The United Nations Convention on Biodiversity strives for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components. Special attention is devoted to the fair and equitable distribution of the benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. Furthermore, it strives for access to genetic resources to take into account the rights over these sources. Adapted transfer of technology and the importance of traditional knowledge are important for Least Developed Countries. In 2002, at the meeting of Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity, the decision was taken to significantly reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010.

For Belgium, the FPS Health, Food Safety and Environment contributed approximately EUR 95,000 to the UNCBD in 2001 as a voluntary contribution for the operations of the Permanent Secretariat. Since 2002, the DGD has contributed approximately the same amount to the Convention’s Secretariat. Due to the entry into force of the protocol between the federal government and the regional and community governments, the federal contribution has decreased to 30% of this amount, plus a safety margin of 5% for exchange rate fluctuations.

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is the Belgian National Focal Point for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the centre for information exchange on biodiversity Clearing House Mechanism (CHM) [1] and the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). It is also a founding member of the Consortium of Scientific Partners on Biodiversity whose objective is to reinforce the capacities of developing countries in terms of biodiversity.

The DGD and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences began working together in 1999 as the result of a request for assistance from the Democratic Republic of the Congo regarding the CHM. This project, specifically aimed at African countries, provided a training course on developing websites for the focal points and the CHM webmasters.

The new 2014-2023 strategy of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences aims to achieve the general objective of “reinforcing the scientific and technical capacities necessary to implement the Convention on Biological diversity and its Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 more effectively so as to contribute to poverty reduction and sustainable development throughout the world”.

In addition to these activities focused on the South, the DGD, in association with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, organises training sessions at the DGD to arrive at a better transversal approach to the environment, more specifically improved protection for biodiversity, in Belgian Development Cooperation’s programmes and projects.

[1] The CHM, an instrument of the CBD, is a global network that facilitates the exchange of information and cooperation between countries.