CONVENTIONS ON BIOLOGICAL
WHAT IS BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY?
Biological diversity (Biodiversity) is the
degree of variation of life forms within a
given ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet.
It is measured by two parameters:
1. Alpha diversity which represents the
no. of species in a specified area.
2. Beta diversity which represents the
turnover of species across space.
A unified view of the traditional three levels at
which biological variety has been identified
1. Species Diversity
2. Genetic Diversity
3. Ecosystem Diversity
The United Nations designated 2011-2020 as
the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity.
WHY WERE CONVENTIONS ON BIODIVERSITY
Biological diversity has become a global asset
of tremendous value to present and future
generations. So, for conservation of biological
diversity and the sustainable use of its
components conventions were created.
CONVENTIONS IN CHRONOLOGICAL
• 1971 Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
• 1973 Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
• 1979 Bonn Convention on Migratory Species
• 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
• 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic
Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA)
The RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands is
an intergovernmental treaty that provides
the framework for national action and
international cooperation for the
conservation and wise use of wetlands and
It was adopted in the Iranian city of
Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975,
and it is the only global environmental treaty
that deals with a particular ecosystem.
Increasing concern over the rapidity with which
large stretches of marshland and wetlands in
Europe were being "reclaimed" or otherwise
destroyed, with a resulting decline in numbers
of waterfowl in 1962 led to formation of Ramsar
Convention under the guidance of Prof. G.V.T.
Matthews in 2 Feb 1971 at
Ramsar of Iran. It came to force
in 1975 upon receipt by UNESCO,
the Convention Depositary.
The Convention’s mission is “the conservation
and wise use of all wetlands through
local, regional and national actions and
international cooperation, as a contribution
towards achieving sustainable development
throughout the world”.
At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the
“wise use” concept which is defined as “the
maintenance of their ecological
character, achieved through the implementation
of ecosystem approaches, within the context of
• Wetlands provide fundamental ecological services
and are regulators of water regimes and sources of
biodiversity at all levels.
• Wetlands constitute a resource of great
economic, scientific, cultural, and recreational
value for the community.
• Wetlands play a vital role in climate change
adaptation and mitigation.
• Progressive encroachment on, and loss of, wetlands
cause serious irreparable environmental damage to
the provision of ecosystem services.
• The Conference of the Contracting Parties- It
is the policy-making body of the Convention.
• The Standing Committee- It oversees
implementation between meetings of the
• Scientific & Technical Review Panel- It is the
Convention's scientific advisory body.
• The Ramsar Secretariat- The Secretariat in
Switzerland carries out the day-to-day work
of the Convention.
Contracting Parties or Member States
of the Ramsar Convention
Members have to-
1) Ensure the conservation and wise use of
wetlands it has designated as Wetlands of
2) including as far as possible the wise use of all
wetlands in national environmental planning, and
3) consulting with other Parties about
implementation of the Convention.
Today Ramsar Convention has 160 members.
India has also been a member of this
convention since 1 February 1982. Presently
it has 25 sites designated as Wetlands of
International Importance, with a surface area
of 677,131 hectares.
Some of them are-
a. Ashtamudi Wetland of Kerala
b. Bhoj Wetland of Madhya Pradesh
c. Deepor Beel of Assam
• The Conference of the Parties adopts a core
budget administered by the Ramsar
• Ramsar convention celebrates Feb 2nd as
World Wetland Day.
• By January 2008, more than 1,700 wetlands,
have been included in the Ramsar List.
• CITES or Convention on International Trade
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora is a multilateral treaty, drafted as a
result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a
meeting of members of the International
Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
• CITES entered into force on July 1, 1975.
• CITES aims to ensure that international trade
in specimens of wild animals and plants does
not threaten their survival.
Background: Asiatic Cheetah
Why we need CITES??
Annually, international wildlife trade is
estimated to be worth billions of dollars and
to include hundreds of millions of plant and
animal specimens. Because the trade crosses
borders between countries, the effort to
regulate it requires international cooperation
to safeguard certain species from over-
exploitation. CITES was conceived in the
spirit of such cooperation.
HOW CITES WORKS??
• CITES works by subjecting international trade
in specimens of selected species to certain
• The species covered by CITES are listed
in three Appendices, according to the degree
of protection they need.
• Appendix I includes species threatened with
extinction. Trade is permitted only in exceptional
circumstances. Eg; Asiatic lion
• Appendix II includes species not necessarily
threatened with extinction, but in which trade
must be controlled in order to avoid utilization
incompatible with their survival. Eg; Great White
• This Appendix contains species that are protected
in at least one country, which has asked other
CITES Parties for assistance in controlling the
trade. Eg; African civet
THE CITES SPECIES
• Roughly 5,000 species of animals and 29,000
species of plants are protected by CITES
against over-exploitation through
international trade. They are listed in the
three CITES Appendices.
• They include some whole groups, such as
primates, cetaceans (whales, dolphins and
porpoises), sea turtles, parrots, corals, cacti
• CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES(COP)- The
member States to CITES are collectively
referred to as the Conference of the Parties.
Conference of the Parties reviews the
implementation of the Convention. Its 15th
conference was held in Doha (Qatar) from
13-25 March 2010.
