The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was opened for signature at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development on June 5, 1992. Canada was the first industrialized country to sign and ratify the CBD, affixing its signature on June 11 and ratification on December 4 of the same year. The Convention came into force on December 29, 1993. There are presently 193 Parties to the CBD, 192 member states and the European Community.
The official text of the Convention is available through the CBD Clearing-House Mechanism.
In 1993 an Interim Secretariat was established in Geneva, Switzerland until a successful bid was made by the Government of Canada and the Province of Québec to relocate the Secretariat to Montreal, Québec in 1996, where it presently remains.
The Convention is headed by Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias who was appointed as the Executive Secretary in 2012. Mr. Dias is preceded as Executive Secretary by Ahmed Djoghlaf (2005-2012), Hamdallah Zedan (1998- 2005), Calestous Juma (1995-1998) and Angela Cropper (1993-1995).
The functions of the Secretariat as outlined in Article 24 of the Convention are: