Global policies

© Filip Hrebenda, REDISCOVER Nature/EEA

  • The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a multilateral treaty guiding the global protection of biodiversity
  • The global community has agreed on a plethora of convetions, forums and commitments to cover every part of biodiversity conservation

What is the aim and role of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity?

Biodiversity loss is described alongside climate change as the most critical global environmental threat and requires a global approach for its protection. The international community agreed upon a number of conventions, treaties and plans to address biodiversity loss and specific related issues, such as the decline in migratory species. To put their goals into action, these conventions are accompanied by operational tools like the setting of targets, programmes of work, trade permits and certificates and site listings.

At the center of global biodiversity protection stands the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a global multilateral treaty promoting the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits. As part of its post-2020 global biodiversity framework, the CBD will define a strategy for biodiversity protection and renew the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Ongoing updates on the post-2020 process can be found here.

Which other conventions are in place to support the CBD?

The CBD is complemented by further international agreements that cover specific species or habitats, such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). Complementary instruments to these conventions as well as the intergovernmental science-policy platform for biodiversity (IPBES) expand the knowledge base on global biodiversity, made publicly available through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). The CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 has also been incorporated within the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which sets out an ambitious framework to address a range of global societal challenges.