The Convention on Biological Diversity


TThe Convention on Biological Diversity provides a global legal framework for action on biodiversity. It brings together the Parties in the Conference of the Parties (COP), which is the Convention’s governing body that meets every two years, or as needed, to review progress in the implementation of the Convention, to adopt programmes of work, to achieve its objectives and provide policy guidance.

The COP is assisted by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice, (SBSTTA), and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI). SBSTTA is established under the Convention (Article 25) and is made up of government representatives with expertise in relevant fields, as well as observers from non-Party governments, the scientific community, indigenous peoples and local communities, and other relevant organizations. SBSTTA is responsible for providing recommendations to the COP on the technical and scientific aspects of the implementation of the Convention.

The Subsidiary Body on Implementation is established by the decision of the COP to undertake review of progress in implementing the Convention and identifies strategic actions to enhance implementation, including how to strengthen the means of implementation. It also addresses issues associated with the operations of the convention and the Protocols.

The COP also establishes other subsidiary bodies in the form of working groups, from time to time, with responsibility to deal with specific issues as they arise. These subsidiary bodies are characterized as “ad hoc” because they are established for a limited and specific mandate and period and are generally open for participation by all Parties as well as observers.

Working Groups that are currently operational:

Working Groups make recommendations to the COP, and, as was the case for the Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing (now defunct), may also provide a forum for negotiations of a particular instrument under the Convention.

The COP may also establish expert groups or call for the organization by the Secretariat of liaison groups, workshops and other meetings. Participants in these meetings are usually experts nominated by governments, as well as representatives of international organizations, indigenous peoples and local communities, and other bodies. The purpose of these meetings varies: expert groups may provide scientific assessments, for example, while workshops may be used for training or capacity building. Liaison groups advise the Secretariat or act as platforms for cooperation with other conventions and organizations.