Sustainable Use of Biodiversity


The Secretariat has been working on establishing a framework of key factors, conditions and actions to be considered or taken by Governments, resource managers and stakeholders, in an effort to optimize the uses of biological resources.

In particular, the Secretariat held three regional workshops with the objective of identifying a set of principles and guidelines, to assist Parties and Governments in exploring ways and means and in developing modalities to use biological diversity sustainably.

  • The first workshop, held in Maputo, Mozambique, from 24 to 27 September 2001, focused on key elements relating to the sustainable use of dryland resources and wildlife utilization in Africa.
  • The second workshop was held in Hanoi, Vietnam, from 9 to 12 January 2002, and focused on forest biological diversity, including timber and non-wood forest products, with reference to agricultural biological diversity.
  • The third workshop was held in Salinas, Ecuador, from 18 to 21 February 2002, and focused on marine and freshwater fisheries.

In order to synthesize the outcomes of the three workshops, integrate different views and regional differences and develop a final set of practical principles and operational guidelines, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention at its sixth meeting requested that a fourth final workshop be organized (decision VI/13)

A fourth open-ended workshop for the sustainable use of biological diversity was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 6 to 8 May 2003.

The Fourth Workshop developed a set of 14 concrete and wide-ranging principles and guidelines for the sustainable use of biological diversity. While such guidelines are applicable to different management levels and to distinct sectors, they are also flexible and adaptable to different local realities and adjustable to specific ecosystems, pursuant to the ecosystem approach. This set of draft guidelines was submitted to the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice of the Convention for its consideration at its ninth session in November 2003 and subsequently forwarded to the seventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties for adoption (see Decision VII/12).

Workshops, organized under the aegis of the Convention, could count on the input and participation of many organizations with a strong interest in defining a common theoretical and practical basis for the sustainable use of biological resources. The participation of conventions and organizations such as, inter alia CITES, Ramsar, FAO, ITTO, IUCN and WWF widens the relevance of the guidelines to a variety of domains, activities and sectors, and places this effort within the general context of sustainable development in an attempt to find a common and agreed "code" for conducting and balancing human consumption needs with ecosystems' conservation.

Principles and guidelines are identified through the expertise of participants attending the workshops as well as through the scrutiny of best practices and lessons learned from case-studies and experiences in the field. To facilitate the search for significant examples, which could contribute to the identification of sustainable use principles and guidelines, the Secretariat continues to compile case studies, submitted by Governments and organizations, on the sustainable use of biological diversity. Case studies are regularly made available through the clearing-house mechanism of the Convention.