A hard instrument goes soft: the implications of the Convention on Biological Diversity's current trajectory
AbstractThe relentless loss of biological diversity, which will have a direct impact on human society and degrade ecosystem buffers against the extremes of climate perturbation, requires a strong global governance response. Of the numerous international legal instruments relating to the protection of nature, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the most comprehensive. This paper examines its current emphasis on global biodiversity targets to extend our understanding of its trajectory, and its evolving nature as an instrument of global governance. We review CBD documents, and early examinations of its emergent character, in the context of the distinction between hard and soft law approaches, and combine analysis on the issue of targets from the literature on development, climate change and conservation biology. We emphasise that the CBD, created as a hard law instrument with a framework character, had the clear facility to develop subsidiary hard law instruments in the form of protocols but has not significantly followed this route.
CitationHarrop, S.R. & Pritchard, D.J. (2011) 'A hard instrument goes soft: The implications of the Convention on Biological Diversity's current trajectory', Global Environmental Change, 21(2), pp.474-480
JournalGlobal Environmental Change