The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in the UK

Biological diversity or, as it is more commonly referred to, biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth. Biodiversity gives us our food, clean water and air. It is vital to humanity's economic and social development. The biodiversity we have today is the result of evolution over billions of years; it has been, and continues to be, shaped by natural processes and, increasingly, by the impact of humans.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 1992, and entered into force in December 1993. As the first treaty to provide a legal framework for biodiversity conservation in its entirety, the Convention established three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.


The UK Government ratified the Treaty on 3 June 1994. It has extended the Convention to a number of its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, namely: British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Jersey, Isle of Man, and St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha.


As of February 2014, the UK is one of 193 Contracting Parties, all of which are required to create and implement national strategies and action plans to conserve, protect and enhance biological diversity. They are also required to undertake action to implement the thematic work programmes on ecosystems and a range of cross-cutting issues which have been established to take forward the provisions of the Convention.


Further information and resources