Implementation of the Convention on 
Biological Diversity in Belgium


A short introduction

Belgium signed the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Belgium went further by ratifying it in 1996, hence becoming a Contracting Party and agreeing to be legally bound by the terms of the Convention.

The implementation of the key articles of the Convention (Articles 6-10) in Belgium depends mainly of the competencies of the 3 regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels). These articles target general measures for conservation and sustainable use (Article 6), identification and monitoring (Article 7), in-situ and ex-situ conservation (Articles 8 and 9) and sustainable use of components of biodiversity (Article 10).

Cooperation with other countries (Article 5) is undertaken by the federal government, through its Department General for Development Cooperation, and by the regions. Research & training (Article 12), public education & awareness (Article 13) and scientific & technical cooperation (Article 18) are undertaken by all levels of power (federal, regional and communities).

Article 19 includes a proposal for a protocol (a supplementary agreement to the Convention) regulating the transfer, handling and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 29 January 2000. This protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from potential risks that may be posed by living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology. It will enter into force on 11 September 2003. The ratification process in Belgium is currently in progress. The protocol has to be ratified both at the federal, regional and community levels in order to be fully implemented.

In order to ensure national coordination of international positions, the steering committee 'Biodiversity Convention' operates since 1995 under the authority of the Co-ordinating Committee for International Environmental Policy (CCIEP), the recommendations of which are officially endorsed by the Inter-ministerial Conference for the Environment (ICE). The steering committee is composed of correspondents of relevant administrations of the Regions and of the federal government, and of experts from Belgian scientific institutions.


More information

General synthesis

A synthesis paper providing detailed information on implementation at the federal, regional and community levels was written by Dr. J. Van Goethem in 1999 and is currently being updated by the team of the Belgian CBD National Focal Point.

Who is doing what?

The following pages will help you understand the distribution of competencies regarding biodiversity and the Convention in Belgium.

For more information, you can always contact the National focal point to the Convention on Biological Diversity.


Legislation on biodiversity comes from varied sources: international agreements signed by Belgium, legislation from the European Union and national legislation, which includes legislation at the federal and regional levels.

Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety

In Belgium, different authorities have responsibilities in the field of living modified organisms (genetically modified organisms), depending on the intended use of the organisms.


As stated by Article 26, Belgium regularly provides reports on measures which it has taken for the implementation of the provisions of the CBD and their effectiveness in meeting the objectives of the Convention. The Second National Report is formulated as a questionnaire addressing the main Articles and the five thematic programmes of work of the Convention.

Thematic areas

This section is still under construction. In a near future, you will find information on Belgian implementation of thematic programmes and cross-cutting issues under the Convention. 

  • Thematic programmes
    • Agricultural biodiversity
    • Dry and sub-humid lands biodiversity
    • Forest biodiversity
    • Inland waters biodiversity
    • Marine and coastal biodiversity
  • Cross-cutting Issues
    • Access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing
    • Alien species
    • Article 8(j): traditional knowledge, innovations and practices
    • Biological diversity and tourism
    • Climate change and biological diversity
    • Economics, trade and incentives
    • Ecosystem approach
    • Global strategy for plant conservation
    • Global taxonomy initiative
    • Impact assessment, liability and redress
    • Indicators
    • Protected areas
    • Public education and awareness
    • Sustainable use of biodiversity



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Last updated  21-03-2005

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