Context & Application


The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), adopted by world leaders at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, is an integral part of the global strategy for sustainable development.  The three main objectives of the Convention are:

  1. The conservation of biodiversity
  2. The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity
  3. The fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of its genetic resources[1]

At the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties, held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japanin October 2010, signatories to the CBD adopted a Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the 2011-2020 period, with a new set of ambitious targets known collectively as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

The signatories of this meeting agreed to translate this overarching international framework into national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs) within two years.  Additionally, the meeting decided that the fifth national reports, due by 31 March 2014, should focus on the implementation of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan and progress achieved towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

National and regional Red Lists are an essential tool in establishing a baseline measure of the status of biodiversity, from which the causes of biodiversity loss can be identified and conservation priorities can be established, informing the development of NBSAPs.  Ongoing and regular Red List updates enable the development of Red List indices, highlighting the overall trends in the status of species – a clear indicator by which to measure progress towards halting biodiversity loss, part of the 2011-2020 Strategic Plan’s mission.

Red Lists can be used to help raise awareness of threatened species throughout a country, with conservation practitioners, policy makers, governments and the general public.  The data compiled for Red List assessments also often highlight important gaps in knowledge and understanding, whilst the effects of collating, often sparse, biodiversity data into a single national or regional databank generates a greater awareness and understanding of native species.

[1] Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2005). Handbook of the Convention on Biological Diversity Including its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, 3rd edition, (Montreal,Canada).