Sean Hoban

March 16, 2020

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The letter was covered by the BBC, as well as INRAE France, the Agricultural Biodiversity Blog and Stockholm University.

Co leads of the Genetic Composition Working Group, Sean Hoban and Anna MacDonald, were  among 21 authors (including several other GEO BON members and IUCN Specialist Group members) on a letter to Science published March 6 here. The letter is titled “Post 2020 Goals Overlook Genetic Diversity”.  It concerns an urgent issue in global biodiversity conservation policy, the post-2020 framework for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The first draft of the new CBD framework was released in January 2020. Our letter expresses concern with respect to how the framework addresses conservation of genetic diversity and adaptive potential within species. For decades, global genetic biodiversity goals have focused on agrobiodiversity (e.g. crops), and the zero draft still does not explicitly state the importance of genetic diversity in all species, nor does it propose indicators for genetic diversity in wild species aside from wild relatives.  We suggest new focus on genetic diversity, adaptive capacity, and resilience in all wild species as well as domestic. Species long term survival as well as ecosystem resilience depends on genetic diversity, which will ultimately impact society and livelihoods. We highlight the shortcomings of the CBD draft and provide concrete and practical suggestions for a goal and for indicators for within-species biodiversity.  Please contact the authors if you’d like a copy of the letter.  The letter was covered by the BBC, as well as INRAE France, the Agricultural Biodiversity Blog and Stockholm University.  Co-author Mike Bruford said to the BBC: “If we don’t have good, sensible and explicit targets then nobody’s going to even work towards conserving that diversity.”

Sills J, Laikre L, Hoban S, Bruford MW, Segelbacher G, Allendorf FW, Gajardo G, et al. 2020. “Post-2020 goals overlook genetic diversity”. Science. 367 (6482): 1083.2-1085. Email me a PDF | doi.org/10.1126/science.abb2748

See all GEO BON scientific publications

GEO BON Genetic Composition WG publishes Science Letter on CBD Zero Draft Recommendations