Biology Reference
In-Depth Information
Specially Protected Areas (1982) (Van Heijnsbergen 1997 : 261). The classic
example is the report of the UN Conference on the Human Environment (1973)
that refers throughout Recommendations 35 to 45 to the need to preserve the
world's genetic resources, yet in Recommendation 40 uses the term 'genetic diver-
sity', where the subject to be protected is referred to as 'genetic resources' (Van
Heijnsbergen 1997 ). The International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources
(FAO 1983 ) refers to genes as part of 'genetic diversity'. In this context, Bergman
(1986), as quoted in Van Heijnsbergen ( 1997 ), observes that biological diversity
includes much more than genetic diversity.
In this section we will emphasize those issues that were suspended at the time
of the final adoption of the CBD, and have since failed to be successfully resolved.
There are three important definitions with regard to biological diversity, biological
resources and genetic material.
The concept of biological diversity initially arose in a resolution of the IUCN's
General Assembly in 1984, the main purpose of which was to address the con-
servation of wild genetic resources (Van Heijnsbergen 1997 ). A commentary on
this from the IUCN (Miller et al. 1984 ) argues that 'biological diversity covers all
life forms, with their manifold variety, which occur on earth'. Almost the same
concept of biological diversity was articulated at the 17th session of the General
Assembly of IUCN and 17th technical meeting at San José, Costa Rica in 1988.
The first draft of what would later become the Convention on Biological Diversity
provided the definition:
[B]iodiversity comprises the sum total of plant and animal species in the world today and
exists at the level of individuals, populations, species, communities and ecosystems and
applies to the genetic diversity they contain and to their relationships and interactions
between them.
However, the final draft produced by the 17th meeting was more limited in its
approach:
Biological diversity means the genetic variation represented by the aggregate of species
living in the world, or in respect of any State or area, by the aggregate of indigenous spe-
cies living in the territory of that State (Van Heijnsbergen 1997 : 198).
The June 1989 draft of the biological diversity treaty returned to species diver-
sity and presented a very broad concept of biological diversity. This approach was
consistently present until the Nairobi conference for the adoption of the agreed
text of the Convention on Biological Diversity in February 1992 (UNEP 1992 ).
At this conference the distinction between variety and variability was dropped and
only variability remained (Van Heijnsbergen 1997 ).
Article 2 of the CBD, Use of Terms, states that:
For the purposes of this Convention:
' Biological diversity ' means the variability among living organisms from all sources
including, inter alia , terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological
complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species
and of ecosystems.
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