BMUB holds meeting about the Nagoya Protocol’s impact on digital sequence information
On 29 November, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) held a meeting with various stakeholders at the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation in Bonn to discuss whether digital sequence information (DSI) falls within the scope of the Nagoya Protocol, and the consequences this would have for research. The key issue under discussion was whether DSI should be subject to the same access and benefit-sharing (ABS) regulations as genetic material. A survey of organisations from science and industry was presented, which showed how strongly publicly funded science in particular would be affected if DSI were to be included under the Nagoya Protocol, thereby requiring authorisation to be obtained for the publication of sequence information. The survey’s findings were supported by representatives of various collections and scientific institutions as well as the German Research Foundation (DFG). Furthermore, BIO Deutschland made it clear that restricting the use and benefit-sharing of DSI would also create problems for industrial users in research that would be difficult to solve (see also the International Chamber of Commerce assessment). Representatives of various federal ministries outlined the extent to which their work and research funding would be impacted by such restrictions. In addition, a legal opinion was presented at the meeting that concluded DSI did not fall within the scope of the Nagoya Protocol. The BMUB pointed out that the topic also has a political dimension. The question of how to proceed with DSI and ABS will be re-addressed at the next Conference of the Parties meeting in 2018.
Further information on this topic is available at the following websites:
Convention on Biological Diversity: www.cbd.int/abs/dsi-gr.shtml
International Chamber of Commerce: iccwbo.org/publication/digital-sequence-information-and-the-nagoya-protocol