From Rio to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) popularly known as the Earth Summit was held 3-14 June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Conference was attended by 172 Governments, 108 of which were represented by heads of State or Government. 2,400 representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were also present. Among its outcomes were three international Conventions, each of which is aimed at contributing towards the sustainable development goals outlined in Agenda 21. These were:
- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC): The objective of the UNFCCC is to stabilize atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that will prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. The intent is for this to be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, and to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner. www.unfccc.int
- The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD): The UNCCD seeks to combat desertification and to mitigate the effects of drought in countries experiencing serious drought and/or desertification, particularly in Africa. It aims to achieve this through effective action at all levels supported by international cooperation and partnership arrangements thus contributing to sustainable development in affected areas. Its focus is on improved productivity of land and the rehabilitation, conservation and sustainable management of land and water resources. www.unccd.int
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): The CBD has three main objectives i.e.conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding. The CBD has a number of other treaties under it as shown in Figure 1.