Analysis of 169 targets under SDGs (132)

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The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development covers 17 goals, the 15th of which is “Life on Land,” namely: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

Under this major goal, there are 12 targets, the 15.6 of which is “Promote fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources and promote appropriate access to such resources, as internationally agreed.”

●Current Situation

The World

Access to food around the world is not secure and 800 million people are undernourished


Image source: NetEase

Plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA) are the biological basis of world food security and, directly or indirectly, support the livelihoods of every person on Earth. PGRFA encompasses the diversity of genetic material in both traditional varieties and modern cultivars, as well as crop wild relatives and other wild plant species used as food. These resources serve as the plant breeder’s most important raw material and the farmer’s most essential input. They are also a reservoir of genetic adaptability to buffer against potentially harmful environmental and economic change.

Now, access to food around the world is not secure and 800 million people are undernourished. In the next 30 years, the world’s population is expected to reach 8,500 million. Reliable and sustainable improvements in yield are needed to meet the demands of this population growth. The conservation and sustainable utilization of plant genetic resources is key to improving agricultural productivity and sustainability, thereby contributing to national development, food security, and the relief of poverty.

Plant, animal, forest, aquatic, micro-organism, and invertebrate genetic resources are vital to food security, nutrition, livelihoods, and the resilience and adaptability of global agricultural production systems. Despite increasing efforts in recent years, much remains to be done to improve the management of these resources. Many are at risk of extinction or erosion, and many have been overlooked in terms of use and development. There is an urgent need to address these deficiencies, both within the individual sectors of food and agriculture and in terms of how genetic resources management can be better integrated across sectors. These efforts will need to include action to address the multiple knowledge gaps that constrain improvements to management. They will also need to include the creation of policy and institutional frameworks that promote collaboration and stakeholder participation and allow sustainable management strategies to be implemented effectively at appropriate scales.

Source: Crop Gene Bank, Genetic Resources Journal 


The serious loss of biological genetic resources in China


Image source: Zhihu

China is one of the countries with the richest biological genetic resources in the world. It has more than 30,000 species of higher plants and 6,347 species of vertebrates, ranking among the top in the world. China is one of the eight centers of crop origins in the world. In the long process of agricultural and animal husbandry development, it has cultivated and domesticated a large number of species of crops, fruit trees, poultry, livestock with strong economic benefits, and tens of thousands of varieties.

It is difficult to calculate the exact amount of biological genetic resources lost in China. It is estimated that the ratio of import and export is 1:10.

The soybean originates in China, and more than 90% of the world’s wild soybean resources are distributed in China. There are more than 20,000 copies of soybean resources preserved in the crop gene banks of the United States, making it the second largest country in terms of soybean resources only after China. Many soybean resources originating in China have become patented products of the United States. Monsanto Company, from the United States, used wild soybean varieties in China for research and discovered “marker genes” closely related to controlling soybean high yield traits, and filed 64 patent protection applications to the United States and 100 countries including China. The scope of applications covers all soybeans containing these “marker genes” and their progeny, breeding methods with related high-yield traits, and all crops that the “marker genes” have been introduced to.

The kiwi fruit is originally produced in China. After its resources were lost to New Zealand, New Zealand cultivated new varieties with high quality and high yield, which have been sold well all over the world and continuously sold to China.

Another example is that 90% of Beijing roast ducks in the Beijing market are made of the British “Cherry Valley” ducks, the offspring of the traditional Chinese “Beijing Ducks” crossbred abroad.

The No. 1 document of the CPC Central Committee for 2023 pointed out that the seed industry revitalization action should be implemented in depth, and the national agricultural germplasm resources census would be completed. To this end, the relevant departments of the agricultural and rural system made early deployments, full efforts and full preparations to ensure that the census of germplasm resources will be successfully completed.

It is an important task in 2023 to compile the Journal of China’s Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources and the Report on the Status of China’s Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources. 

As the two landmark achievements of the third national livestock and poultry genetic resources census, the revision of the third edition of the Journal of China’s Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources will further clarify the range of livestock and poultry species, improve the resource categories in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau region, add silkworm records, and add new collections of excellent characteristic phenotypes, molecular biology information, and accurate identification results. The compilation will draw on the valuable experience of the previous two editions of the journal, and, based on first-hand information, ensure its representativeness, comparability, and its character as historical data. As an important document reflecting the status quo of China’s livestock and poultry genetic resources, the Report on the Status of China’s Livestock and Poultry Genetic Resources will comprehensively introduce the concepts, practices, achievements, and experience of China’s livestock and poultry genetic resources protection, and will be released to the world after compilation.

