Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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International policies and botanic gardens

The growing concern for the world’s environment has led to a significant advance in international cooperation on development and environment issues in recent years. As part of this, comprehensive international frameworks have been developed to guide countries in their formulation of national policies and the allocation of resources to meet development and environment goals. 

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

CITES is one of the oldest of the multilaterial environmental agreements, entering into force in 1975. It now has over 180 members, or Parties.

The Rio Conventions

The UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 led to three new international agreements:

  • the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD);
  • the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC);
  • the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). 

These three so-called Rio Conventions collaborate in a number of ways such as through a Joint Liaison Group.

Agenda 21: Programme for Action for Sustainable Development was another major achievement of UNCED.


The Millennium Development Goals

Ten years later, the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was held in Johannesburg. The WSSD evaluated progress achieved since UNCED and endorsed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were agreed by world leaders in 2000. The WSSD Plan of Implementation recognised the CBD as the key instrument for the conservation and use of biodiversity that is equitable and sustainable. 


In 2012, the UN’s Sustainable Development Summit (Rio+20) reaffirmed the international commitment to the achievement of the three objectives of the CBD and the importance of implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and its twenty Aichi targets, which were adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the CBD at their tenth meeting in Nagoya, Japan in 2010.

Many of these international frameworks are relevant for botanic gardens and provide valuable mechanisms to stimulate and guide their work globally for plant conservation.

The International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation ((2nd Edition) provides further guidance and information about international policies of relevance to botanic gardens