Structure of the Convention

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the Convention’s governing body that meets every two years, or as needed, to review progress in the implementation of the Convention, to adopt programmes of work, to achieve its objectives, and provide policy guidance.

The COP is assisted by the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical, and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), which is made up of government representatives with expertise in relevant fields, as well as observers from non-Party governments, the scientific community, and other relevant organizations. SBSTTA is responsible for providing recommendations to the COP on the technical aspects of the implementation of the Convention. Other subsidiary bodies have been established by the COP to deal with specific issues as they arise.

These are called “ad hoc open-ended Working Groups” because they are established for a limited mandate and period of time, and because they are open to all Parties as well as the participation of observers.

  • The Working Group on Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) is currently the forum for negotiating an international regime on access and benefit sharing;
  • The Working Group on Article 8(j) addresses issues related to protection of traditional knowledge;
  • The Working Group on Protected Areas is guiding and monitoring implementation of the programme of work on protected areas;
  • The Working Group on the Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI) examines the implementation of the Convention, including national biodiversity strategies and action plans.
  • The Task Committee-ended (NHIC) for the Nagoya Protocol on ABS was established as an interim governing body for the Nagoya Protocol until the first meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, to which it will cease to exist. The first Conference of Parties was held in October 2014 at South Korea after the entry into force of this Protocol.