A Commission proposal for a Council Decision (COM(93) 509 of 22.12.1992) concerns the conclusion of the Convention on Biological Diversity, signed at Rio in June 1992. It is proposed that Convention be approved on behalf of the European Economic Community and ratified by the Community and Member States. The date at which ratification must be completed is not yet established. The objectives of the Convention are the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources (sharing of benefits includes appropriate access to genetic resources, appropriate transfer of relevant technologies, taking into account all rights over these resources and rights to technologies, and access to appropriate funding). To these ends, the Contracting Parties agree to cooperate as far as possible, directly or through the competent international organizations. In accordance with their conditions and capabilities, each shall develop or adapt national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and integrate these into their relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral policies Each Party will identify components of biological diversity important from the point of view of conservation and sustainable use (an indicative list of categories is annexed to the Convention) and monitor these components by sampling and other techniques, paying particular attention to those requiring urgent conservation measures and those offering the greatest potential for sustainable use. Processes and categories of activities likely to have significant adverse impacts will also be identified and their effects monitored. The Contracting Parties will maintain and organize data derived from the identification and monitoring activities. Taking into account the special needs of developing countries, the Contracting Parties shall establish scientific and technical education and training programmes in measures for identification, conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and its components. At the same time they shall promote and encourage research contributing to conservation and sustainable use and promote scientific advances in biological diversity research and cooperate in their use. Access to and transfer of technology are essential for the attainment of the objectives of the Convention. Each Contracting Party, recognizing that technology includes biotechnology, undertakes to provide and/or facilitate access to and transfer of relevant technologies or those that make use of genetic resources and do not cause significant damage to the environment. Contracting Parties shall facilitate the exchange of information from all publicly available sources. This is to include the exchange of results of technical, scientific and socioeconomic research, as well as information on training and surveying programmes, specialized knowledge, and indigenous and traditional knowledge. A Conference of the Parties, at its first meeting, shall determine how to establish a clearing-house mechanism to promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation. The Convention also establishes a subsidiary body for the provision of scientific, technical and technological advice to the Conference of the Parties. It is open to participation by all the Parties and shall report regularly to the Conference on all aspects of its work. It shall provide scientific and technical assessments of the status of biological diversity, prepare scientific assessments of the effects of measures taken, identify innovative and efficient and state-of-the-art technologies and know-how relating to the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and advise on the ways and means of promoting development and/or transferring technologies. The body shall also provide advice on relevant scientific programmes and international cooperation in RTD, and respond to scientific, technical, technological and methodological questions. Each Contracting Party is to provide, within its capabilities, financial support and incentives in respect of national activities intended to achieve the objectives of the Convention, in accordance with its national plans, priorities and programmes. Apart from the above, the Articles of the Convention deal with a number of other subjects, including in-situ and ex-situ conservation, public education and awareness, impact assessment and the minimizing of adverse impacts, access to genetic resources, the handling of biotechnology and the distribution of its benefits, financial mechanisms, relationship with other conventions, the constitution of the Conference of the Parties and of a Conference Secretariat, reports, settlement of disputes, adoption of protocols, ratification and entry into force, financial interim arrangements, and other matters.