Since our last update in September, few international developments have taken place in the field of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) on genetic resources. Negotiations on DSI were planned to take place during the resumed, physical session of the OEWG-3 in January 2022. However, due to the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, this meeting had to be postponed, possibly to March 2022.
As previously explained, an international discussion is currently taking place on whether the utilisation of DSI on genetic resources should be subject to Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) obligations, and various policy options on possible ways to deal with access to and benefit-sharing from the utilisation of DSI have been developed.
During the Third Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (OEWG-3), held online from 23 August to 3, September 2021, widely diverging views were expressed on access to and benefit-sharing from the utilisation of DSI, ranging from applying the same ABS rules to DSI as to genetic resources, to no monetary benefit-sharing arising from the utilisation of DSI. The EU and its Member States are of the opinion that the principle of "open access" to DSI in the public domain must be preserved, and that any possible future solution for DSI should not lead to hindering this open access nor negatively affect the open science model.
Negotiations in 2022
Negotiations on DSI were planned to take place during the resumed, physical session of the OEWG-3 in Geneva in January 2022. The results of the Geneva meeting would be discussed during the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP-15), which, after a formal virtual opening in October 2021, would mainly take place in April-May 2022 as a physical meeting in Kunming, China. It was expected that decisions on DSI would be made during this Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD. However, due to the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Geneva meeting had to be postponed, possibly to March 2022. This means that COP-15 will probably be postponed to the second half of 2022.
In the meantime, the Dutch ABS Competent National Authority (Ms Kim van Seeters; firstname.lastname@example.org) remains interested in hearing the experiences of Dutch stakeholders with DSI and their opinions on the DSI policy options described in previous articles (Policy options for Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) and Digital Sequence Information and Progress on Digital Sequence Information (DSI)).