29 German Organizations call for a Global Gene Drive Moratorium

In a joint open letter sent to the German federal ministers Karliczek, Klöckner and Schulze on February 19, 2020, an alliance of 29 German organizations called on the German government to support a global gene drive moratorium in the upcoming international negotiations.

The reason for the joint letter were important EU and international decisions with regard to the gene drive technology:
At the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity planned for October 2020 in China, the German federal government could play an important role within the scope of its EU Council Presidency. Furthermore, the German government would be able to already set the course for the regulation of this technology at the expert conferences taking place in advance of the convention, especially at SBSTTA 24 planned for June 2020 [postponed to May 2021 due to COVID].

In addition, as part of Germanys membership in World Conservation Union (IUCN), the German government could input to a consultation process on draft resolution 075 on the role of synthetic biology (including gene drives) for the protection of biodiversity within the IUCN, ahead of World Congress planned for May 2020 [postponed to September 2021). This resolution is meant to provide the basis for an inclusive discussion process within IUCN. Its members are invited to exchange views on the potential role of applications of synthetic biology, including gene drives, for the conservation of biodiversity. At the IUCN World Congress 2024, the world conservation organization will vote on its official position on this issue.

In its letter, the alliance calls on the German federal government to follow the European Parliament’s vote of January 16, 2020, at the CBD COP 15, in which the European Parliament petitioned the EU to motion for a resolution calling for a global moratorium on the release of gene drive organisms into nature at the next Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in order to prevent premature experiments with the technology in nature.