Biodiversity and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms, including the diversity of ecosystems, within and between species. Scientists have so far described some 1.8 million species, but the total number that exist is being estimated as anything between 8 and 20 million. Birds, with 10,000 described species, are the best-known and best-researched taxon.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), agreed upon at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, entered into force in 1993. It is a global treaty with three objectives:
- the conservation of biological diversity
- the sustainable use of biological diversity and
- the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources.
The Convention has been ratified by 187 countries and works through a Conference of the Parties, a scientific and technical advisory body, a Clearing-House Mechanism and a Secretariat based in Montreal, Canada. It has developed work programmes on a variety of subjects, including the major ecosystems of the world and cross-cutting issues such as invasive alien species, taxonomy, indigenous knowledge on biodiversity, and environmental impact assessment. For details, see the CBD's web site.
BirdLife and the CBD
The CBD is committed to conservation of biodiversity in the context of sustainable development. Thus, the mission of BirdLife mirrors the aim of the Convention. Birds are excellent indicators for the status and trends of biodiversity – that is the reason why BirdLife data on threatened species and Important Bird Areas as well as Endemic Bird Areas are of major significance for the implementation of the Convention. BirdLife has been working with the CBD for many years, through the Conference of the Parties, the Scientific and technical advisory body and the Secretariat. In 2003, BirdLife has become an International Thematic Focal Point to the Clearing-House mechanism.
The implementation of the CBD happens mostly on the national level. Many BirdLife Partners have contributed to the development and the implementation of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), the main mechanism for implementing the CBD nationally. Some Partners have developed action plans for threatened species which are part of the NBSAP; in other countries, the Important Bird Areas form part of the network of important sites for biodiversity identifed under the NBSAP.
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