Source: Ministry of Ecology and Environment of China, China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center


The World

Natural resource management in Norway


Image source: Tencent

In-situ conservation of genetic diversity is part of the overall effort of Norway to safeguard biodiversity. The international framework for this work is set by the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing under the convention, and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Norwegian Environment Agency is responsible for coordinating initiatives for in-situ conservation of genetic diversity.

Norway is involved in international cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), e.g., it adopts the Global Plan of Action on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is the world’s largest seed repository for plants and is vital to global food security.

Programs for conservation and the sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture have been organized by the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre, which is part of the Norwegian Institute of Bio-economy Research. The center is responsible for implementing and updating Norway’s national action plans for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources in farm animals, forest trees and crops, including the wild relatives of food plants. Grant schemes for environmental measures in agriculture and forestry provide important support for these efforts.

Source: OECD iLibrary

CGIAR's genetic innovation

CGIAR (formerly the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research) is a global research partnership that unites international organizations engaged in research about food security. They work for a food-secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources.

Genetic innovation – across gene banks, crop breeding, and seed systems – has been the mainstay of CGIAR’s local and global impact since its inception. CGIAR’s work on genetic innovation is a tremendous force: 33 collaborative crop breeding networks involve 1,200 partners in 135 countries, developing and delivering improved varieties of 21 crops and forages to small-scale farmers, and nine gene banks conserve 30 crops and 3,000 species, distributing over 50,000 samples per year on request, for research, breeding, and use across the world.

In 2022, CGIAR brought together all crops, geographies, centers, partners, and stages of the innovation pipeline under the coordinated management of the Genetic Innovation Science Group. They drafted a dynamic theory of change, launched five tightly interconnected initiatives to drive the achievement of ambitious 3-year outcomes, recruited four senior directors, articulated an aide memoire with the key national and regional partners in Africa, and initiated an active advisory group comprising six System Council funder representatives and six regional experts to challenge and champion their work.

Source: CGIAR


Medical cooperation in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay area


Shenzhen promotes the integrated development of medical technology between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The government supports The University of Hong Kong - Shenzhen Hospital to expand space in the Hetao Shenzhen-Hong Kong Science and Technology Innovation Cooperation Zone, establishing the Translational Medicine Research Center (Futian) of The University of Hong Kong - Shenzhen Hospital, which focuses on key diseases such as tumors, reproductive health, and organ transplantation, and conducts clinical efficacy verification, innovative new drug development and treatment, and research on the transformation and application of key clinical technologies.

To deepen the opening and sharing of scientific and technological innovation to Hong Kong and Macao, four institutions, including The University of Hong Kong - Shenzhen Hospital, the Shenzhen Research Institute of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Institute for Research and Continuing Education of the Hong Kong Baptist University, and the Shenzhen Research Institute of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, have been approved to pilot the transit of human genetic resources via Hong Kong and Macao. Shenzhen accelerates the promotion of the legislation of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone Cell and Gene Industry Promotion Regulations, which stipulates the expanded clinical trial system for cell and gene drugs. There are currently two institutions and two projects in the city that have obtained national stem cell clinical research registration.

Source: Health Commission of Shenzhen Municipality

Shenzhen releases an action plan for biodiversity conservation


Image source: Zhihu

On May 22, 2022, the Office of the Ecological and Environmental Protection Commission of Shenzhen Municipality issued the Shenzhen Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan (2022~2025), announcing Shenzhen’s “biological environment” and action plan for the future.

Shenzhen will further promote biodiversity conservation through six priority areas and 17 actions. The six priority areas include: improving the institutional system of biodiversity conservation, carrying out biodiversity investigation, assessment, and monitoring, strengthening the in-situ and ex-situ conservation of biodiversity, building a regional biosecurity system, promoting and addressing climate change synergies, and deepening public participation, cooperation, and exchanges.

The 17 actions include: accelerating the establishment of the rule of law for biodiversity conservation, improving the planning system for biodiversity conservation, carrying out biodiversity surveys, improving the comprehensive assessment mechanism for biodiversity, establishing biodiversity monitoring and emergency response systems, protecting natural ecological space, optimizing urban ecological patterns, scientifically implementing ecological restoration projects, strengthening the construction of ex-situ conservation systems, strengthening the prevention and control of the invasions of alien species, strengthening the management of biological genetic resources, improving the ability to respond to climate change, improving the ability to prevent and control biological epidemics, promoting green production and life, strengthening publicity and education on biodiversity conservation, improving public participation mechanisms, and deepening external exchanges and cooperation.

Source: Ecology Environment Bureau of Shenzhen Municipality


Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiated by the United Nations

On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including 169 targets, of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.