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Biodiversity Advice to Government

Providing ongoing advice to government to assist in implementing biodiversity related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs- excluding CITES) and related protocols.
A meeting of the CBD Conference of the Parties

This project covers the team's work in providing on-going advice to the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), to assist the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and related agreements and protocols. In particular, the advice provided focuses on a number of key work areas under the CBD, such as:  the negotiations of the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing ; the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC); Climate Change and Biodiversity; technology transfer; and the Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI). Advice is also provided to the UK Government to meet national obligations under the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA). The main contributions and products are:

  • participation as a member of the UK delegation for CBD/FAO meetings;
  • expert input to briefings, reports and policy;
  • briefing on rising issues of interest to UK collections/research stakeholders; and,
  • co-organisation and facilitation of UK ABS stakeholder meetings.

Between 2006-2011, Kew staff were members of the UK delegations to the 8th and 9th meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD, the 7th, 8th, 9th and 11th meetings of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (covering the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, Mountains, and Drylands), Technical Expert Group meetings on Technology Transfer and Drylands, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd meetings of the Working Group on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing (ABS WGs), and FAO meetings leading to the conclusion of the ITPGRFA. An issue of particular importance to UK collections and researchers were the negotiations leading to the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit at CBD CoP10 in 2010. A member of the team was the UK delegation lead advisor at CoP10 on Access and Benefit Sharing, the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) and on Taxonomy. The Conventions team is now reviewing requirements for implementation of the Nagoya Protocol at Kew, and liaising with Defra and other stakeholders on implementation at a national, EU and international level. The team continues to follow implementation of the other relevant policy initiatives for Kew, including GSPC, taxonomy and issues under the biodiversity and climate change work programmes.

Key papers published since 2006

  • Chase, M. W., Ali, N. S., Paton, A. J., Nic Lughadha, E. and Fay, M. F. (2011). Science and development of government policy post-Global Strategy for Plant Conservation: lessons for the future. Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 166: 213 -216.
  • Ali, N. S. and Trivedi, C. (2011). Botanic Gardens and Climate Change - an audit of scientific activities at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Biodivers Conserv. 20: 295-307.
  • Williams, C. (2011). Access and Benefit Sharing under the Convention on Biological Diversity – Update from CoP 10 in Nagoya. Medicinal Plant Conservation - Newsletter of the Medicinal Plant Specialist Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. 14: 17 – 21.
  • Ali, N. (Ed.) (2010). Plant Diversity and Climate Change – a review of Kew’s scientific activities relevant to climate change. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  • Ali, N. (Ed.) (2009). Global Strategy – Kew and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Project partners and collaborators


Defra - International Biodiversity Team and UK Overseas Territories team
Joint Nature Conservation Committee
UK Plant Genetic Resources Group


Comisión Nacional para el Conocimiento y Uso de la Biodiversidad (CONABIO)

Project team

Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives

Alan Paton and Eimear Nic Lughadha

Conservation, Living Collections & Estates

Natasha Ali, Colin Clubbe, Kate Davis, Ruth Eastwood, Simon Linington, Noel McGough, Paul Smith, Clare Trivedi and China Williams

Jodrell LaboratoryMonique Simmonds, other staff as appropriate