The term biodiversity entered into common usage following the adoption of the Rio Convention in 1992.
Biological diversity, or biodiversity, refers to all the natural characteristics and forms of life present on Earth. Our current biodiversity is the result of billions of years of evolution, molded by natural processes and, increasingly, human influence. It is the fabric of life, of which we humans are an integral part and on which we depend totally.
In general, when talking about biological diversity, we mean the large variety of plants, animals and microorganisms that populates the planet, but biodiversity also covers the genetic differences within individual species, such as the genetic diversity found in cultivated plants or livestock breeds. Another aspect of biodiversity is the variety of ecosystems found in deserts, forests, wetlands, mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, farmland and other environments. In every ecosystem all living beings, including humans, interact with each other and also with the air, water and earth that surrounds them.
Earth is the only place where human beings can live precisely because of the connections between these different forms of life, which interact with each other and the environment. It is biodiversity alone that makes our existence possible, thanks to the wide range of assets and services it offers us.
At the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, our political representatives agreed on a global strategy for sustainable development, able to respond to current needs and to leave future generations a viable and prosperous world.
One of the key agreements reached at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity. With this treaty, agreed upon by the vast majority of countries, governments undertook to maintain the planetary ecological equilibrium while still moving towards economic growth. The convention established three principal objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources.