|United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity|
Principles and Objectives
The UNCBD focuses on seven thematic programs: 1) agricultural biodiversity; 2) biodiversity of inland waters; 3) biodiversity of dry and subhumid lands; 4) forest biodiversity; 5) marine and coastal biodiversity; 6) mountain biodiversity; and 7) island biodiversity. It also includes among its concerns relevant issues that cut across the seven programs, e.g., plant conservation, invasive alien species, intellectual property rights, traditional knowledge, biosafety, access to genetic resources, and taxonomy. The Convention also recognizes the unique situation of developing countries that require financial and technical assistance to enable them to comply with their treaty obligations. Thus, biodiversity-related activities are funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
An adjunct agreement to the UNCBD is the Cartagena Protocol. It provides for the parties’ obligations on the transboundary movement of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Specifically, the protocol aims to contribute to ensuring an adequate level of protection in the field of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity taking also into account risks to human health, focusing on transboundary movement).
The Philippines ratified the UNCBD on October 8, 1993 and ratified the Cartagena Protocol on August 14, 2006, the latter entering into force on January 8, 2007.
The parties’ obligations are also classified into in-situ and ex-situ conservation. In-situ conservation refers to the conservation of ecosystems and natural habitats and the maintenance and recovery of viable populations of species in their natural surroundings and, in the case of domesticated or cultivated species, in the surroundings where they have developed their distinctive properties. Under this category falls the obligation to establish a system of protected areas or areas where special measures need to be taken to conserve biological diversity. In the Philippines, this obligation is met with the enactment and implementation of the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Law or Republic Act No. 7586.
Ex-situ conservation, on the other hand, is the conservation of components of biological diversity outside their natural habitats. Under this category falls the obligation to establish and maintain facilities for ex-situ conservation and research, the adoption of measures for the recovery and rehabilitation of threatened species and their reintroduction to their natural habitat, and the regulation and management of the collection of biological resources from natural habitats, or bioprospecting.
The Philippines has ten obligations under the UNCBD: