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Conventions and Policies

The Kew collections, the breadth of horticultural, educational and scientific expertise of its staff, the extensive research base, and worldwide network, form a unique resource for the UK Government and our partners.

This resource also carries responsibilities in the national and international policy arena. Government looks to Kew for advice in areas concerning access to, and the use and management of, plant resources - in all their different forms. The partner countries that we work with expect Kew to operate best practice and take note of the priorities for conservation and sustainable use set in their laws and policies. The international framework for these actions lies within the major United Nations environment conventions, and prime among these are the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The Conventions and Policies Science Team concentrates on tracking the major conventions, identifying initiatives relevant to Kew and our partners, briefing Kew staff, advising government, and working to further refine the internal policies and procedures that allow Kew to fulfil its obligations in areas such as access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing. An important aspect of our work is to develop tools which assist the UK and other countries with implementing these conventions – this is the key aim of our research.

The group is a small team concentrated in the Conventions and Policy Section (CAPS) of the Directorate for Conservation, Living Collections and Estates, with strong links to the Herbarium and the Jodrell Laboratory, Defra, other European Union Member States, the European Commission and the Convention Secretariats. The mixture of legally trained and scientific staff in CAPS provides the core resource that links Kew with the international environmental policy community.