EBP-Colombia and the bioeconomy: Genomics in the service of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development

Joseph E. A. Huddart, Andrew J. Crawford, Arturo L. Luna-Tapia, Silvia Restrepo, Federica Di Palma

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Abstract

The 2016 Peace Agreement has increased access to Colombia’s unique ecosystems, which remain understudied and increasingly under threat. The Colombian government has recently announced its National Bioeconomic Strategy (NBS), founded on the sustainable characterization, management, and conservation of the nation's biodiversity as a means to achieve sustainability and peace. Molecular tools will accelerate such endeavors, but capacity remains limited in Colombia. The Earth Biogenome Project's (EBP) objective is to characterize the genomes of all eukaryotic life on Earth through networks of partner institutions focused on sequencing either specific taxa or eukaryotic communities at regional or national scales. Colombia’s immense biodiversity and emerging network of stakeholders have inspired the creation of the national partnership “EBP-Colombia.” Here, we discuss how this Colombian-driven collaboration between government, academia, and the private sector is integrating research with sustainable, environmentally focused strategies to develop Colombia’s postconflict bioeconomy and conserve biological and cultural diversity. EBP-Colombia will accelerate the uptake of technology and promote partnership and exchange of knowledge among Colombian stakeholders and the EBP’s global network of experts; assist with conservation strategies to preserve Colombia’s vast biological wealth; and promote innovative approaches among public and private institutions in sectors such as agriculture, tourism, recycling, and medicine. EBP-Colombia can thus support Colombia’s NBS with the objective of sustainable and inclusive development to address the many social, environmental, and economic challenges, including conflict, inequality, poverty, and low agricultural productivity, and so, offer an alternative model for economic development that similarly placed countries can adopt.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2115641119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume119
Issue number4
Early online date18 Jan 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2022

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