Gene Drive Supplement

CBD Acknowledges Science and Innovation Valuable for Conservation

April 27, 2022

The meetings in Geneva by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) focused on discussions related to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The new framework will shape biodiversity policies and actions for the coming decades, potentially affecting the research environment on gene drive and other innovative tools for conservation and health.

Parties to the Convention still need to reach a consensus on the framework's goals and targets. However, the current draft now includes positive language on innovation and scientific research, which were not there before Geneva.

Target 6 on invasive alien species (IAS), for example, acknowledges the need for novel tools to address IAS impact on biodiversity. New approaches to managing IAS are crucial for protecting ecosystems, as existing tools are cost-intensive and limited in scope and scale.

The importance of innovation and scientific research is also highlighted on target 19.2. The text now values capacity building, technology transfer, as well as innovation (including joint technology development and scientific research). If adopted, it should encourage further research and innovation for conservation and health purposes.

Target 17 used to mention only the potential adverse impacts of biotechnology on biodiversity and human health. The new version also considers its potential benefits. This gives room for a balanced debate on biotechnology and allows countries to make a fair assessment of the best tools to protect and restore threatened ecosystems.

Parties are meeting again to continue discussions in Nairobi, Kenya from June 21 to 26. This will be the fourth and last negotiation round before the new framework is adopted at the Conference of Parties (COP15) in Kunming, China later this year.

For more details about the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, read the article in Island Conservation.

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