Structures of the CBD

CBD structures its work through bodies with allocated tasks which meet in different frequency. The most important bodies of the CBD are:

Conference of the Parties (COP)

Conference of the Parties (COP)The assembly of representatives of all Parties to the CBD is the highest decision making body. It assembles every two years, takes decisions and decides on work programmes, allocates the budget and requests all other CBD bodies to fulfill their specific tasks. COP meetings are open for observers. A state hosting a COP is especially responsible for supporting the CBD until the next COP, holding the so called COP presidency. Member states have voting rights in COP meetings while observers from NGOs, indigenous organizations, business, non-member states and UN-organizations can participate without a voting right.COP meetings so far took place in:  

COP 1    Nassau/Bahamas (1994)
COP 2    Jakarta/Indonesia (1995)
COP 3    Buenos Aires/Argentina (1996)
COP 4    Bratislava/Slowakia (1998)
COP 5    Nairobi/Kenya (2000)
COP 6    Den Haag/The Netherlands (2002)
COP 7    Kuala Lumpur/Malaysia (2004)
COP 8    Curitiba/Brasil (2006)
COP 9    Bonn/Germany (2008)
COP10   Aichi-Nagoya/Japan (2010)
COP11   Hyderabad/India (2012)
COP 12 Pyoengchang/Korea (2014)
COP 13 Cancun/Meico (2016)
COP 14 Sharm el Sheikh/Egypt (2018)


Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice - SBSTTA

As in COP representatives of all Parties are asked to participate. SBSTTA is a permanent body of the CBD and the meetings are open for observers. SBSTTA meetings are normally scheduled twice between COP meetings. They prepare COP decisions under a scientific and technical perspective.

Subsidiary Body on Implementation - SBI

The SBI is a permanent political subsidiary body of the CBD and as in COP representatives of all Parties are asked to participate. SBI meetings are open for observers and are normally scheduled once between COP meetings. They prepare COP decisions under the perspective of implementation.



The CBD-Secretariat is located in Montreal and is responsible for administrative tasks. It prepares and documents the meetings of all CBD bodies and keeps up the CBD CHM. The secretariat is headed by an executive secretary who represents the CBD, e.g. in meetings of the United Nations General Assembly or other environmental conventions.

Working Groups

COP can install permanent or time-limited working groups with a specific mandate, e.g. the review of implementation of the CBD, the implementation of certain articles or the development of a specific work programme. COP gives these working groups certain tasks and they report back about progress at the following COP. The meetings are open for representatives of all member states as well as observers.

Ad Hoc Technical Expert Groups - AHTEG

If need is felt COP can install thematic expert groups with a given mandate and time horizon in order to answer specific questions. The AHTEGs report back to COP. Parties and observer organizations can nominate experts for each group which is then set up by the Secretariat in a balanced manner. Normally, such an AHTEG is composed of about 40 people and the meetings are not openly accessible. AHTEGs are not permanent bodies of the CBD.

Clearing-House Mechanismus (CHM)

The Clearing-House Mechanism CHM is the central system for information, communication and cooperation of the CBD which allows access to all relevant information around the CBD. The CBD Secretariat maintains the global CHM in five UN-languages. Here all COP decisions, national biodiversity strategies and CBD publications can be downloaded. In Article 18.3 all member states agree to host a national CHM in their specific language which also informs about the national implementation of the CBD.

National implementation

The CBD accepts the sovereignty of States about their biological diversity so that member states themselves are responsible for implementation. With ratification of the CBD states obligated themselves to implement the CBD , inter alia by developing a national biodiversity strategy. In regular intervals Parties to the CBD have to report on progress in implementation via national reports. These reports are openly accessible. To support especially developing countries in implementing the CBD the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) was founded in 1991.


In order to be able to undertake the numerous tasks of implementing the Biodiversity Convention and the Climate Change Framework Convention, substantial financing is needed. For this reason, the so-called "Global Environment Facility - GEF" was established as a world-wide environmental financing instrument, whose means are administered by the World Bank. The fund is financed in regular intervals by the international community of states.