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Trends in the maintenance, erosion or disintegration of genetic diversity directly impact human wellbeing in many ways and are a corner stone for the sustainable use of biodiversity as envisioned by the CBD and SDGs 1-3, 14-15.

For this purpose, population-genetic reference datasets are needed to directly measure within-species genetic diversity, e. g., to monitor, evaluate and identify populations and species that are impacted or threatened by climate change or desertification of habitats. The distribution, structure and quantification of within-species genetic diversity is also essential for monitoring of wild species managed in natural populations and the impact of different management practices, changes in land-use and connectivity, newly arising pests and pathogens, as well as, species responses to climate change. Only with reference data is it possible to develop appropriate responses to mitigate negative trends.

Within-species genetic diversity moreover provides characters for conservation tools applied for the certification of sustainable management practices (e. g. UNFF14 E/2019/42-E/CN.18/2019/9). Furthermore, reference datasets will have high relevancy for Components and Monitoring Elements in Goal A4 & A5 and Goal B1 & B2, as well as, Targets 3-5 for reducing threats to biodiversity, Targets 8 and 9 for meeting people’s needs through sustainable use and benefit sharing, and Targets 14 and 19 providing tools and solutions for implementation and mainstreaming.

For widespread species, as for example, many forest tree species, marine organisms and microbial pathogens of importance to, e. g., forestry and agriculture, regional or (sub-) national monitoring efforts can only be interpreted reliably if set into the distribution-range-wide context of reference datasets. Due to their transnational extent and importance, reference datasets can only be assembled by multilateral, international research collaborations. Thus, there are close links to the Nagoya Protocol, especially Art. 8 a-c and 9, which need to be considered – cp. Goal C and Target 12.

Data sources: Proposed data sources include publicly accessible repositories, as for example GBIF and INSDC.

Baseline: year of first reference dataset that represents the genetic diversity of a species.