At the international meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Nagoya Protocol decisions were adopted on digital sequence information on genetic resources (these can be found online here: Decision XIII/16 and Decision 2/14. In these decisions Parties to the agreements agreed to consider any potential implications of the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources for the three objectives of the Convention, and for the objective of the Nagoya Protocol, at the next international meeting taking place in November 2018.
Ahead of next year’s meeting Parties, other Governments, indigenous peoples and local communities, and relevant organizations and stakeholders are invited to submit views and relevant information on any potential implications of the use of DSI on genetic resources for the three objectives of the Convention and for the objective of the Nagoya Protocol.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has been in force since 1993 and has three objectives: the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.
In order to further implement the third objective of the CBD, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Nagoya Protocol) was adopted in 2010 and came into force on October 12, 2014. The Nagoya Protocol aims at increasing legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources.
Digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources is not currently considered within the scope of the Nagoya Protocol. However in recent years developing countries have been pressing for it to be included and to establish an international mechanism for regulating access and sharing the benefits of DSI. Many developing countries are concerned that the use of digital sequence information could undermine the Nagoya Protocol’s aim to ensure the sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way.
Before any decision can or will be taken more information is needed to understand the potential implications of including DSI under the Nagoya Protocol, i.e. what the implication for research and development would be without open access to data. To ensure we can take a well-informed decision we are encouraging UK stakeholders to submit their views.
One recent article which provides some further background about this issue can be found here:
Request for Information
The CBD Secretariat has requested that views and relevant information be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than 8th September 2017. Please note that submissions should be sent through an official letter addressed to the Executive Secretary by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Defra would also be very keen to receive any formal or informal views from stakeholders about this topic by 7th July 2017.
The CBD Secretariat is also advertising a call for expressions of interest from researchers or teams of researchers interested in undertaking the fact-finding and scoping study on this topic in October & November 2017. More information.
Similarly, this year the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture established a new work stream on “digital sequence information on genetic resources for food and agriculture”. It is also inviting Members to submit information on the use of “digital sequence information on genetic resources for food and agriculture” and potential implications for the conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources for food and agriculture, including exchange, access, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from their use. Information submitted to the Commission is also expected to feed into considerations on DSI under the CBD.
If you have specific views on DSI in the context of food and agriculture please let Holly Kelley-Weil, Head of International Ecosystems know by 7th July 2017. email@example.com
To discuss this issue further Defra is also planning to organise a stakeholder workshop this August, on either the 3rd or 4th.
More information on Nagoya Protocol and Access and Benefit Sharing is available here
We will also be discussing the Nagoya Protocol at our annual conference in 2018, more details to follow.