The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at UNCED in 1992 by 160 countries. Ratifying countries are required to identify and monitor their genetic resources and to prepare national plans to protect their biodiversity. Obligations also include conducting environmental impact assessments, inducing public/private cooperation, encouraging training and research. For many developing countries with weak conservation laws the obligations are significant, but it is argued that much will be gained in addition from the establishment of national sovereignty over biodiversity, from increases in present incentives to conserve and use biodiversity, and from the possibility to establish laws protecting a country's biodiversity.
The traditional practices of biodiversity management have been weakened over the past few centuries. Examples are the decline of small scale traditional farming methods, mass clearance of land for single purpose uses and the technological overcapacity of modern fishing fleets compared with traditional fishing methods.