In view of the importance of biodiversity (economic, environmental, scientific and medical) the urgent need for conservation of biodiversity was felt in Rio conference (1992).
The World Summit on sustainable development held in Johannesburg in August 2002 reiterated that the conservation of biodiversity was necessary for the survival of human race on this earth.
In the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), which has 42 Articles, Article 8 and 9 are about in- situ conservation and ex-situ conservation respectively. The objectives of CBD clearly stated the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources.
1. In-situ conservation:
In-situ conservation is possible through protected area systems or networks. Nearly 10,000 protected areas in different countries of the world are recognized by IUCN Commission on Parks and Protected Areas, although they vary in their effectiveness in conserving biological diversity. The Article 8 of CBD also mentions to ensure that development in areas adjacent to protected areas does not undermine the capacity of those protected areas to conserve biodiversity.
2. Ex-situ conservation:
Ex-situ conservation measures include seed banks, sperm and ova banks, plant tissue cultures, captive breeding of animals and artificial propagation of plants. Article 9 of CBD deals with ex-situ conservation. It is mentioned in Article 9 that ex-situ measures are necessary for complementing in-situ measures and each nation shall:
(a) “Adopt measures for the ex-situ conservation of components of biological diversity, preferably in the country of origin of such components;
(b) Establish and maintain facilities for ex -situ conservation of and research on plants, animals and micro-organisms, preferably in the country of origin of genetic resources;
(c) Adopt measures for the recovery and rehabilitation of threatened species and for their reintroduction into their natural habitats under appropriate conditions;
(d) Regulate and manage collection of biological resources from natural habitats for ex-situ conservation purposes so as not to threaten ecosystems and in-situ populations of species, except where special temporary ex-situ measures are required under subparagraph(c) Above; and (d) Cooperate in providing financial and other support for ex- situ conservation outlined in subparagraphs (a) to (d) above and in the establishment and maintenance of ex-situ conservation facilities in the developing countries.”
The CBD is currently one of our ‘best hopes’ and a number of countries have begun to develop and follow action plans in accordance with the articles of the Convention.