Biodiversity is the variation of life at all levels of biological organization.

It is both terrestrial and marine.

The ocean contains an astonishing totality of genetic species and ecosystem diversity still mostly unknown but with significant implication for food production, energy, public health, business and idustry, ecosystem services, and leisure, cultural and aesthetic value.

Threats include over-exploitation, destruction ofhabitat, introduced species, genetic pollution, and climate change.


Idenfifying ecologically and biologically significant areas in the deep and open oceans

In 2008 in Bonn, Germany, the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted a set of seven scientific criteria to identify ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) in the global marine realm (see CBD COP 9 Decision IX/20). The criteria were compiled at a CBD Expert Workshop in the Azores (see brochure).

Area-based management approaches and tools can address a multitude of threats. These tools include marine protected areas and networks, prior environmental impact assessments, improved regulation of sectoral activities, and broader ecosystem-based marine spatial planning. Using the CBD EBSA criteria to identify specific ocean areas that require enhanced protection can thus help to achieve a variety of conservation and management objectives.