ICC Comments on “Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources – Addendum”

This paper sets out ICC’s comments on the Convention on Biological Diversity note on “Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources – Addendum” (CBD/WG2020/3/4/add.1).

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) supports the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and fair and equitable benefit sharing that will support and encourage conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity, and also agrees that capacity building should be reinforced to help all countries create value and derive knowledge from genetic resources and DSI. It is ICC’s firm conviction that open access and exchange of “DSI” in the public domain must be preserved to achieve these goals.

ICC strongly urges for a broader assessment and review of the current approach to implementing ABS which is hindering, rather than supporting, the creation and sharing of value and benefits from genetic resources and should not be further expanded to cover DSI.

With regard to the current process, ICC would like to stress the crucial need to integrate the experience and perspectives of potential users from the private and public sector –  this will be important in each step of the process.

ICC believes that many of the criteria proposed are relevant and agree that it is important for any potential system to facilitate research and innovation. Several of the other criteria identified are necessary for this purpose, such as the preservation of open access to public databases, legal clarity and certainty for implementation, technical feasibility, administrative simplicity, and ease of understanding and workability for users and providers.

The paper also highlights some risks of the proposed methodology. A common understanding on some fundamental issues, such as the definition and scope of “DSI”, is needed to provide the foundation on which to base decisions. Alignment on what “fair and equitable” means to Parties, and on the purpose and goal of benefit sharing, would also help provide a common framework for discussions. Given the importance of ensuring that any system delivers more value than it costs to set up, implement and maintain, a proper cost effectiveness assessment is crucial before narrowing down options.

Read the ICC Statement Towards a New Implementation Strategy for Access and Benefit Sharing” (5 October 2020)

Also have a look at ICC Comments on the First Draft of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework

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