Glossary of terms related to the CBD


after signing the Convention, a country must ratify it, for which it often needs the approval of the parliament or other legislature. For the CBD the instrument of ratification is submitted to the UN Secretary-General in New York, who acts as the Depositary. At the date of submission the country becomes a Party to the Convention; 90 days later the Convention enters into force for that country. Presently the Convention has 188 parties (newest is Thailand on 29.01.2004). [JVG]
rational expectations
the hypothesis that decision-makers base their decisions on predictions which contain no systematic errors.
a substance used to cause a reaction, especially to detect another substance.
a term applied to pollutants which are not biodegradable or are only biodegradable with difficulty. [CUB]
recalcitrant seed
- seed that does not survive drying and freezing.
- seed that cannot withstand either drying or temperatures of less than 10 C and cannot therefore be stored for long periods as orthodox seeds can. [CUB]
reciprocal externality
these are externalities where all parties using some resource impose external costs on all others.
recombinant DNA  (r-DNA)
- any DNA molecule formed by joining DNA segments from different sources.
- a strand of DNA synthesised in the laboratory by splicing together selected parts of DNA strands from different organic species, or by adding a selected part to an existing DNA strand. [CUB]
recombinant DNA technology
the process of excising segments of DNA from one species of organism and inserting them into the DNA of another species. [CUB]
recommendation of the SBSTTA
the SBSTTA delivers its advice to the COP in the form of recommendations that are numbered sequentially.
recurrent selection
a breeding method aimed at increasing the frequency of favourable genes through repeated cycles of selection and selected crossing of individuals. [CUB]
red tide
reddish-brown discoloring of surface water from blooming populations of dinoflagellate phytoplankton; since long associated with nutrient pollution.
reef ball
a designed artificial reef used to restore ailing coral reefs and to create new fishing and scuba diving sites.
More info: What's a Reef Ball?
regional economic integration organisation
an organisation constituted by sovereign States of a given region, to which its member States have transferred competence in respect of matters governed by this Convention and which has been duly authorised, in accordance with its internal procedures, to sign, ratify, accept, approve or accede to it. [CBD]
regional group
based on the tradition of the UN, Parties are organised into five regional groups. These groups are: Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC) and the Western Europe and Others Group (WEOG). The "others" in WEOG include Australia, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the US, but not Japan, which is in the Asian Group.
The regional groups meet privately to discuss issues and nominate bureau members and other officials.
a Party may accept a decision of the COP while noting its reservations and concerns for the record. However, no reservations may be made to the Convention itself or to the Protocol.
unlike decisions, resolutions do not generally become part of the formal body of decisions that guide the work of the COP. They are directives that guide, opinions rather than permanent legal acts.
a substance or place required by an organism for its growth, maintenance and reproduction.
the return of an ecosystem or habitat to its original community structure, natural complement of species, and natural functions.
revealed preference approach
these approaches, which include derived demand approaches and indirect valuation methods, infer values from data on behavioural changes in actual markets related in some way to the missing market(s.) [GBA]
entitlements assured by custom, law or property.
Rio Earth Summit
see: 'Earth Summit', Rio de Janeiro.
the outcome of an action is said to involve risk where: the set of all possible outcomes of that action is known, and where the probability distribution of all possible outcomes is also known. [GBA]
risk assessment
- the use of scientific data to identify and characterize the nature and magnitude of hazards, if any, and the likelihood of hazards being realized. [BSWG/2/5: Report of Panel of Experts on Biosafety]
- the measure to estimate what harm might be caused, how likely it would be to occur and the scale of the estimated damage. [BSWG/2/5: UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology]
risk management
- the implementation of the most appropriate measures to minimize the identified risks and mitigate their effects while achieving the anticipated results. [BSWG/2/5: Report of Panel of Experts on Biosafety]
- refers to the ways that appropriate methods are applied in order to minimize risks and should not be determined by and in proportion to the results of the risk/safety analysis. It does not include broader considerations of a political, socio-economic, value and/or ethical nature. [BSWG/2/5: Safety Considerations for Biotechnology Scale-up of Crop Plants OECD 1993]
- the measures to ensure that the production and handling of an organism is safe. [BSWG/2/5: UNEP International Technical Guidelines for Safety in Biotechnology]
a molecule with similar structure to DNA that is involved in a number of cell activities, especially protein synthesis. Some viruses have RNA as their genetic material. [CUB]
rules of procedure
the rules that govern the proceedings of the COP, including the procedures for decision-making and participation.


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