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United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity

The Convention on Biological Diversity was adopted at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The convention was created in response to increased concern about sustainability (as defined in the Brundtland Report) and the importance of biological diversity. Maintaining diversity in the Oil Sands Region is important to the sustainability of the surrounding environments.

From Article 1 of the Convention:

The objectives of this Convention, to be pursued in accordance with its relevant provisions, are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over those resources and to technologies, and by appropriate funding (CBD, 2006).

See the complete convention at:

The following Canadian acts and policies are only a few of those in place to protect diversity in Canada and to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity:

Migratory Birds Convention Act (1994)

Canadian Biodiversity Strategy (1995)

Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (1995)

Canada Oceans Act (1997)

Species at Risk Act (2000)


In Alberta, biodiversity is addressed within several provincial agencies and ministries, including the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development and the Ministry of Environment. Some of the laws and policies related to biodiversity in Alberta include:

The Water Act

The Wildlife Act

Alberta Species at Risk Program

Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute




A Painted Lady butterfly. Biodiversity is a key indicator in ecosystem integrity.
Source: Katie Elser
( click to enlarge )

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