scope of the convention is illustrated in its Article 1, Objectives, which states:
The objectives of this Convention, to be pursued in accordance with its relevant provisions, are the Conservation of Biological Diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding.
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