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All living organisms; plants, animals and microbes, carry genetic material that could be potentially useful to humans. These resources can be taken from the wild, domesticated or cultivated. They are sourced from environments in which they occur naturally (in situ), or from human-made collections such as botanical gardens, genebanks, seed banks and microbial culture collections (ex situ). 

There are significant potential benefits to be gained by accessing genetic resources and making use of them. They provide a crucial source of information to better understand the natural world and can be used to develop a wide range of products and services for human benefit. This includes products such as medicines and cosmetics, as well as agricultural and environmental practices and techniques.

However, like many key resources in the world, genetic resources are not evenly distributed. What’s more, the plants, animals and microbes in which they are found often make up complex and delicately-balanced ecosystems which can be threatened or endangered. The way in which genetic resources are accessed, and how the benefits of their use are shared, can create incentives for their conservation and sustainable use, and can contribute to the creation of a fairer and more equitable economy to support sustainable development.

This course introduces you to the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, which is a Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity that creates greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Identify the core components and mechanisms established by the Nagoya Protocol

The course is comprised of 2 units each unit includes a book with links to the InforMEA glossary and relevant documents and websites, additional materials and videos.

It will take you one hour approximately to complete the course, excluding additional materials. You can manage your time as you wish and retake the course whenever it is more convenient for you. After completing all the units and passing the quiz with an 80% of correct responses, you will receive a certificate of completion.

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This course introduces you to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Protocol seeks to ensure an adequate level of safety in the transfer, handling, and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biological diversity.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Describe potential benefits and adverse effects of LMOs
  2. Identify the core components and mechanisms established by the Cartagena Protocol

The course is comprised of 4 units; each unit includes a book with links to the InforMEA glossary and relevant documents and websites, additional materials and videos.

It will take you 90 minutes approximately to complete the course, excluding additional materials. You can manage your time as you wish and retake the course whenever it is more convenient for you. After completing all the units and passing the quiz with an 80% of correct responses, you will receive a certificate of completion.

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The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system that has ever existed. The Grand Canyon retraces two billion years of the earth's history. The Galapagos Islands inspired Charles Darwin in his theory of evolution. The Island of Gorée is a reminder of slavery. The Citadel of Haiti is a symbol of liberty, built by slaves who had gained their freedom. These cultural and natural sites are very diverse, yet they have in common the fact that they constitute, together with many others, a common heritage to be treasured as unique testimonies to an enduring past. Their disappearance would be an irreparable loss for humanity.

This course introduces you to the World Heritage Convention, which is one of the most complete international instruments that exist in the field of conservation. It is based on the recognition that parts of the cultural and natural heritage of various nations are of outstanding universal significance and need to be preserved as part of the world heritage of humankind as a whole.

 At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the importance conserving of our common heritage
  2. Identify the core components and mechanisms established by the World Heritage Convention

The course is comprised of 3 units. Each unit includes a book with links to the InforMEA glossary and relevant documents and websites, additional materials and videos.

It will take you 1 hour approximately to complete the course, excluding additional materials. You can manage your time as you wish and retake the course whenever it is more convenient for you. After completing all the units and passing the quiz with an 80% of correct responses, you will receive a certificate of completion.

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Course Image {mlang en}Introductory Course to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands {mlang}{mlang es}Curso introductorio a la Convención de Ramsar relativa a los humedales{mlang}{mlang cn}《国际湿地公约》入门课程{mlang}{mlang fr}Cours d'introduction à la Convention de Ramsar sur les zones humides{mlang}

Wetlands are among the most complex and productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rainforests and coral reefs. They can host an immense variety of species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals. All these species are closely linked to wetlands and to each other, forming a life cycle and a complex set of interactions. If one species disappears, the entire ecological web is endangered, which could lead to the loss of an entire ecosystem over time. For this reason, protecting wetland habitats is essential for maintaining global and national biodiversity.

This course introduces you to the Ramsar Convention, which was the first treaty to recognize that wetlands are among the most productive sources of ecological support on earth.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  1. Describe the importance, characteristics and ecosystem services of wetlands
  2. Identify the core components and mechanisms established by the Ramsar Convention

The course is comprised of 2 units. Each unit includes a book with links to the InforMEA glossary and relevant documents and websites, additional materials and videos. Take the quiz to test your knowledge at the end of the course. 

