European Parliament Passes Resolution including Call for Global Gene Drive Moratorium



Dear Friends and Colleagues

European Parliament Passes Resolution including Call for Global Gene Drive Moratorium

In 2016, 170 civil society organisations called for a global moratorium on gene drive releases. The concerns stemmed from the fact that gene drives can be used to eradicate entire populations and species in the wild, and that given the lack of comprehensive methodologies for technology or risk assessment, any release of gene drive organisms poses severe threats of harm to biodiversity and the web of life.

On 16 January 2020, the European Parliament passed a non-binding resolution on the 15th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which will be held in October 2020. An alliance of 50 European NGOs, foundations and experts successfully pushed for the adoption of important amendments, which include a call for a global gene drive moratorium, in order to protect biodiversity globally, to uphold the precautionary principle as enshrined in EU law and to fully support the objectives of the CBD.

The adopted amendments call on the European Commission and Member States to take the following actions:

  • To call for the COP15 to adopt provisions on horizon scanning, technology assessment and the monitoring of new technological developments, including those emerging from synthetic biology.
  • To call for a global moratorium at the COP15 on releases of gene drive organisms into nature, including field trials, in order to prevent these new technologies from being released prematurely and to uphold the precautionary principle.
  • To push for the COP15 to ensure that free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities is sought and obtained, in a participatory manner, prior to the release of any technologies which may impact on their traditional knowledge, innovation, practices, livelihoods and use of land, resources and water.
  • To call for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to enshrine, as key pillars, the precautionary principle, a rights-based approach and horizon scanning, technology assessment and monitoring with regard to the adoption of new technologies.

The final version of the resolution can be accessed at


With best wishes,

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