SfAM responds to convention on biological diversity - News & Features

13 September 2017
SfAM responds to convention on biological diversity

In December 2016, parties to the international Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) discussed how the generation and use of digital sequence information (DSI), for example whole genome sequences or metagenomic data, fits within the CBD’s 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.

Specifically, an agreement was sought on whether DSI should be included within the scope of the Nagoya Protocol. Currently, such data are not considered to be part of the Nagoya Protocol. This has prompted developing countries to call for its inclusion and for the establishment of an international mechanism to regulate the access and sharing of benefits from the use of DSI

Major implications

Such a step would have profound effects on research and development across the globe. Therefore, it was decided that the potential implications of the use and regulation of DSI would be considered at the next international meeting in November 2018. To prepare for this, the Secretariat to the CBD released a call for stakeholder views to support the work of an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources.

Earlier this month, we submitted our position to the CBD Secretariat and the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). In it we express our support for the principles behind ensuring the fair and equitable use of genetic resources and associated DSI. In addition, our position outlines some practical considerations relevant to microbiology, regarding the generation, publication and utilisation of DSI. You can find a copy of our position statement here. All comments are welcome, please send these to the Policy Officer.