Leaders to discuss importance of digital technology to save biodiversity
Recognizing the importance of digital technology to save the world’s biodiversity resources, the 22nd meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA 22) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will zero in on Digital Sequence Information (DSI) for the first time.
DSI is a collection of deposited genetic information of various species in computers, gadgets, and databases from years of studies conducted.
For example, a researcher conducting a study on a particular species will gather genetic information and sequence analysis of gene information.
These information will later on be deposited to a database and be accessed by various individuals with various interests.
In the information age, when knowledge is considered a raw material, these genetic information, through the aid of emerging technologies such as synthetic biology using gene editing could be used for various commercial purposes.
This unregulated leeway of data access on genetic resources information raised concerns on the Access and Benefit Sharing under the Nagoya Protocol of the Convention.
Who owns the rights on these genetic information? How will products derived from the genetic resources affect existing trade and value chain arrangements?
SBSTTA Chair and Executive Director of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) Theresa Mundita S. Lim said that it is important for digital sequence information to be inclusive so that it would benefit many people, not only a few.
SBSTTA is an advisory body to the Convention on Biological Diversity, providing recommendations to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the convention and/or the Meeting of the Parties to the protocols.
To date, the Convention has two protocols—the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing and the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.