The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Specially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention), as modified by the Paris Protocol of 1982, was approved by Congress during the last weeks of 1996. Its adoption and promulgation as law, however, was to occur only in 1997. The government designated the Cienaga Grande del Magdalena as a wetland of international importance to be listed as a Ramsar Convention site.
In December, Colombia ratified the 1978 version of the Treaty on the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties and adopted as implementing legislation Decree No. 533 of the Ministry of Agriculture.
Colombia was among the 13 states parties to the 1983 Convention for the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment of the Wider Caribbean (Cartagena Convention) which, in June 1990, had signed the Protocol on Specially Protected Areas of Wildlife. In late December 1996, the final act of the Protocol was presented to Congress for ratification, but was to be adopted and promulgated as Law of Congress only in 1997.
On 2 July, by Decision No. 391 of the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement, the Andean countries adopted the Common Regime on Access to Genetic Resources. The decisions of the Commission of the Cartagena Agreement have the status of law in the respective parties' territories.
Decision No. 391 aims to ensure an equitable distribution of the benefits obtained from the use of genetic resources and to establish a basis for the recognition and valuation of the intangible component associated with genetic resources, in particular, of the traditional knowledge, practices, and innovations of indigenous and Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Latino communities in the use of such resources. The Decision represents a first legal framework for the regulation of access to genetic resources and derivative products, and the first attempt in the region to regulate property rights related to collective knowledge.
Juan M. Sabogal
One of the most important developments in 1996 was the taking of initial steps, through a national strategic planning participatory and consultation process, toward the development of the Consejo Nacional del Ambiente (CONAM) as the national environmental authority.
In the context of on-going state economic reform, environmental regulations continued to play a significant role, at least at a formal level. However, implementation and enforcement of regulations remained important concerns requiring further efforts and commitments from the public and private