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Folder Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), or, short, the Convention, is an intergovernmental agreement with three main objectives:
1) the conservation of biological diversity,
2) the sustainable use of its components,
3) the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.

The Convention was proposed in 1992 during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Belgium signed the convention during the first day of the summit and concluded its ratification in 1996, by that becoming a Party to the Convention.

The Convention is a legally binding framework convention that advocates a flexible approach to its implementation, and leaves it to the discretion of the Parties how the decisions, reached during its biennial Conference of the Parties, should be realized.

Every Party is deemed to designate a national focal point. In our country this is the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. As a result the Belgian National Focal Point is ideally situated to provide sound scientific support to biodiversity policy.

The Convention has led to the adoption of two Protocols:

1) The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims to ensure the safe handling, transport and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity, taking also into account risks to human health. It entered into force on 11 September 2003. The Scientific Institute for Public Health ( was designated as Belgian national focal point for biosafety and for the Cartagena Protocol,

2) The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity is an international agreement which aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way. It entered into force on 12 October 2014; the Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment ( is our national focal point to the protocol.

You can find more information on the Convention and its Protocols on the web site of the Belgian Clearing House Mechanism and on the international web site of the Convention.