About the Convention

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), is a multilateral treaty which aim to promote conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.

The CBD was adopted on 22 May 1992 and entered into force on 29 December 1993. There are currently 193 parties to the Convention

Three protocols have been adopted under the Convention: the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Extraordinary Meeting of the COP, January 2000, Montreal, Canada); the Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Cartagena Protocol COP/MOP 5, October 2010, Nagoya, Japan); and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) (COP 10, October 2010, Nagoya).

The implementation of the Convention at international level depends on the combined efforts of the world's nations. The Convention has created a global forums of meetings where governments, non-governmental organizations, academics, the private sector and other interested groups or individuals share ideas and compare strategies.

 The Convention's ultimate authority is the Conference of the Parties (COP), consisting of all governments (and regional economic integration organizations) that have ratified the treaty. This governing body reviews progress under the Convention, identifies new priorities, and sets work plans for members. The COP can also make amendments to the Convention, create expert advisory bodies, review progress reports by member nations, and collaborate with other international organizations and agreements.


 The Conference of the Parties can rely on expertise and support from several other bodies that are established by the Convention:


  1. The Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA). The SBSTTA is a committee composed of experts from member governments competent in relevant fields. It plays a key role in making recommendations to the COP on scientific and technical issues.
  2. The Clearing House Mechanism. This Internet-based network promotes technical and scientific cooperation and the exchange of information.
  3. The Secretariat. Based in Montreal, it is linked to United Nations Environment Programme. Its main functions are to organize meetings, draft documents, assist member governments in the implementation of the programme of work, coordinate with other international organizations, and collect and disseminate information. In addition, the COP establishes ad hoc committees or mechanisms as it sees fit. For example, it created a Working Group on Biosafety that met from 1996 to 1999 and a Working Group on the knowledge of indigenous and local communities
  4. Thematic programmes and "cross-cutting" issues


The Convention's members regularly share ideas on best practices and policies for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity with an ecosystem approach. They look at how to deal with biodiversity concerns during development planning, how to promote transboundary cooperation, and how to involve indigenous peoples and local communities in ecosystem management. The Conference of the Parties has launched a number of thematic programmes covering the biodiversity of inland waters, forests, marine and coastal areas, drylands, and agricultural lands. Cross-cutting issues are also addressed on matters such as the control of alien invasive species, strengthening the capacity of member countries in taxonomy, and the development of indicators of biodiversity loss.


 Financial and technical support

When the Convention was adopted, developing countries emphasized that their ability to take national actions to achieve global biodiversity benefits would depend on financial and technical assistance. Thus, bilateral and multilateral support for capacity building and for investing in projects and programmes is essential for enabling developing countries to meet the Convention's objectives.

Convention-related activities by developing countries are eligible for support from the financial mechanism of the Convention: the Global Environment Facility (GEF). GEF projects, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, help forge international cooperation and finance actions to address four critical threats to the global environment: biodiversity loss, climate change, depletion of the ozone layer and degradation of international waters. By the end of 1999, the GEF had contributed nearly $ 1 billion for biodiversity projects in more than 120 countries.


Focal Point

Tanzania ratified the conversion on biological diversity in 1996. The Vice President’s Office, Division of Environment is the National Focal Point for the Convention.

The National CBD Focal person is Mrs. Esther Makwaia, Assistant Director of Environment responsible for Biodiversity Conservation. Email: esther.makwaia@vpo.go.tz