• STANDING COMMITTEE- It provides policy
guidance to the Secretariat concerning the
implementation of the Convention and
oversees the management of the
Secretariat's budget as well as, coordinates
and oversees, the work of other committees.
• The CITES Secretariat- It is administered
by UNEP and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.
It plays a coordinating, advisory and servicing
role in the working of the Convention.
• United Nations Environment Programme
(UNEP)- UNEP provides funds and leadership
partnership in caring for the environment by
enabling nations to improve their quality of life
without compromising that of future
generations. UNEP celebrates year 2011 as
International Year of Forests and 5th June every
year as World Environment Day.
• ANIMAL AND PLANTS COMMITTEE- Their role
is to provide technical support to decision-
making about these species. These were
established at the 6th meeting of the COP
(Ottawa, 1987) to fill gaps in biological and
other specialized knowledge regarding
species of animals and plants that are subject
to CITES trade controls.
Convention on Migratory Species
It aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and
avian migratory species throughout their
range. It is an intergovernmental treaty,
concluded under the aegis of the UNEP,
concerned with conservation of wildlife and
habitats on a global scale. It has 116 member
nations all over the world. It is based in the
UN Campus in Bonn, Germany.
Background: Spix’s Macaw
Why should migratory species be
• More at risk of becoming endangered than
non-migratory ones because their
requirements are greater;
• Not only do they need good habitat for
reproduction but also during their off-season
and all along their migratory routes.
• Many migratory species are becoming
increasingly rare due to unsustainable
CMS AIMS TO CONSERVE-
• Populations of European Bats
• Cetaceans of the Mediterranean Sea, Black
Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area
• Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North-East
Atlantic, Irish and North Seas
• Seals in the Wadden Sea
• African-Eurasian Migratory Water birds
• Albatrosses and Petrels
• Gorillas and their Habitats
Overview of CMS Bodies
• The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the
CMS decision-making. It reviews the
Convention's implementation, adopting
budgets, resolutions and
recommendations, amends Appendixes and
deciding on priorities for future CMS
• The Standing Committee (StC) provides policy
and administrative guidance between regular
meetings of the COP.
• The Scientific Council (ScC) advises the COP
and the Secretariat on scientific matters and
priorities for research and conservation.
Convention on Biological Diversity
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD),
is an international legally binding treaty
aimed for conservation of biodiversity. CBD
entered into force on 29 December 1993
through the initiative of UNEP convened Ad
Hoc Working Group of Experts on Biological
CBD created Nagoya and Cartagena Protocols.
Background: One Horned Rhinoceros
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. It entered into
force on 11 September 2003.
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
and contributing to the conservation of
biological diversity and the sustainable use of
its components. It was adopted by CBD at its
tenth meeting on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya,
AIMS OF CBD
• The conservation of biological diversity
• The sustainable use of the components of
• The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits
arising out of the utilization of genetic
• Conference Of Parties(COP)- The Conference of
the Parties is the governing body of the
Convention, and advances implementation of
the Convention through the decisions it takes at
its periodic meetings. Its 11th meeting would be
held on Oct, 2012 in India.
• Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and
Technological Advice (SBSTTA)- SBSTTA is
responsible for providing recommendations to
the COP on the technical aspects of the
implementation of the Convention. It is mainly
made up of government representatives with
expertise in relevant fields.
GOALS TO ACHIEVE BY 2020
• Address the underlying causes of biodiversity
loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across
government and society
• Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and
promote sustainable use
• Improve the status of biodiversity by
safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic
• Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and
• Enhance implementation through participatory
planning, knowledge management and capacity-
International Treaty on Plant Genetic
Resources for Food and Agriculture
The IT PGRFA is a comprehensive
international agreement which aims at
guaranteeing food security through
the conservation, exchange and sustainable
use of the world's plant genetic resources for
food and agriculture, as well as the fair and
equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.
It also recognises Farmers' Rights.
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic
Resources for Food and Agriculture was
adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the
Conference of the Food and Agriculture
Organization of the United Nations on 3
November 2001 and enforced on 29 June
The Treaty aims at-
• -recognizing the enormous contribution of
farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the
• -establishing a global system to provide
farmers, plant breeders and scientists with
access to plant genetic materials;
• -ensuring that recipients share benefits they
derive from the use of these genetic
materials with the countries where they have
THE MULTI-LATERAL SYSTEM
• The member countries agree to make their
genetic diversity and related information
about the crops stored in their gene banks
available through MLS.
• It will facilitate research, innovation and
exchange of information.
• It is the highest organ of the Treaty.
• Its basic function is to promote the full
implementation of the Treaty, including
the provision of policy guidance on the
implementation of the Treaty.
• The Governing Body holds regular sessions
at least once every two years.
GENERAL SECRETARIES AT PRESENT
RAMSAR ANADA TIEGA
CITES JOHN E. SCANLON
CMS ELIZABETH MARUMA
CBD PETER BRIDGEWATER
ITPGRFA SHAKEEL BHATTI
• ELEMENTS OF BIOTECHNOLOGY BY P.K.GUPTA