The Convention on Biological Diversity


Delegates at the conference hosted by the UK Government in Bonn.The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is one of the three global conventions born out of the Rio summit in 1992. Its goal is to promote a three-pronged approach to biodiversity that balances conservation with sustainable use and the sharing of economic benefits that are derived from biodiversity.


In many ways the convention has similarities with JNCC in that it works by agreeing global standards, frameworks and coordination processes to assist countries to undertake actions. Some of its more notable achievements have been the global 2010 target, the biodiversity indicator framework and the ecosystem approach.


The ninth Conference of the Parties to the CBD took place in Bonn, Germany from 19-30 May 2008. JNCC provided four staff to give technical support to the Defra-led UK delegation and staged its own side event on UK efforts to implement the Convention. Other JNCC staff were involved in other side events and meetings held on the back of the conference, which provided an excellent opportunity to experience this type of international stage first hand.


Proceedings were hectic, long and difficult, as always, but a few notable successes were achieved. A typical day for JNCC staff started with breakfast at 0715, travel to the venue for a short UK debrief at 0800, formal EU coordination 0830-1000, formal conference negotiations 1000-1300, coordination by EU expert groups 1300-1500, more formal conference proceedings 1500-1800 and then some form of informal EU or international expert group negotiations on problems that arose during the day. If you were lucky this finished by 1900 or 2000 but more normally between 2200 and 2300 and occasionally 0300 or 0400. Keeping track of the 16-strong UK delegation through this hectic and unpredictable timetable was the job of the UK office manager (JNCC’s Tasha Chick at this meeting) which has to be one of the most challenging tasks imaginable.


Since the inception of the CBD, the developed countries never manage to accelerate global implementation as much as they would like and the developing countries never receive sufficient support for implementation. Prioritisation is always impossible and last day bartering always causes a great deal of stress both between and within delegations. At Bonn this entailed trading the establishment of protected areas as a legitimate funding stream for climate change mitigation activities, for a climate change expert group to make sure all activities relating to climate change progress more quickly between Conferences of the Parties.


The other notable successes related to enhancing actions relating to marine conservation in the high seas, climate change adaptation and mitigation and applying the ecosystem approach. Steady progress was made on incentive measures, invasive alien species and scientific assessment processes including indicator frameworks and global environment assessments.


All decisions taken, and further information about the meeting and the CBD more generally, can be found at the CBD website ( 

Paul Rose
Head of Biodiversity Information Service
Tel: +44 (0) 1733 866885