Legislation

Conservation and Sustainable Use

Biological diversity is the key to the ability of our planet to provide current and future generations with essential ecological goods and services. The loss of biodiversity threatens our food supplies, opportunities for recreation and tourism, sources of material goods, medicines and energy. It additionally interferes with ecological functions currently sustaining daily life and economic development. Continued population growth and unsustainable patterns of consumption stand to exacerbate losses of biological diversity. The need to address the threats to biological diversity has not gone unnoticed by the world community.
 
The Convention on Biological Diversity was opened for signature at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992. It came into force at the end of 1993 and has now been ratified by the overwhelming majority of countries. For these Parties to the Convention, it is now a legally binding commitment to conserve biological diversity, to sustainably use its components, and to equitably share the benefits arising from its use. One of the tools used by the Parties to facilitate implementation of the provisions of the Convention are thematic programmes of work. The Parties have initiated five such thematic programmes of work thus far, one exclusively dedicated to the conservation and sustainable use of marine and coastal biological diversity.
 
Under the Marine and Coastal Programme of Work, countries have identified a number of issues in need of critical attention, which have become the key programme elements of the work programme: integrated marine and coastal area management; marine and coastal living resources; marine and coastal protected areas; mariculture; and alien species and genotypes. Within these programme elements, the Parties have identified operational objectives and further developed specific activities to facilitate implementation of the provisions of the Convention at the national, regional and global levels.

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