It will take you 1 hour approximately to complete the course, excluding additional materials. You can manage your time as you wish and retake the course whenever it is more convenient for you. After completing all the units and passing the quiz with an 80% of correct responses, you will receive a certificate of completion.

This course is available in English, French, Chinese and Spanish.

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Annually, international wildlife trade is diverse, ranging from live animals and plants to a vast array of wildlife products derived from them, including food products, exotic leather goods, wooden musical instruments, timber, tourist curios and medicines. Levels of exploitation of some animal and plant species are high and the trade in them, together with other factors, such as habitat loss, is capable of heavily depleting their populations and even bringing some species close to extinction. Many wildlife species in trade are not endangered, but the existence of an agreement to ensure the sustainability of the trade is important in order to safeguard these resources for the future.

This course introduces you to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which is an international agreement to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

At the end of the this course, you will be able to:

1. Describe the core components and mechanisms established by the Convention

The course is comprised of 2 units. Each unit includes a lesson from CITES Virtual College and additional reading materials. Take the quiz to test your knowledge at the end of the course.

It will take you one hour approximately to complete the course, excluding additional materials. You can manage your time as you wish and retake the course whenever it is more convenient for you. After completing all the units and passing the quiz with an 80% of correct responses, you will receive a certificate of completion.

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No country is self-sufficient in plant genetic resources; all depend on genetic diversity in crops from other countries and regions. International cooperation and open exchange of genetic resources are therefore essential for food security. 

This course introduces you to the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the legally binding framework for the conservation and sustainable use of all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. 

At the end on the course, you will be able to: 

  1. Explain the relationship between crop diversity and food security
  2. Describe the core components and mechanisms of the Treaty

The course is comprised of 6 short units, which include a book with links to the relevant terms of the InforMEA glossary, videos and additional reading materials. At the end of the course, you may take a quiz to test your knowledge.

It will take you around 2 hours to complete the course, excluding additional training materials. At the end of the course, you can obtain a certificate if you pass the quiz (80% of correct responses).

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The Earth's biological resources are vital to humanity's economic and social development. As a result, there is a growing recognition that biological diversity is a global asset of tremendous value to present and future generations. At the same time, the threat to species and ecosystems has never been so great as it is today. Species extinction caused by human activities continues at an alarming rate.

This course introduces you to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is the legally binding framework for the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources.

At the end of the this course, you will be able to: 

  1. Explain the importance of biological diversity for humankind.
  2. Describe the core components and mechanisms established by the Convention. 

The course is comprised of 8 short units. Each unit includes a book with links to the InforMEA glossary and relevant documents and websites, additional materials and videos. Take the quizzes to test your knowledge after units 3, 6 and 8.

It will take you 2 and a half hours approximately to complete the course, excluding additional materials. You can manage your time as you wish; take a few units and retake the course whenever it is more convenient for you. After completing all the units and passing the quizzes with an 80% of correct responses, you will receive a certificate of completion.

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Course Image {mlang en}Course for the National Focal Points for the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and its Instruments{mlang}{mlang zh_cn}CMS国家联络点与其法律文件课程{mlang}{mlang fr}Cours de la CMS pour les Points focaux nationaux de la CMS et ses instruments{mlang}{mlang es}Curso para los Puntos Focales Nacionales de la Convención sobre la conservación de las especies migratorias de animales silvestres (CMS) y sus instrumentos{mlang}

This course on the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, which is the only UN-based intergovernmental organization established for the conservation and management of terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range, is comprised of 6 units. Each unit includes training materials with links to InforMEA, relevant legal documents, websites, quizzes, additional materials and videos. At the end of the course, learners will be able to obtain a certificate of completion.

Its overall objective is to strengthen national institutions in order to ultimately contribute to facilitating conservation efforts both nationally and worldwide and the specific purpose is to guide and support the National Focal Points (NFPs) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) and its instruments in implementing the Convention. This Course is targeted to government officials charged with the responsibility for implementing CMS and its family of instruments - both those of many years´ experience and those recently appointed.

This course has been developed under the InforMEA UNEP initiative based on the CMS/AEWA Manual for the National Focal Points for CMS and its instruments. Recommended citation: "Manual for the National Focal Points for CMS and its Instruments. 2013. UNEP/CMS Secretariat and UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, Bonn, Germany". This publication was kindly funded by the European Commission through the ENRTP* Strategic Cooperation Agreement with UNEP. *Thematic Programme for Environment and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources including Energy.

© UNEP and CMS 2014. All rights reserved.

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