Jyväskylä/ Delft, August 14, 2023 

Biological monitoring stands as a linchpin in the fight against biodiversity loss, serving as the vital source of data to detect, measure, and evaluate the impacts on biodiversity and gauge the effectiveness of conservation endeavors, including ecological restorations. Regrettably, a substantial number of regions and countries still lack harmonized protocols and quality assurance mechanisms for conducting comprehensive biodiversity assessments, hampering their ability to address this critical challenge.

Notably, countries in the Global South face particularly daunting obstacles, as they not only house the majority of Earth's biodiversity but also harbor some of the planet's most endangered species. Bridging the gap between need and ability requires innovative solutions, with experts championing the role of molecular techniques such as environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis, which hold promise in supporting legislative goals and the UN Global Biodiversity Framework. The imperative for inclusive international standardization and quality assurance in molecular methodologies cannot be overstated. A compelling emphasis now rests on ensuring that all standardization endeavors transcend geographical boundaries and encompass a global perspective, addressing the unique challenges faced by the Global South.

To realize this vision, collaborative task forces are being established to drive coordination and execution of standardization plans. The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Task Force on Global Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Sampling Protocols (GLOSAM) seeks to bridge methodological gaps and spearheads standardization of biodiversity and bioassessment monitoring protocols for freshwater macroinvertebrates monitoring. In tandem, the inception of the International eDNA Standardization Task Force (iESTF) strives to promote eDNA methods and standardization initiatives across diverse countries, regions, and agencies. Finally, organizations like the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) will play a vital role in achieving consensus-driven international standardization of eDNA approaches and the standardization of biodiversity measures.

As the global community unites to combat the escalating issue of biodiversity loss, the establishment of international standardization for biological monitoring methodologies emerges as a critical stride toward preserving our planet's invaluable ecosystems. By nurturing collaboration, fostering knowledge exchange, and promoting inclusivity, we pave a path toward a more sustainable and biodiverse future.

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For media inquiries and further information, please contact:

Dr. Kristian Meissner (Syke)
Email: kristian.meissner@syke.fi

Dr. John Simaika (IHE Delft)
Email: j.simaika@un-ihe.org

About the Organizations

Syke – Finnish Environment Institute

Syke is a government research institute that collaborates with partners to develop research-based solutions for sustainable transformation and living within planetary boundaries.

IHE Delft Institute for Water Education

IHE Delft works towards a world free from poverty and injustice, where people manage water and environmental resources sustainably and equitably.

Background information: In December 2022, representatives from 196 countries convened at COP15 under the United Nations' Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). During this significant event, a consensus was reached on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. This framework aspires to achieve a momentous objective: the effective safeguarding and responsible management of a minimum of 30 percent of the Earth's terrestrial and aquatic expanses, including lands, inland waters, coastal regions, and oceans. Presently, a mere 17 percent of terrestrial areas and a mere 10 percent of marine areas across the globe are protected. To accomplish this formidable goal, the framework's success hinges on the establishment and use of internationally standardized methods to evaluate the status of ecosystems and the effect of management efforts on ecosystem functioning and services.