DOSI & Deep-Sea Genetic Resources: summary from PrepCom1
Deep-sea scientific research and genetic resources were in the spotlight at the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee meeting (PrepCom1) to develop a new international legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The DOSI Deep-Sea Genetic Resources Working Group submission was cited in various interventions at PrepCom1 (28 March – 8 April 2016, UN, New York) to highlight the role of marine science in developing options for the new instrument.
The PrepCom1 discussions on marine genetic resources in ABNJ covered a range of topics, such as:
- The need for a pragmatic/creative approach towards equitable benefit sharing that bridges divergent views on the applicability of the principle of common heritage of mankind and/or freedom of the high seas.
- The need to avoid creating obstacles that hinder marine scientific research, focusing on a ‘light’ regime that promoted research, development and the sharing of data and knowledge.
- The importance of capacity development and technology transfer to ensure that all can benefit.
- How data (e.g. digitised genetics information) will be incorporated in the scope.
A useful summary of the PrepCom1 can be found at http://www.iisd.ca/oceans/bbnj/prepcom1/ and http://blog.protectplanetocean.org/2016/04/un-takes-significant-step-towards-new.html.
The DOSI DGSR Working Group intends to continue to provide input to this critical international process, the second meeting of which will be held 26 August – 9 September 2016, and highlight the role of deep-sea science. We would like to further explore some of the issues raised in the survey (conducted to inform the submission), including how a new instrument can facilitate, not hinder, marine scientific research. The Working Group welcomes further input from INDEEP and DOSI to this work.
Kristina Gjerde, Harriet Harden-Davies and Elva Escobar (DOSI Deep-Sea Genetic Resources Leadership Team)