Highlights for Friday, 23 August 2019
Hawksbill sea turtle from the Bahamas, photo by Marcelo Halpern
The third session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) met on Friday, 23 August 2019, in an informal working group on marine genetic resources (MGRs), including benefit-sharing. Delegates also met in two closed-door “informal-informals” to discuss MGRs, and environmental impact assessments (EIAs). Highlights of the day include:
Informal-informals on MGRs, with discussions focusing on monitoring the use of MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction;
Informal-informals on EIAs, focusing on thresholds and criteria, including discussions on the assessment of activities within national jurisdiction that may cause pollution or harm to the marine environment; and
Discussions in an open informal working group on MGRs on the objectives and scope related to MGRs, including considerations on whether or not to include fish, digital sequencing information, and derivates in the new High Seas treaty.
At the beginning of the session, Janine Coye-Felson (Belize), Facilitator of the informal working group on MGRs, provided an overview of the closed-door discussions related to access to MGRs and benefit-sharing. She highlighted differing views on access, including on, inter alia: its definition, with some preferring not defining access at all; regulation modalities, with delegates favoring, inter alia, free and unimpeded access, subject to prior notification, or subject to a licensing system; and applicability regarding MGRs ex situ and in silico. On benefit-sharing, opinions differed on, among others: the qualifiers of benefit-sharing; activities triggering benefit-sharing; and its voluntary or mandatory nature.
In the corridors, one seasoned observer reflected on the need for flexibility: “The thing to keep in mind is that no one is going to be totally pleased with the final outcome.” Delegates left for the day, planning to do lots of homework over the weekend as well as attend a couple of interesting workshops, which could provide information and, crucially, language to bridge the chasms that still exist in the negotiations.For more details on the day’s negotiations and to hear what delegates said in the corridors, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
IISD Reporting Services, through its ENB Meeting Coverage, has provided daily web coverage, daily reports, and a summary and analysis report from BBNJ IGC-3. The summary and analysis report is now available in HTML and PDF.
Photos by IISD/ENB | Francis Dejon
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Informal Working Group
L-R: IGC President Rena Lee, Singapore, Janine Coye-Felson, Belize, Facilitator of the informal working group on MGRs; and Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, Director, UN Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS)
L-R: Charlotte Salpin, Bingzhuo Li, and Bart Smit Duijzentkunst, UNDOALOS
Barbara Boechat, Brazil, on behalf of the Like-Minded Latin American Countries
John Fintakpa Lamega, Togo
Juliette Babb-Riley, Barbados, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Konrad Marciniak, EU
Huang Yingni, China
Felizardo Pulumbarit, the Philippines
Matthías Pálsson, Iceland
Coumba Gaye, Senegal
Hiroko Muraki Gottlieb, International Council of Environmental Law
Adem Bilgin, Turkey
Delegates from the EU in consultation
Blaise Kuemlangan, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO)
Salaseini Tagicakibau, Fiji
Gabrielle Chin, New Zealand
Sergey Leonidchenko, Russian Federation
Hussain Sinan, Maldives
Evan Bloom, US
Mardhiah Ridha Farid, Indonesia
Duncan Currie, High Seas Alliance
Marco D'Alessandro, Switzerland
Fuad Bateh, Palestine, on behalf of the G-77/China
Ali Nasimfar, Iran
Tilani Silva, Sri Lanka
Natthakit Singto, Thailand
Lionel Yee, Singapore
Janine Coye-Felson, Belize, Facilitator of the informal working group on MGRs
Delegates from Indonesia reviewing draft text
L-R: Paul Susman, European Commission, with Guido Genrich, Germany
Delegates from Chile and Mexico discussing provisions on MGRs after the informal working group.
Delegates from Senegal and Togo
L-R: Panelists from the side event on “Transnational cooperation for addressing BBNJ, empirical lessons of small island developing states” with Joseph Appiott, Convention on Biological Diversity; Carole Claire Durussel, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies; Landisang Kotaro, Palau; Masanori Kobayashi, Ocean Policy Research Institute of the Sasakawa Peace Foundation; and Nicholas Chan, Palau