Members and non-members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) can now consult the 120 motions accepted for debate and potentially adoption during the 2020 IUCN World Conservation Congress. However, only members can participate in the online discussions from December 2019 to March 2020 and vote for their approval from April to May 2020.
From the perspective of gene drive research, the most relevant motion under discussion is the Principles on synthetic biology and biodiversity conservation (075). Among the principles listed are free, prior and informed consent, multidisciplinary dialogue including conservationists and synthetic biologists, and the need to consider indigenous knowledge and scientific evidence during risk assessments and decision-making process.
The resolutions on Halting biodiversity loss in the insular Caribbean (025) and Eradicating invasive alien species (IAS) to conserve island biodiversity and benefit society (112) are also particularly interesting to monitor, as scientists are studying the possibility of using gene drive to control IAS. Both motions stress the importance of eradicating IAS from islands to significantly reverse worldwide biodiversity loss trends - islands account for the highest concentration of species extinctions.
Motions are the mechanism by which IUCN members influence third parties and guide the policy and Programme of the organization. Once adopted in Congress, they will become Resolutions and Recommendations – the body of IUCN’s general policy.