Convention on Biological Diversity

This page provides information on the Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992 which New Zealand ratified on 16 September 1993 and the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety which New Zealand ratified on 24 February 2005.

About the Convention on Biological Diversity

The 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aims to:

  • conserve biological diversity for its intrinsic value
  • provide for the sustainable use of its components
  • provide for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources.

Protocols of the CBD include the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization.

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety aims to protect biological diversity and human health from the potential risks arising from the import and export of living modified organisms (LMOs).  It was adopted by the parties to the CBD, and entered into force in 2003. New Zealand has ratified the Protocol.

LMOs include all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and also organisms produced by the fusion of cells from different taxonomic families.

A main objective of the Protocol is to provide information to importing countries to assist their decision-making when accepting imports of LMOs.

To ensure all countries have ready access to the information they need under the Protocol, an internationally-centralised web-based "Biosafety Clearing-House" mechanism has been set up. In New Zealand, the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is responsible for providing the Biosafety Clearing House with the necessary information on New Zealand decisions on LMOs, including information relating to approved exports.

For information about exporting LMOs visit the Exporting living modified organisms page on this website.

Biodiversity in New Zealand

In response to its obligations under the CBD and Cartagena Protocol, New Zealand developed the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy. The strategy takes up the challenge to halt the decline of our indigenous biodiversity – our unique plants and animals and the places they live.

Find out more

You can find further information on the CBD, its Protocols, and New Zealand’s biodiversity programme on the following websites.