By Carolina Torres Trueba, Island Conservation

The resumed sessions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Geneva came to a successful conclusion on March 29. The meeting convened three bodies: the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical And Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24), the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3) and the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (WG2020-3). Discussions focused mainly on issues related to the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). Once adopted, the GBF will provide a global strategy with which Parties to the Convention can draw up their own national agendas for biodiversity and conservation.

By Dr Marceline (Lina) Finda, Ifakara Health Institute

In a recent Twitter conversation hosted by Gene Convene, my colleague Dr Fredros Okumu and I were invited to share insights from our latest survey of African stakeholders focusing on gene drive approaches for malaria control.

According to the 2021 World Malaria Report, Africa continues to shoulder the heaviest malaria burden globally, with over 90% of global malaria cases and deaths recorded on the continent. Although progress has been made against the disease since 2000, this remains uneven, due to a number of different factors, including growing resistance to some of the current interventions. Transformational tools such as gene drive approaches have the potential to address some of these challenges and help speed up malaria control and elimination efforts. Researchers have been exploring the potential of gene drive applications to limit the spread of diseases, particularly those spread by insect vectors, such as malaria, for a long time.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will resume negotiations from March 14 to 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), a guiding document that sets forward an ambitious plan to halt and reverse global biodiversity loss by 2050, will be the main focus of the agenda. However, three CBD bodies are convening on this occasion: the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical And Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24), the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3) and the Open-Ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (WG2020-3).

February 28th to March 4th this year marks Invasive Species Awareness Week, a moment to raise awareness of the impact of invasive alien species on biodiversity and the importance of addressing this issue. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, invasive alien species (IAS) are species whose introduction and/or spread outside their natural past or present distribution threatens biological diversity. Different organisms can be classified as IAS such as plants, animals, and microorganisms. IAS are species that can be introduced, either accidentally or intentionally, by human activities such as trade or transportation. Their introduction can have dramatic effects on ecosystems and lead to the extinction of native species.

By Dr. Lea Pare Toe, Target Malaria, Institut de Recherche en Sciences de la Santé (IRSS)

Stakeholder engagement is an essential component of gene drive research. Robust engagement is important not only because it is crucial for building and sustaining public confidence, but also because it can help define priorities and inform research design and pathways.