YU Hanzhi Talks about the Global Governance for Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resource: Demand, Progress and Reforming Paths
2023/6/15 11:18:00 本站

Wild plant genetic resources for food and agriculture serve as the foundation for human survival, and their protection and sustainable use are crucial. In order to conserve and ensure the sustainable use of all plant genetic resources for food and agriculture, and to fairly and equitably share the benefits arising from their use, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) and the Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences jointly organized ‘The Third Symposium on Conservation and Benefit Sharing of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture’ on May 23, 2023 in the International Exchange Center of Vegetable Research Institute of Beijing Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences.


Prof. YU Hanzhi from the School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University gave a keynote speech online, titled " Global governance for digital sequence information on genetic resources: Demand, progress and reforming paths ". The content is briefly shared as follows:

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Today I will talk about the topic of the global governance of the Digital Sequence Information (DSI). I think that every expert in today's discussion realize the value of DSI because it's not only very important for the agriculture and food safety, but also in many different industry and issue areas. However, we need to recognize that the global governance of demands of DSI is important because in the past half century, there are different kinds of international practice regarding to DSI from the conflict, open access to quite strict restrictions, and that DSI become more and more applied and used in the real rare scenarios. It becomes more important for how to harmonize this kind of different practices with some consensus on the global governance.



In the past 2 years of my research, we reviewed the progress of global governance for DSI and we recognize in fact there are different regimes which are working on this issue area. The first regime is the under the framework of FAO. Since the September 2012, especially since the 2017, the commission of genetic resource for food and agricultural started to formally discuss the DSI issue, but this is not the only platform that we're talking about the global governance for DSI.


The second regime that is really also important is the CBD, which is started a little bit later than FAO platform, but it had achieved a milestone last year that the DSI is adopted into the Kunming-Montreal global biodiversity framework and it even launched a global fund to think about how to implement the specific technical issues over a global governance for DSI.


Third, DSI has very important impact on WTO especially its trips because that the DSI has very close relationship with the future Intellectual property rights (IPR). There are also some discussions of DSI in this area and a little dialogue with the other 2 regimes.


It is very important that we have to recognize that in fact the 3 different elemental regimes have very different core norms objectives when dealing with this issue area. FAO’s framework is more focused on how to facilitate the data access and benefit sharing for global agendas. But for CBD’s agenda, although it's also talking about the multilateral access and benefit sharing, but it more prioritizes the rights on transnational access and use of DSI. And these 2 regimes have some dialogues already, but the problem is that both of them have not a so close dialogue with the 3rd regime, IPR. This cannot be ignored.


So in our research, we regard this problem as a quite problematic for the future. If global governance for DSI is fragmented and the different platform lack the close relationship and dialogue, then how to reform the path of global governance for DSI to achieve a consensus in the global level to address this, and to address the potential challenges behind it.


The first reform path we concluded as putting new wines in old bottles, which means that the 3 regimes continue to work separately, but there could be a huge obstacle because we now recognize that different country group have more tremendous conflicts regarding to their support on which elementary. And there are even more conflicts than the global governance for physical genetic resource. So we are thinking about how to coordinate the fragmented and the conflicting elemental regimes into one better cooperated system.


The second point is that the governance of DSI could be achieved by the new digital technology, because in the past 10 years of my research, we also see the global governance for human genetic information where we find that in fact there are many new digital technologies that can in fact do a lot to address the problem of trust, security and benefit sharing.


But this really needs the cooperation among the different platforms to work together, and it also need many pilot studies to address the specific issues. My article “Global Governance for Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resource: Demand, Progress and Reforming Paths” has just been published in Global Policy early this year. We’ll continue to find partners, corporations to push forward this framework and to develop more pilot studies with the global partners.


(Please note this text has not proofread by the speaker.)

Original Chinese Article: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/c4sVgMseMj9B7t5BM7vmyw

Translator: Sara

Checked by: Daisy

Editor: Sara    

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