What discussions are ongoing at the Convention on Biological Diversity about research, development, and use of gene drive technologies?

Category: Next Steps

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is an international agreement under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that aims to conserve biodiversity, enable the sustainable use of the components of biodiversity, and enable fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources. 196 countries currently (2022) are Parties to this agreement. The CBD considers organisms containing engineered gene drives as Living Modified Organisms (LMOs; also referred to as Genetically Modified Organisms, or GMOS). Since gene drive-modified organisms are LMOs, the CBD considers the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (CPB) as the appropriate umbrella under which policies regarding their transboundary movement are developed. The CBD has thus far recommended that a precautionary approach should be taken with regard to decisions on activities in the field and recommended further consideration of risk assessment methods.

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