Discussion forum on DSI policy options

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Discussion forum on policy options for digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources.

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2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2045]
Criteria are useful for assessing policy options for Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources in a systematic, consistent and methodical way. A proposed criteria framework for assessing the policy options was presented in webinar 4 (see summary in figure 2 in attached document).

Questions to guide the discussion

1. What are your views on the proposed criteria framework?

2. Are there important criteria or considerations that are currently missing?
posted on 2021-04-15 15:58 UTC by Mr. Matthew DIAS, Afghanistan
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2049]
In any possible model there are three components relating to the flow of monetary benefits: collection, distribution and use.  Overarching are perhaps governance / compliance monitoring and (DSI) data management. Much of the discussion so far has been focussed on means of collection, less on the means of distribution, and virtually none on use (which in the ABS bilateral system is entirely at the provider country discretion). When considering criteria it is important to understand to which components the criteria chiefly apply. Thus ‘contributes to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity’ applies particularly to use and, in some options for a multilateral fund distribution system (e.g. project based), to the distribution. Feasibility criteria apply far more to the collection component. Existing infrastructures can apply to collection, distribution, governance and data management, but in different ways. In discussion it will be helpful to indicate where the criteria are most applicable.
posted on 2021-04-21 14:52 UTC by Dr. Christopher Lyal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
This is a reply to 2049 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2051]
"Bounded Openness over Natural Information" addresses all three components relating to the flow of monetary benefits:

Collection: Royalty percentages are negotiated by type of utilization and will reflect "economic rents".  The royalties are only collected ex post commercialization of a good that utilizes natural information and enjoys a limited-in-time monopoly intellectual property right. Once royalty income surpasses the expected costs of determining the geographic diffusion of the natural information, distribution can proceed.

Distribution: Countries receive a share of royalty income proportional to habitat. Should the natural information be ubiquitous or should the income in escrow never meet the threshold to surpass the costs of the aforementioned determination, then the income is disbursed to international taxonomy endeavors, which are integral to the modality.

Use:  "Bounded Openness over Natural Information" promotes conservation through the alignment of incentives rather than through the designated finance of projects, which is known as "earmarking". Tremendous conservation can be achieved by not opening highways, draining wetlands and damming waterways. Under the proposed "Bounded Openness", should a country open highways, etc., its claims will diminish as the habitats shrink. The other ABS proposals do not so align incentives; a Party could simultaneously open a highway and enjoy the earmarked ABS project. Two other problems also belie earmarking: non-optimal allocation of public monies and fungibility (aka "adverse selection"). The conservation project may not have the highest social return and/or may have been financed anyway.

My co-authors and I explain these economics in this OP-ED published in a WTO affiliated news outlet in English, French and Portuguese:

“‘Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing’ in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework”, Manuel Ruiz Muller, Joseph Henry Vogel, Klaus Angerer and Nicolas Pauchard, Op-Ed, Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), 11 December 2019,

English: https://trade4devnews.enhancedif.org/en/op-ed/access-genetic-resources-benefit-sharing
French: https://trade4devnews.enhancedif.org/fr/op-ed/lacces-aux-ressources-genetiques-et-le-partage-des-avantages-dans-le-cadre-mondial-de-la
Portuguese: https://trade4devnews.enhancedif.org/pt/op-ed/acesso-recursos-geneticos-e-partilha-de-beneficios-no-quadro-global-para-biodiversidade-pos
posted on 2021-04-22 04:06 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2052]
What do you think about criteria related to Access and ease of implementation and operation? 

Not belittling the one on benefit sharing...
posted on 2021-04-23 14:58 UTC by Mr. Basile van Havre, Canada
This is a reply to 2052 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2053]
The ABS modality should not encumber access. The reasons for openness are multiple: (1) enhanced probability of successful commercial utilization that enjoys limited-in-time monopoly intellectual property (2) minimization of the transactions costs in obtaining natural information and (3) elimination of "jurisdiction shopping", which includes not just genetic resources, but also re-location of labor and capital. 

N.B. Access has always been unencumbered in the non-Party and I am not talking about the Holy See. Should the modality require the PIC and MAT of bilateral agreements, then users will access genetic resources in the non-Party. One should also note that should a genetic resource from a Party find its way, by hook or by crook, into the non-Party, then the natural information therein becomes res nullius (Moore v. Regents of University of California (1990) 51 C3d 120).

The Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental (SPDA) was the first to sound the alarm about "jurisdiction shopping", which was repeated in the WiLDSI Project without attribution.  Parties and stakeholders would do well to revisit the submissions of new and emerging issues, suggested to the SBSTTA in 2015 and 2017.

(cc) 2021. Joseph Henry Vogel

“Preventing ‘Jurisdiction Shopping’ for Transboundary Resources in a NonParty: The Case of Puerto Rico.” Submission on New and Emerging Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity SBSTTA (13). Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental. 8 September 2015.
English: https://www.cbd.int/doc/emerging-issues/PeruvianSocietyEnvLaw-JurisdictionShopping-2015-en.pdf

"Lawful Avoidance of ABS: Jurisdiction Shopping and Selection of non-Genetic-Material Media for Transmission" In response to “Proposals for new and emerging issues for SBSTTA-21 and COP-14” (SCBD/OIC/DC/RH/84326). Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental. 1 May 2017.
English: https://www.cbd.int/doc/emerging-issues/SPDA-submission2017-05-en.pdf
Spanish:. https://www.cbd.int/doc/emerging-issues/SPDA-submission2017-05-es.pdf
posted on 2021-04-23 21:35 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
This is a reply to 2052 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2056]
Regarding access to the data:
Open access is critical to all users, whether commercial or non-commercial, and in whatever country they are based. The data have to be discoverable and ideally accessible through a limited number of portals with the same properties and requirements (or lack of them). The more conditions are placed on access to the data the less such access is facilitated, the more R&D is hindered, the more barriers there are in the use of DSI for conservation and sustainable use and to support SDGs. Open access also supports the delivery of fair and equitable benefits from the utilisation of GR, given that the delivery of DSI as a result of research on GR can itself be considered a non-monetary benefit in some circumstances, providing tools for monitoring and managing biodiversity – this has been explored extensively in submissions to the CBD. However, the explanation of open access given by the Secretariat in the webinar was very inclusive, including the potential for registration (i.e. having to sign in at every use, which presumably requires a system emplaced by the databases to record what the user does). Other definitions of open access exclude such registration. If registration is required prior to view or download, there is a natural consequence that data sharing (to someone who has not registered) would be restricted. Such a restriction is likely to hinder use, for example in biodiversity monitoring and management.  It will be important to maintain clarity on how the term is used in discussion, because different understandings of the term can have very different downstream properties and constraints.
posted on 2021-04-27 07:58 UTC by Dr. Christopher Lyal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
This is a reply to 2052 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2057]
Basile [#2052] raises a crucial question which has a practical and a theoretical dimension. The theoretical is closely linked with the possible definitions of ‘DSI’ discussed in the last AHTEG report on ‘DSI’ (CBD/DSI/AHTEG/2020/1/7): the more inclusive the definition, the more difficult it will get to define a clear cut-off points for access to specific data elements. Genes and proteins are not unique to individual organisms or species but widely shared across both, which is also the case for metabolites and protein biosynthesis pathways. It will be very difficult to find proper access points for example for ‘DSI’ in group 3 (see table 1 CBD/DSI/AHTEG/2020/1/7). This has not only practical consequences for the discussed policy options and items 6-9 of the proposed criteria framework discussed in DSI webinar 4 (https://www.cbd.int/np/dsi4.pdf), but also for the temporal and geographic scope of the CBD, as Basile pointed out (criteria related to access).

This is even more difficult for the broad concept of ‘Natural information’ [cf. #2051] however this should or can be defined. Even though the bounded-openness model has a very good and pragmatic approach, this is one of its key deficiencies that cannot be resolved easily.
A strongly decoupled approach is surely required for ‘DSI’ accessed on INSDC platforms. Chris [#2056] raised potential hassles linked with requiring ‘registration’ to access ‘DSI’ on INSDC. However, it remains unclear how ‘DSI’ outside INSDC databases and specifically in private (closed) databases could potentially be regulated under currently discussed policy options, and how tools could possibly be implemented for such datasets. Most policy options are focussed on information provided by the available scoping studies, but for obvious reason these have to work with openly accessible information without covering closed databases, as was clearly stated in some of the studies.

Chris [#2056] also raised an important point that more barriers surely are disadvantageous not only for reaching the SDGs and for the delivery for non-monetary benefits (cf. point III on key areas for capacity building in the AHTEG report on ‘DSI’, CBD/DSI/AHTEG/2020/1/7), but would make it difficult or even impossible to measure and monitor many of the post-2020 GBF indicators.

