Scope - Marine Genetic Resources, including benefit sharing

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From the report of the BBNJ Preparatory Committee, 31/07/17 :

The text would set out the geographical and material scope of application of this section of the instrument.

From the President's Aid to Discussion 25/06/2018:

(a) The manner in which the geographical scope of application of this section would be reflected in the instrument. Would the scope cover marine genetic resources:

(i) Of the Area and the high seas, or of the Area or the high seas?

(ii) That straddle and/or overlap with areas within national jurisdictions?

(b) The manner in which respect for the rights and jurisdiction of coastal States over all areas under their national jurisdiction, including the continental shelf within and beyond 200 nautical miles and the exclusive economic zone, would be reflected in the instrument.

(c) The manner in which the material scope of application of this section of the instrument would be reflected in the instrument. Elements to consider may include:

(i) Would a distinction be made in the instrument between use of fish and other biological resources for research into their genetic properties and their use as a commodity? What would be the practical consequences of such a distinction?

(ii) Other than marine genetic resources collected in situ, would the instrument also apply to ex situ marine genetic resources and to in silico marine genetic resources and digital sequence data? What would be the practical consequences of these options?

(iii) Would the instrument apply to derivatives?

Suggestion 1: ABS covers MGR originating in the high seas and the Area[edit | edit source]

The agreement covers MGR originating in all areas beyond national jurisdiction.

Note: it will be difficult to implement a system that distinguishes between marine genetic resources found in the deep seabed and subsoil and those found in the water column.  It is not straightforward to determine whether a species is found on the seabed or in the water column at the time of access. Many organisms may move between these spaces at different points in their life cycles, and information about this is largely lacking.

Suggestion 2: Distinguish between resources harvested as commodities and resources harvested for MGR[edit | edit source]

The agreement would cover all biological resources used for the purpose of their genetic resources. It would exclude resources used as commodities.

References: Convention on Biological Diversity; Nagoya Protocol.

Suggestion 3: ABS covers in situ and ex situ MGR and related data[edit | edit source]

Clarify that ABS regime covers access to MGR in situ and ex situ.

Note: Excluding ex situ would leave a loophole where MGR are taken from the sea as commodities and subsequently accessed for the purpose of genetic research.

References: Norwegian Biobank Marbank

Suggestion 4: Digital Sequence Information[edit | edit source]

The scope of this agreement in relation to digital sequence information should align with the results of the discussion under the CBD and Nagoya Protocol.

References: CBD COP Decision XIII/16, “Digital sequence information on genetic resources”.

Also see[edit | edit source]