Regional and sectoral treaties

Nations will voluntarily restrict their sovereignty rights by consenting to be bound by interna-tional treaties when it is in their interest to do so. The evidence of global environmental inter-dependence has created incentives for collective action, and the number of multilateral envi-ronmental treaties now exceeds 150. In addition to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which takes a comprehensive approach, there are four global treaties (concluded prior to the CBD) that address specific aspects of biodiversity. These are:

Other treaties have been concluded to promote the sustainable exploitation of dwindling shared resources, such as the Whaling Convention of 1946. Codified rules on fisheries juris-diction and harvesting of living marine resources are now embodied in the global Law of the Sea Convention, in force from 1994. Although the Convention does not expressly deal with biodiversity, it regulates the introduction of species and contains a general obligation to pre-serve rare and fragile ecosystems and habitats of endangered species.

The above summary reveals that large parts of the world are covered by regional treaties, the content and rigour of which vary greatly, and that global treaties deal only with limited, if im-portant, aspects of biodiversity conservation.