Taking all this together, it seems worth looking at functional and dysfunctional elements of current access systems, to understand why these tools or systems work – or not. This can be matched with the key considerations a pragmatic system requires to handle ‘DSI’. From a pragmatic point of view, a rather decoupled multilateral system – that considers the operating costs of INSDC databases – might be preferable for ‘DSI’ held in databases.

Gerd Winter reviewed benefit sharing in a decoupled multilateral system under point 3.2.3 which might be a good starting point for further considerations (http://lead-journal.org/content/a1706.pdf). Even though this may be incomplete, this approach considers basic elements (e.g. non-monetary BS, monetary BS and acknowledging maintenance cost for INSDC infrastructures).
posted on 2021-04-27 20:05 UTC by Dirk Neumann, Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities / Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2058]
Monitoring and managing biodiversity (#2056) is vital for the conservation of biodiversity. Both require extensive knowledge about biodiversity, a knowledge that usually does not provide economically exploitable products (nor monetary benefits). Creating this knowledge is likely affected by criterion No. 1 for evaluating policy options, i.e. “delivers fair and equitable benefits from DSI”. At present I see a strong focus on delivering monetary benefits (policy options; #2049), it is possible that this focus generates the notion that only monetary benefits are fair benefits. Consequently, criterion No 1 could discard policy options that offer the possibility to use DSI for creating solely new knowledge for the conservation of biodiversity, without any monetary benefit. Then monitoring and managing biodiversity would become less successful, due to a slow growth of new knowledge about biodiversity, now burdened with an obligation to provide monetary benefits. In view of this scenario, some consideration could be directed at exempting the creation of knowledge about biodiversity, if it does not provide economically exploitable products, from future regulations for DSI.

On a more general level, criterion No. 1 seems elusive because it does not contain guiding principles and background information for evaluating what constitutes fairness and equitability. Of course, it is easy to agree that everyone seeks fairness and equitability. But the notion what exactly is fair and equitable may be subject to individual and social differences. Without guiding principles, it may be hard to apply criterion No. 1 to policy options. In fact, it may be much harder to apply it to policy options than applying it to any specific action (e.g. using specific DSI for a single specific purpose), or applying it as overarching principle. Just consider a non-DSI example: it seems easy to agree on the general principle that fairness is important within a family; it seems easy again to agree that one specific action within the family is fair, e.g. that today the husband empties the garbage bin; – but introducing a policy “the husband empties the garbage bin every morning” – how would you evaluate the fairness of this or any other policy, without applying guiding principles and background information? An easy solution for criterion No. 1 would be to shorten it to “delivers benefits from DSI”, a more challenging solution would be amending criterion No. 1 with guiding principles and background information for evaluating fairness and equitability. (Besides, criterion No. 9, i.e. “just”, may provide a similar challenge)
posted on 2021-04-27 22:29 UTC by Edmund Schiller, Collections/Museums
This is a reply to 2056 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2061]
On open access I think Chris Lyal is right that this may mean different things to different people. However, in science policy (notably for funding bodies) consensus appears to be converging around implementation of the FAIR principles that data be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. Each of the FAIR principles has important requirements to meet the criteria of being FAIR including unique identifiers, that data has a clear reuse licence and is accompanied by detailed provenance and meets domain relevant community standards. Researchers are increasingly being required to ensure their data and publications meet those standards and it seems reasonable to expect that trend will accelerate.

On open access and registration. It is common practice for users to be required to register for databases and APIs (application programming interface or webservices). In part this is because service providers need to be able to generate data on who their users are (to help demonstrate value to funders) and also for security reasons. In the case of API access (programmatic access to databases which allow for large scale downloads or automated updates) registration and use of an access token is normally required. One of the reasons for this is security to avoid random unknown people accessing systems and potentially causing chaos. Even where registration and a token are not required it is common community good practice for the user to include their email address when making remote calls to databases (in case something goes wrong, it means the user and service provider can communicate).

Registration is not necessarily an obstacle to open access. Thus, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) allows users to access and explore its website without registration. However, if a user wants to download data basic registration is required (e.g. using a free ORCID researcher account). I think the likely reason for this is that GBIF bundles the data into downloads that take some time to generate and the user then receives notification and a link to a download including a doi (citable persistent document identifier) and suggested citation for the dataset (recognition is important for GBIF data providers... mainly collections). In the case of API calls to GBIF services (using rgbif or other packages) the user has to authenticate (login) when making calls to the API.  Other services that provide APIs may provide a no registration API service with limited download capacity but require users to register for higher rates of access (whether free or paid). That is a pretty common approach as it helps to attract users. 

The INSDC databases (and maybe some others) are rather unusual in not requiring user registration for either direct download or remote download, although that merits further exploration. Thus, the NCBI Entrez programming utilities follow the pattern of allowing users limited API access without registration. However, for higher level access an email address is required and from 2018 a token has been required (details here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK25497/). In addition, as I understand it, those depositing data with INSDC databases are required to provide their name and contact details to help facilitate curation activities over the longer term (as discussed in Oldham 2020 Digital Sequence Information - Technical Aspects, for the Biosamples database).

So, I think registration and open access to data are not incompatible with each other. Registration is often about security and the ability to regulate demand on IT services in an organised way. As Chris is I think suggesting, the different meanings of open access need further exploration. In addition, I would also suggest that science and funder policies on FAIR data and the practicalities of running systems require more attention.

Wilkinson et al 2016 The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Nature Scientific Data. https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2016.18
posted on 2021-04-28 08:10 UTC by Paul Oldham, One World Analytics
This is a reply to 2061 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2063]
To reinforce the points made by Paul Oldham, I can confirm that some years ago GBIF Governing Board agreed to require registration for certain services on GBIF.org including data downloads, while keeping the search functions on the portal entirely open and available without registration. In fact the API services are also fully open apart from the 'download API' which does require registration.

The reasons for requiring registration for downloads were very much those identified by Paul, e.g. 1) avoiding spam/bot download requests which could overload our processing capacity as well as impose a high energy cost and associated emissions; 2) ability to notify registered users when downloads are ready, including a recommended citation using a DOI crediting all contributing datasets; 3) personalised services to allow users to view previous downloads and add default settings, and 4) ability to generate metrics e.g. on downloads per country which are very helpful in reflecting the patterns of use of our global infrastructure.

The information provided on registration is covered by a strict privacy policy (see https://www.gbif.org/terms/privacy-policy) modelled on the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which transparently describes the limited purposes for which we will process personal data.

In general, we have found that the requirement for user registration for downloads does not interfere with GBIF's overriding commitment to provide free and open access to primary biodiversity data, and is widely accepted as a reasonable step which improves the services we are able to offer to our users. We would therefore take the view that solutions regarding DSI that require user registration would be compatible with open access principles so long as the information requested is limited, justified and transparent, with appropriate privacy safeguards.

I hope this helps to clarify this point based on the GBIF experience.

(from Tim Hirsch, Deputy Director, GBIF)
(edited on 2021-04-28 10:06 UTC by Tim Hirsch)
posted on 2021-04-28 10:01 UTC by Tim Hirsch, Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Secretariat
This is a reply to 2063 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2064]
One more thought about registration in the context of open access.  Paul Oldham and Tim Hirsch are correct in identifying reasons why a fairly light touch registration system might be employed by databases. However, the point in question is what functions registration would have in a benefit sharing modality for DSI, and the implications of these for the relevant stakeholders. I can see two additional functions that are implicit in models where benefit sharing it triggered by use of DSI. 1) to identify the user, so that there can be later communication / checks to ensure benefit-sharing has taken place; this presumably would involve the database owners having to pass the information on the third parties when appropriate. 2) to inform the user of the terms and conditions that apply to use of the DSI. This might be as simple information provision, or a requirement before access to the data is permitted. These seem to go rather beyond the functionalities outlined by Paul and Tim.
posted on 2021-04-28 12:00 UTC by Dr. Christopher Lyal, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
This is a reply to 2057 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2065]
One reason for the slow uptake of "bounded openness" is that "natural information" has been taboo in the ABS discussion. Transitivity in logic may reveal why: natural information invites the economics of information which justifies economic rents. In other words, rents are the real taboo. Users prefer that we talk about non-monetary benefits rather than commensurable royalty percentages, as the latter may be as low as 0.1% (Brazilian 205 ABS Legislation).

The commissioned Concept Study #1 evidences the natural-information taboo and decouples definitions from policy options in its introduction. "Natural information" does not appear once, despite the refereed literature and favorable mention in views submitted by the African Group. My peer review of Concept Study #1 fell on deaf ears, albeit predictably so (https://www.cbd.int/abs/DSI-peer/2019/Study1/JosephHenryVogel.pdf).

Reductionism is powerful in crafting a definition that is both broad and discriminating. One can draw insight from the Shannon equation of mathematical information theory or the isomorphic Boltzmann equation of physics.  Going beyond or, better said, below genes and proteins, we have

Natural Information (biotic)   =   Any unintentional distinction, non-uniformity or difference extracted from matter that is living or was once alive.        
Natural Information (abiotic) =   Complement of Natural Information (biotic) with respect to that which is not living and was never alive.                                
Artificial Information = Any human-made distinction, non-uniformity or difference that is intentional.


The definitions generate implications, which are sometimes counterintuitive.  One is that the diffusion of natural information across taxa is not the problem that it may at first appear. In the bounded-openness modality, determination of the diffusion occurs only when  the royalty income collected exceeds the expected costs of the determination.  This was first expressed in Chapter 9 "Finance" of my Genes For Sale (Oxford University Press 1994, pp. 86-87). For ubiquitous species as well as for those where the expected costs of determination are greater than the royalties ever collected,  the income in escrow goes to the requisite infrastructure and then taxonomy. Because the number of such cases will be significant, the system not only quickly self-finances but also contributes greatly to taxonomy, which is a grossly underfunded "public good" in the economic sense of that term. I emphasized this point at the Second International Conference of iBOL, Mexico City, 7-12 November 2009 (video: https://vimeo.com/10721027) and in two related publications:

“iBOL as an Enabler of ABS and ABS as an Enabler of iBOL.” Pages 38-47 of Proceedings of the Seminar “Barcoding of Life: Society and Technology Dynamics – Global and National Perspectives” UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/9/15, 10 March 2009 http://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/abs/abswg-09/information/abswg-09-inf-15-en.pdf

“Barcoding Life to Conserve Biological Diversity: beyond the Taxonomic Imperative,” Vernooy R, Haribabu E, Muller MR, Vogel JH, Hebert PDN, et al. 2010 Barcoding Life to Conserve Biological Diversity: Beyond the Taxonomic Imperative. PLoS Biol 8(7): e1000417. 13 July 2010. http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000417

(cc) 2021. Joseph Henry Vogel
posted on 2021-04-28 13:11 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
This is a reply to 2064 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2067]
... and adding to Chris [#2064], introduction of a registration process for INSDC databases would not resolve the inclusion of 'DSI' uses in closed databases, which use this very instrument, to kepp this data privat. Even so registration might be useful for some reasons, in this specific case the only use seems to be to trace data transfer/communication between open and closed databases. But how would this help to improve benefit sharing from actors with commercial interest in 'DSI'?
posted on 2021-04-28 15:23 UTC by Dirk Neumann, Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities / Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections
This is a reply to 2058 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2068]
Edmund's preference for "exempting the creation of knowledge about biodiversity" is intrinsic to "bounded openness over natural information" as long as no limited-in-time monopoly intellectual property is granted.  Extrinsic is the notion that "what exactly is fair and equitable may be subject to individual and social differences" [#2058].

Bounded openness rests on the universalism of the golden rule: just as Users enjoy limited-in-time monopoly rents over artificial information so should Providers enjoy limited-in-time oligopoly rents over natural information. "Fair and equitable" are thus not "subject to individual and social differences". They mean equal treatment.

Besides thirty years of published literature, the issue of rents as the realization of fairness and equity, has also appeared in peer reviews of commissioned studies on "DSI", submissions of new and emerging issues, and questions submitted for the Webinar series on "DSI".

Rents notably entered Decision 9/12(14) as one of four questions in preparation for COP10:

"Requests the Executive Secretary to invite, in consultation with the Co-Chairs of the Working Group, relevant experts to address the Working Group on Access and Benefit- sharing, at the appropriate time, on the following issues: Should economic rent be charged for access to genetic resources and what is the justification for such a rent or against such a rent? What should be the basis for the valuation of such rent? (UNSCBD 2009: https://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=11655).

"[A]t the appropriate time" was the Achilles' Heel in the Decision. Somehow COPs 10 to 14 were not deemed "the appropriate time" for addressing rents. Taboo triumphed, mercilessly. The ancient wisdom "If not now, when?" has a corollary for the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework: "If not here, where?" COP15 seems propitious.

John Maynard Keynes famously quipped that "Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assaults of thoughts on the unthinking". An oligopoly is a cartel. I took Keynes advice in choosing a title for my 2007 IUCN paper, available in multiple languages open access.


"Reflecting Financial and Other Incentives of the TMOIFGR: The Biodiversity Cartel.” Pages 47-74 in Manuel Ruiz and Isabel Lapeña (editors) A Moving Target: Genetic Resources and Options for Tracking and Monitoring their International Flows, Gland, Switzerland: IUCN, 2007.

English: https://www.iucn.org/content/a-moving-target-genetic-resources-and-options-tracking-and-monitoring-their-international-flows
French: https://www.iucn.org/node/21731
Spanish: https://www.iucn.org/node/21732


(cc) 2021. Joseph Henry Vogel.
posted on 2021-04-28 18:12 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
This is a reply to 2064 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2074]
To respond to the discussion between Paul, Chris and Tim:

- On FAIR data: Indeed, there is increasing interest from funders and others that FAIR principles should be employed across scientific data. The principles are a laudable and sensible approach to ensuring that - at the level of openness possible for the data set - the data set attracts maximal exposure and reuse potential. However the FAIR principles are not enough for full openness as, while they require open protocols for access, they allow data sets that are restricted in their reuse (such as through Creative Commons licenses and requirements for data access requests). To reduce friction in deriving value for all from DSI, we must add "open" to FAIR.

- On registration requirements for programmatic access: The reasons discussed for service providers to require registration for their programmatic data access services relate to limitations on resources behind the service; there is a need to limit excessive access to some, to be sure to free up access at some level for others. These, though, are restrictions that in place for practical reasons to make the services more available and useful given a a set of constraints. However, becuase they add constraints to access, they still add friction and make it a little less easy for users to access data. Ideally these too would be avoided. It would be a significant notable step, then, to go beyond this and coopt this registration for purposes other than delivering a reasonable service to as many users as possible; any proposal to use registration for programmatic services for purposes beyond service delivery would add restrictions and constraints and increase friction. This part is often not addresses in these discussions: if there was registration and log-in for a given data access service, what would be done with the information generated by registrations and authentications?
(edited on 2021-04-30 06:21 UTC by Guy Cochrane)
posted on 2021-04-30 06:20 UTC by Guy Cochrane, EMBL - European Bioinformatics Institute
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2076]
ICC represents businesses of all sizes around the world across diverse sectors, including those which use genetic resources in research and innovation. We would like to contribute some business perspectives and experiences of ABS to this debate.

Firstly, many thanks to the CBD Secretariat for the organisation of the webinars and the documents - the structured and systematic approach proposed is much appreciated.

Several commentators have expressed the view that the current ABS system is not adapted to the realities of biodiversity research, and that it is not productive to address DSI without looking more holistically at the broader picture.  We would agree with this view and have argued that the current implementation of ABS is not adapted to achieving its stated goals (See ICC paper “Towards a new implementation strategy for access and benefit sharing”). 

Taking a broader perspective firstly means recognising that ABS has an impact on many areas of public policy, so that any decision should be considered in the larger context of policy goals relating to biodiversity conservation, science, innovation, and the promotion of other SDGs related to health, food security, poverty alleviation etc.

A holistic view also means looking at the ABS system as a whole and not dealing with DSI in isolation. The criteria identified by the CBD Secretariat are all pertinent to this broader framework of ABS.

An important starting point is the first category of criteria - “Why”- which requires identification of the end goal objectives. Only when the “Why” - the ultimate broader goals of ABS and the type of value which parties wish to create from their genetic resources and DSI  - is clear, will it be possible to design a holistic framework which will be efficient and effective in achieving the aims desired. 

The secretariat paper also refers to the need to find balance between open access to data  and fair and equitable benefit sharing. These two notions should not be seen as antithetical. Open access to data enables use which can produce benefits in the areas of  conservation, capacity building, sustainable development or other goals that countries might wish to prioritise if ABS is implemented in a way that will support this.   

It should, however, be kept in mind that while ABS can contribute to reaching some of the desired goals, these cannot be met by ABS alone but require a holistic approach drawing on a variety of different mechanisms and initiatives.
posted on 2021-04-30 13:21 UTC by Ms. Daphne Yong-d'Herve, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
This is a reply to 2074 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2077]
Many thanks to Chris, Tim, Dirk and Guy for the discussion so far and apologies in advance that this is a bit extended.

In connection with registration I suspect this boils down to the purposes and consequences of registration. I would note that registration is a very widespread practice, thus we had to register with the CBD to participate in this discussion, and is not generally seen as problematic. However, the question remains regarding the purposes and consequences of registration with respect to DSI.

A second point, that we have not considered so far, is that database and website services are commonly framed by the terms and conditions of use by the service provider (often called terms of service). These are particularly significant I think for data aggregators, who do not as such 'own' the data. I very much defer to Tim on this for GBIF, but under the terms of use (https://www.gbif.org/terms) individual users are required to observe the provisions of a data user agreement at (https://www.gbif.org/terms/data-user). On the other side of that equation data publishers (e.g. collections submitting data) are required to observe the provisions of a data publisher agreement https://www.gbif.org/terms/data-publisher that includes a warranty that necessary agreements have been established with data owners. NCBI ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/home/about/policies/) and EBI (https://www.ebi.ac.uk/about/terms-of-use/) provide other examples of terms of service. The observation here is that these are all examples of open access databases and that terms of service exist above or outside of any form of condition that may attach to data items inside the service. For example NCBI has the following to say (as a disclaimer) on the conditions and ownership question for molecular data (which includes GenBank).

"NCBI itself places no restrictions on the use or distribution of the data contained therein. Nor do we accept data when the submitter has requested restrictions on reuse or redistribution. However, some submitters of the original data (or the country of origin of such data) may claim patent, copyright, or other intellectual property rights in all or a portion of the data (that has been submitted). NCBI is not in a position to assess the validity of such claims and since there is no transfer of rights from submitters to NCBI, NCBI has no rights to transfer to a third party. Therefore, NCBI cannot provide comment or unrestricted permission concerning the use, copying, or distribution of the information contained in the molecular databases." https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/home/about/policies/

I am not suggesting that it makes sense to dig into the detail of this in the forum discussion right now but that rather to note that open access services are supported by a landscape of terms and agreements that may merit further attention.

On the FAIR principles. I am grateful for Guy's comments on this. In the 2020 study for the European Commission I confess that I did not appreciate the importance of the FAIR principles for science policy. For example, the US NIH Office of Data Science Strategy (ODSS) describes the FAIR principles as a guiding principle of the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science (https://datascience.nih.gov/data-ecosystem). Importantly, the ODSS emphasises that there is "no one-size-fits-all solution" but promotes alignment with FAIR across biomedical research. The content of the NIH Strategic Plan for Data Science sets out a very interesting vision of the progressive implementation of FAIR in the construction of what it calls a data commons. In the European Union, following a pilot under Horizon 2020, my understanding is that Horizon Europe will require that recipients of funding make data FAIR as part of Data Management Plans (DMP) and the wider pursuit of policies on open data. In short, discussions on DSI are set in the wider context of a movement towards open data with FAIR as an important component. Here I would note that an important feature of the FAIR principles is that data should be "as open as possible, as closed as necessary". In my view the FAIR principles may provide governments and the wider community with a useful tool in identifying a shared way forward on DSI.

Finally, and returning to Chris's original observation, open access may mean different things to different people. In considering the potentially different understandings of what may be regarded as true or real open access I think it is important to dig a little into the history of the open access movement (as I hope to make clear in a future paper). A useful start can be made here by considering the history of the concept of "bounded openness". As Manuel Ruiz Muller (see for example Ruiz Muller 2015) and Joseph Vogel have highlighted this concept originates in the work of political scientist Christopher May (May 2010 and 2010a). The original paper frames the emergence of a drive to openness as a counter reaction to the strengthening of intellectual property rights under the TRIPS agreement and the expansion of copyright (along with technical means such as Digital Rights Management for software). As I, and many others, have described in earlier work, this took the form of the use of open source licences in software and creative commons licences in the case of creative works and an increased emphasis on the public domain (Oldham 2009). In the case of genomics, notably in the case of human genome sequence data, as described in detail by Cook-Degan 1994 and Maxson Jones et al 2018, the context for openness embodied in the Bermuda principles was fear of privatisation through IPRs, notably patent rights (see Oldham 2005 on this for ABS). May's analysis suggests that "...the idea of bounded openness better describes a project of openness that itself cannot be a totalising demand, but rather there is a recognition in many cases, but perhaps not all, that openness may have some clear social benefits which need to be accorded social weight in the face of the logic of IPRs." (May 2010: 144). He then observes that "...rather than an either/or proposition, we can see a more fluid set of possibilities, reflecting pragmatic choices between property and openness, within the socio-economic relations of the growing (increasingly global) information society." (May 2010: 144).

