At its sixth meeting, the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted decision VI/9 on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, which includes outcome-oriented global targets for 2010. The ultimate and long-term objective of the Strategy is to halt the current and continuing loss of plant diversity. While the entry point for the Strategy is plant conservation, it is also concerned with aspects of sustainable use, capacity building and benefit-sharing. In general it is directed towards implementing the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity, as a cross-cutting issue, covering all the work programmes of the Convention.
The GSPC Expert Group meeting in Dingle Co. Kerry, Ireland in October 2003 noted that "the Strategy is providing a useful framework to bring together organizations and initiatives to meet common objectives. Various organizations are already working towards the respective targets, and where possible, they are incorporating actions towards achieving targets into existing work programmes. The need for wider partnerships has been noted, and to achieve this, mechanisms by which a wider group of organisations could be involved in the process are needed, with the emphasis being given to a partnership approach within the Strategy as a whole, rather than a specific target-related involvement" (UNEP/CBD/SBSTTA/9/INF/24). The GSPC Expert Group therefore recommended that a global partnership for plant conservation be established, building upon the "Gran Canaria Group", an informal consortium of international and national organisations that came together in 2000 to support the development of a global strategy for plant conservation. The Expert Group further proposed that a global partnership for plant conservation be open to all organizations that can contribute to the implementation of the Strategy.
In February 2004, in its Decision VII/10 on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, the Conference of the Parties welcomed the establishment of the global partnership for plant conservation and encouraged the participating organizations to continue to contribute to the implementation of the Strategy. It also invited other organizations to join the partnership, and encouraged Botanic Gardens Conservation International to continue its support for the partnership.
The Conference of the Parties further welcomed the establishment, by the Executive Secretary, of a flexible coordination mechanism for the Strategy, comprising: liaison groups to be convened as necessary according to established procedures; national focal points, as determined by Parties; the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation; and the Secretariat, including the Programme Officer supported by Botanic Gardens Conservation International. It encouraged Parties to nominate focal points for the Strategy, or designate from among existing focal points, in order to promote and facilitate implementation and monitoring of the Strategy at national level, promote the participation of national stakeholders in the implementation and monitoring of the Strategy at national level; and facilitate communication between national stakeholders and the Secretariat and Global Partnership for Plant Conservation;
The Partnership launched at an event held on Friday 13th February 2004 during the 7th Meeting of the Conferences of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The establishment of the Partnership was welcomed by the CBD Executive Secretary and by representatives of a range of national and international organisations.