#Science & Technology
Convention for Biological Diversity

The rate of current biodiversity loss and the impacts of climate change are unprecedented. Recent reports suggest we cannot effectively address one without the other. Goals set in the past to confront the most pressing drivers of these two global challenges have not been met and it is clear that current practices are not enough to change the trajectory. To overcome these global challenges, we must take transformative actions that merge innovative science and current practices into accelerated solutions. Science can achieve concrete results when research is prioritized, such as a vaccine that safeguards us against the worst effects of the Covid-19 virus.

The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), which some are calling the “Paris Agreement for Nature,” must be grounded in science and innovation to achieve the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and its protocols. To do so, the GBF needs to include goals and targets that support research and the sharing of new technologies.

Innovations such as modern biotechnology and advances in synthetic biology are built on years of research and experience. Agricultural biotechnology has a decades-long history of safe use. These innovative technologies offer incredible potential to accelerate our progress towards the CBD goals while also contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Consequently, the Framework’s approach to biotechnologies in Target 17 — "Establish, strengthen capacity for, and implement measures in all countries to prevent, manage or control potential adverse impacts of biotechnology on biodiversity and human health, reducing the risk of these impacts." — should be consistent with the CBD and its protocols.

As such, it should be rephrased to focus on “the use and release of living modified organisms resulting from biotechnologies” in accordance with article 8G of the CBD, considering the scope of the convention and its protocols.

In line with this change, Target 17 should recognize the potential benefits of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from biotechnology, in accordance with Article 16 of the CBD and the preamble of the Cartagena Protocol.

In doing so, Target 17 should reference existing studies that demonstrate that LMO’s resulting from biotechnology: a) have not had any adverse impacts on biodiversity or human health in their 25 years of safe use; b) have proven positive environmental impacts, contributing to climate change adaptation; and c) have great potential to contribute towards reducing agriculture’s environmental footprint, the achievement of the SDG’s and the protection of biodiversity.

The Alliance for Science and the undersigned coalition of academics and public sector scientists call for a science-based Global Biodiversity Framework that recognizes the safe and sustainable role that modern biotechnology can play in addressing the biodiversity and climate change crises.

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The Support biotech to protect biodiversity petition to Convention for Biological Diversity was written by Alliance for Science and is in the category Science & Technology at GoPetition.