The United Nation Summit on Biodiversity will take place on September 30th under the theme “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development”. The President of the General Assembly, Heads of States and Governments, as well as high-level representatives from several international organisations will discuss the current environmental crisis and the urgent need to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development.

The Leader’s Dialogue 2, which will start at 4:20 pm (EDT) will focus on how science and technology, along with indigenous and local knowledge, can support transformations to sustainability. The panel will gather high-level representatives from international organisations such as the World Bank and International Labor Organization, as well as from the private sector and civil society. Participating States will also deliver statements on the topic.

Island Conservation and friends would like to invite you to their online three-part “Island Journey”, to learn about their fantastic conservation projects.

On September 29th prepare your binocular and scuba gear to visit the Tetiaroa Atoll, French Polynesia, where you will join scientists and conservationists participating in this real-time project to save seabirds and coral reefs.

In the context of Malaria Week 2020, organized by the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance from September 7 to 11, a dialogue was held on harnessing innovation to accelerate malaria elimination and strengthen health security.

Speakers described the current epidemiological landscape in the Asia Pacific region with regards to malaria, and in particular to the P. vivax parasite, the most frequent cause of recurring malaria. They also introduced new and innovative treatment regimens and testing methods which could help make headway against the disease, as well as the regulatory reforms that would be needed to expedite their use in a safe and ethical manner.

The World Mosquito Program (WMP) has recently released the results of a study it conducted in Indonesia to determine whether releasing Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes into wild populations could reduce the incidence of dengue.

WMP, in conjunction with the Tahija Foundation and Gadjah Mada University, conducted a randomized controlled trial in Yogyakarta City, in which the study area was divided into 24 clusters, half of which were randomly selected for releases of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes. Communities into which these mosquitoes were released saw a 77% reduction in the incidence of dengue, and this approach therefore represents a promising new tool to control the disease. The results demonstrate the promise of new technologies for vector control and provide a good example of fostering community understanding and acceptance of experimental releases.

More details can be found on WMP’s website.

This week was the launch of GeneConvene Global Collaborative Webinars - Engineered Gene Drives: State of Research. The first webinar took place September 9 with Professor Anthony James, Ph.D., from the University of California on the topic Gene-drive systems for mosquito population modification. Anthony James discussed the objectives of genetic control, including population suppression to reduce/eliminate mosquitoes, as well as population modification, which aims to change a mosquito’s ability to transmit pathogens. Prof. James noted that interest from his research group in population modification approaches was driven by their potential to have a sustainable impact on malaria elimination, while avoiding concerns about a possible empty ecological niche, while being stable in low population densities.