Genetic Diversity: Australian Indicators (G’DAI) Forum


Genetic Diversity: Australian Indicators (G’DAI)

In collaboration with Bioplatform Australia's Threatened Species Initiative and several international working groups, the Centre for Biodiversity Analysis invites you to a meeting on targets and indicators for genetic diversity as a preamble to the post-2020 Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) forum as part of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) exercise.

We have gathered an expert panel to discuss how improved targets for maintenance of genetic diversity could be included in the CBD post 2020, with potential flow-on to Australian government policy. 

Aims of this forum

  • Examine and discuss the proposed post-2020 genetic diversity goals and indicators from an Australian perspective.
  • Provide policy makers with a clear definition of ‘genetic diversity’ and examples of measurable effective indicators.
  • Receive feedback from policy makers on what are stumbling blocks and where they require more clarification:
    • Evidence needed
    • Language used
    • Other issues?
  • Create a contact list of researchers to provide support for policy makers.

Meeting link

G’DAI Agenda

Introduction (~20 min)

Welcome and participant introductions

Craig Moritz, ANU.

Part 1 (~30 min)

The proposed goals/targets and CBD indicators for genetic diversity: Anna MacDonald, ANU; GEOBON Genetic Composition working group.


- Andrew Young, NRCA, CSIRO.

- Richard Frankham, Macquarie.

- Catherine Grueber, USydney.


Other working group members.

Part 2 (~30 min)

How these proposals fit with other policy areas within the CBD/Policy: Kat Miller, Director, Biodiversity Policy, Dept. Agriculture, Water & Environment (DAWE).  


- Damian Wrigley, Nat. Coordinator, Aust. Seed Bank Partnership, Aust. Nat. Bot. Gdns., DAWE.

- Anthony Whalen, Director, Biodiversity Science, Parks Australia, DAWE.

Part 3 (~15 min)

Discussion on getting and translating the evidence - the challenges and opportunities in obtaining data to assess indicators.

Case studies

1. Genetic health indicators for Victoria: Paul Sunnucks, Monash.

2. Impacts of 2019-20 fires: Craig Moritz, ANU.

3. Translocations of threatened species: Kym Ottewell, DBCA, WA.

General discussion (~20 minutes)


Background information & reading

Genetic diversity is one of three tiers of biodiversity that we aim to conserve through international and Australian strategies. Genetic diversity is both our evolutionary heritage, and the best predictor of capacity for species to adapt to rapid environmental change.

The post-2020 global biodiversity framework is currently in draft. There is an urgent need to improve the framework to include SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) indicators and to better consider genetic diversity of all species.

Scientists from 11 countries highlighted the need for improved goals and indicators for genetic diversity earlier this year (Laikre et al (2020) Science 367).

Subsequently, more detailed suggestions for goals, and action target, and indicators for genetic diversity of all species were published (Hoban et al (2020) Biological Conservation 248).

Further, a review of reports to the CBD from 57 countries (currently available as a preprint ahead of peer review: Hoban et al., shows that most countries recognised the importance of genetic diversity in their reports, but that genetic targets mainly focused on domesticated species, and that genetic change is poorly monitored by current indicators. The authors make several recommendations for the inclusion of genetic diversity in the post-2020 CBD Biodiversity Framework. The key messages from these publications are presented in a policy brief.

These suggestions have been developed in a collaboration between the IUCN-SSC Conservation Genetics Specialist Group, the GEOBON Genetic Composition Working Group, the Society for Conservation Biology’s Conservation Genetics Working Group, and the G-BiKE (Genomic Biodiversity Knowledge for Ecosystem Resilience) Cost Action programme of the EU.