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Convention on Biological Diversity

At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro the convention on Biological Diversity was adopted and signed up to by the majority of world leaders. This is the first treaty to provide a legal framework for the conservation of biodiversity and established three main goals: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

In 2004 EU members made a commitment to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe by 2010 and to contribute to the global commitment to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss worldwide by 2010.

In response to the Convention on Biological Diversity the UK Government published 'Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan' in 1994. This plan identified the UK's biological resources and commited to the protection of those resources, this resulted in the establishment of recovery plans for over 400 species and habitats. In 2007, a new UK list of species and habitats was created. This list contains 1149 species and 65 habitats that have been listed as priorities for conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP).

In 2002 an England Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) was created called 'Working with the grain of nature - A biodiversity strategy for England' (PDF 1.1mb). The strategy sets out a series of actions for Government and its partners to make biodiversity a fundamental consideration in a number of areas including agriculture, water and wetlands, woodland, marine and coastal management and urban areas. In 2006, two reports were published. 'Working with the grain of nature - taking it forward: Volume I' which reported on the first four years of the implementation of the England BAP and 'Working with the grain of nature - taking it forward: Volume II' which assesses the outcomes of the England BAP.

With devolution the government published 'Conserving Biodiversity, the UK Approach' which sets out the vision and approach for conserving biodiversity within the UK's devolved framework. Conserving Biodiversity, the UK Approach (PDF 317kb).

The South West Biodiversity Implementation Plan is our region's contribution to the England BAP and provides the basis for Biodiversity South West's work.