From 4-6 February, 2013, the IUCN Environmental Law Centre held an informal seminar on marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The meeting brought together a group of 15 international legal, scientific and policy experts, including members of the Oceans Specialist Group of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, to prepare for the 2013 meeting of the UN Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (UN BBNJ Working Group), and in particular its Intersessional Workshop on Marine Genetic Resources that will be organized for 2-3 May in New York.
According to the recommendations coming from the 5th meeting of the UN BBNJ Working Group, two intersessional workshops will be organized in May 2013, one focusing on the issue of marine genetic resources and the other one addressing the issue of conservation and management tools for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction. The purpose of these two intersessional workshops is to improve the understanding of certain issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) and to clarify key questions as input for the 6th meeting of the UN BBNJ Working Group in August 2013. To successfully produce options for the Working Group to consider, both intersessional workshops will largely depend on the provision of scientific, technical and legal input by independent experts.
Issues that were discussed during the meeting included:
• Meaning and scope,
• Extent and types of research , uses and applications,
• Technological, environmental, social and economic aspects,
• Access-related issues,
• Types of benefits and benefit-sharing,
• Intellectual property rights issues,
• Global and regional regimes on genetic resources, experiences and best practices, and
• Exchange of information on research programmes regarding marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
As an output of the IUCN seminar, a series of background documents will be prepared in order to inform the UN process.