The leaders of over 100 countries have adopted the Kunming Declaration, calling for an "urgent and integrated" action on biodiversity. The document is the outcome of the High-Level Segment of CBD COP-15 Part 1 – 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity – that took place in China on October 11-15.
The declaration aims to build momentum and set forward general ambitions to halt biodiversity loss ahead of the next round of negotiations of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in January 2022. Invasive alien species (IAS) are listed among the main drivers of the current environmental crisis, and their control and eradication are cited as a necessary step towards reducing threats to biodiversity.
Although the text of the declaration recognises the contributions of synthetic biology to environment conservation, it underestimates the importance of scientific research and innovation. The declaration fails to recognise that existing conservation tools are limited by issues of cost, scale, and implementation.
New technologies, such as those derived from synthetic biology and gene drive approaches, could complement existing tools and lead to the transformational change necessary to avoid further extinctions. Closing the door to innovation is to close the door to potentially more precise, cost-effective, and humane tools to save our planet.