Web Niche on Biodiversity & Conservation Biology

Welcome to my Web Niche on Biodiversity and Conservation Biology (BCB) the department I work in at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town. Biodiversity is the variety of forms of living organisms at various levels and Conservation Biology is the study of how we can prevent species and habitats being lost while still maintaining sustainable human societies. I teach Landscape Ecology and Ecological Informatics.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Revisiting the Convention on Biodiversity: Highlights

The Convention on Biodiversity was a tangible product of the Rio Earth Summit.

The objective of this convention are "are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, 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".

My Highlights of the Convention include that each signature should:

(a) Develop national strategies, plans or programmes for the
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity or adapt for this purpose existing strategies, plans or programmes which shall reflect, inter alia, the measures set out in this Convention relevant to the Contracting Party concerned;

(b) Integrate, as far as possible and as appropriate, the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral or
cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies;

(c) Identify components of biological diversity important for its conservation and sustainable use having regard to the indicative list of categories set down in Annex I of Convention;

(d) Monitor, through sampling and other techniques, the components of biological diversity identified pursuant to subparagraph paying particular attention to those requiring urgent conservation measures and those which offer the greatest potential for sustainable use;

(e) Identify processes and categories of activities which have or are likely to have significant adverse impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and monitor their effects through sampling and other techniques;

(f) Maintain and organize, by any mechanism data, derived from identification and monitoring activities;

(g) Establish a system of protected areas or areas where specialmeasures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity. Develop,where necessary, guidelines for the selection, establishment and management of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity;

(h) Regulate or manage biological resources important for the conservation of biological diversity whether within or outside protected areas, with a view to ensuring their conservation and sustainable use;

(i) Promote the protection of ecosystems, natural habitats and the maintenance of viable populations of species in natural surroundings;

(j) Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas;

(k) Rehabilitate and restore degraded ecosystems and promote the recovery of threatened species, inter alia, through the development and implementation of plans or other management strategies;

(l) Establish or maintain means to regulate, manage or control the risks associated with the use and release of living modified organisms resulting from biotechnology which are likely to have adverse environmental impacts that could affect the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, taking also into account the risks to human health;

(m) Prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species;

(n) Endeavour to provide the conditions needed for compatibility between present uses and the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components;

(o) Subject to its national legislation, respect, preserve and maintain knowledge, innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices and encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge,innovations and practices;

(p) Develop or maintain necessary legislation and/or other regulatory provisions for the protection of threatened species and populations;

(q) Where a significant adverse effect on biological diversity has been determined pursuant to Article 7, regulate or manage the relevant processes and categories of activities;

(r) Cooperate in providing financial and other support for in-situ conservation outlined above, particularly to developing countries;

(s) Adopt measures for the ex-situ conservation of components of biological diversity, preferably in the country of origin of such components;

(t) Establish and maintain facilities for ex-situ conservation of and research on plants, animals and micro- organisms, preferably in the country of origin of genetic resources;

(u) Adopt measures for the recovery and rehabilitation of threatened species and for their reintroduction into their natural habitats under appropriate conditions;

(v) Regulate and manage collection of biological resources from natural habitats for ex-situ conservation purposes so as not to threaten ecosystems and in-situ populations of species, except where special temporary ex-situ measures are required;

(x) Cooperate in providing financial and other support for ex-situ conservation outlined above and in the establishment and maintenance of ex-situ conservation facilities in developing countries.

Link to the full text of the Covention on Biodiversity: