Policy options on possible ways to deal with access to and benefit-sharing from the utilisation of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) on genetic resources have been assessed on the basis of a performance matrix, with criteria focusing on effectiveness, efficiency, good governance and coherence. Various assessments indicate that the multilateral options score better than the bilateral ones. The options will be further discussed during Conference on Biological Diversity (CBD) meetings in December, and it is expected that important decisions on DSI will be taken there. You can still provide input by joining the online stakeholder meeting (23 Nov) or emailing the Dutch ABS Competent National Authority.
During the past few years, an international discussion has been taking place on whether the utilisation of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) on genetic resources should be subject to Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) obligations, like the utilisation of genetic resources already is. The main discussion forum is the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with other international ABS instruments mostly awaiting the outcomes there.
Various policy options have been developed on possible ways to deal with access to and benefit-sharing from the utilisation of DSI on genetic resources. To assess the different policy options, a multi-criteria framework has been developed, with the criteria focusing on effectiveness, efficiency, good governance and coherence. A performance matrix was made to assess to what extent the policy options fulfil these criteria.
Assessment of the policy options
It was originally envisaged that a consultant would make an independent assessment of the proposed policy options, but the consultant was not able to fulfil this assignment. A first assessment has now been made by the Informal Advisory Group on DSI, which was established in 2021 to advance the DSI discussions. The results of this assessment can be found in this document and in the report of the chairs of the Informal Advisory Group on DSI.
The results of this initial assessment show that the multilateral policy options score better on the identified criteria than the bilateral ones, which is in agreement with the position that the Netherlands and the EU are taking. It must be borne in mind, however, that not all Parties of the CBD are involved in the Informal Advisory Group, and that the assessment has no formal status.
Also of interest to you may be the analysis of the options made by the international DSI Scientific Network, which was created in 2020 to help give the research community a voice in the DSI discussions. In this analysis as well, the multilateral options score better than the bilateral ones.
Important CBD meeting in December
From 7-19 December 2022, the second part of Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP-15) will be held in Montreal, Canada, and it is expected that important decisions on DSI will be taken in this meeting. To prepare for COP-15, a short fifth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (OEWG-5), in which DSI will also be discussed, will be held in Montreal from 3-5 December.
How to provide input?
To prepare for COP-15, an online stakeholder meeting will be organised on 23 November. In this meeting, there will not only be the possibility to discuss DSI, but also various other important agenda items of COP-15, in particular the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, an ambitious plan to bring about a global policy change with respect to biodiversity. The objective of this stakeholder meeting is to inform you on the process towards COP15 and to offer you the opportunity to provide input to the Dutch delegation for COP-15. You can register for the meeting through this registration form.
On the subject of DSI, you can also make your views known directly to the Dutch ABS Competent National Authority (Ms Kim van Seeters; email@example.com). It would, for instance, be very helpful if you could share your own assessment of the policy options, especially by filling in the performance matrix and sending your filled-in matrix and any comments you may have to Ms Kim van Seeters.
- DSI policy options and their assessment (pdf)
- Assessment by the Informal Advisory Group on DSI (pdf)
- Analysis by the DSI Scientific Network (pdf)