Gene drive organisms: What Africa should know about actors, motives and threats to biodiversity and food systems

Sirinathsinghji, E.,  African Centre for Biodiversity.,  2019.

In this briefing paper, we set out the key issues that our governments should have addressed with African civil society before endorsing positions and setting the benchmark for Africa-wide policy. In this regard, we point out that, while the impetus for the AU position might well have been gene drive technologies proposed by the Gates-funded Target Malaria consortium, as a tool to reduce the transmission of malaria on the continent, the debate about gene drive organisms goes well beyond gene drive mosquitoes. Plans by gene drive developers target pests, pollinators, weeds and the speeding up of plant breeding programmes. The logic of using these technologies in agriculture relies on the continued deception that exceedingly complex problems in the food system in Africa can be resolved simply by new high-tech innovations, while downplaying their potential risks to biodiversity and livelihoods.