I would note that focusing attention on May's original construction of bounded openness is not a commentary on the extension of the concept to natural information and bounded openness and the charging of royalties linked to patents articulated by Vogel and Ruiz Muller. In my view it makes very good sense to further pursue and assess that option (see Oldham 2020). As I also hope to comment later, more contributions are needed from economics not less notably in the form of the contribution of the Dasgupta's recently completed The Economics of Biodiversity (Oldham 2020, Dasgupta 2021). Rather it is that the pursuit of either extreme closure (e.g. encryption through blockchain) or absolute openness (e.g. everything must be committed to the public domain) are unlikely to produce outcomes that work in either social or economic terms because of the global nature of biodiversity and the diverse rights and interests of those involved (e.g. including indigenous peoples). In my view that requires much greater attention to flexibility and adaptability in approaches to address issues of scale. That is likely to require the identification, assessment and pursuit of multiple practical options.

With apologies for these rather extended comments but I hope this contributes constructively to the debate and assists in our efforts to move towards closer consideration of the criteria in the time remaining.

Dasgupta, P (2021) The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. UK HM Treasury. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/final-report-the-economics-of-biodiversity-the-dasgupta-review

Maxon Jones, K and Ankeny, R and Cook-Deegan R (2018) The Bermuda Triangle: The Pragmatics, Policies and Principles for Data Sharing in the History of the Human Genome Project. Journal of the History of Biology (2108) 51:693-805 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30390178/

May C (2010) The Global Political Economy of Intellectual Property Rights: The new enclosures. Routledge. See chapter 5 on the challenge of openness.

May C (2010a) Bounded Openness: The future political economy of knowledge management. Oxford Intellectual Property Invited Speaker Series, St Peters College, 11 November 2010. Freely available after login from Academia.edu https://www.academia.edu/2612126/Bounded_Openness_The_future_political_economy_of_knowledge_management

Oldham P (2005) Global Status and Trends in Intellectual Property Claims: Genomics, Proteomics and Biotechnology. UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/3/INF/4. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1331514

Oldham P (2009) An Access and Benefit-Sharing Commons? The Role of Commons/Open Source Licences in the International Regime on Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit-Sharing
Initiative for the Prevention of Biopiracy, Research Documents, Year IV, No. 11. UNEP/CBD/WG-ABS/8/INF/3. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1438027

Oldham P (2020) Digital Sequence Information - Technical Aspects. Study for the European Commission, February 2020. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/international/abs/pdf/Final_Report_technical_aspects_of_DSI.pdf

Ruiz Muller, M (2015) Genetic Resources as Natural Information: Implications for the Convention on Biological Diversity and Nagoya Protocol. Earthscan. See chapter 5.
posted on 2021-04-30 13:47 UTC by Paul Oldham, One World Analytics
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2081]
Having read through many useful postings on DSI, I would like to raise three simple questions to move the discussions forward (footnote 1).

1.  Are we talking about international law?
I believe nobody denies the fact that we are talking about implementation of international law (CBD + NP), not about national legislation.

This means all our debates should be based on relevant texts of CBD + NP and their COP/MOP Decisions, if we retain the legal texts as they are.  Completely new ideas may be possible in national legislation, but in the context of existing international legal framework, they are not.

We are not talking about national legislation, on which CBD + NP are silent.


2.  Are we talking about ABS?
If we are talking about ABS (Article 15 of CBD), the benefits should be produced from UTILIZATION of genetic resources (or DSI?).  However, for example, option 1 (Micro-levy) of the WiLDSI report has little to do with such UTILIZATION because they are levied upstream of genetic resources (or DSI?) research and those who will not use genetic resources (or DSI?) are equally levied.

Or are we talking beyond ABS?  If we are talking about financial mechanism (Article 21 of CBD) for example, the Micro-levy may be a policy option (footnote 2).

Thus, it is important for us to clarify the scope of our discussions.  I believe it should be limited to ABS (Article 15 of CBD), avoiding entering into discussions on financial mechanism without knowing it, under the HEADING of “ABS”.


3.  Are they POLICY options?
From point 1. and point 2. above, all the options proposed should be first screened from a point of view of consistency with Article 15 of CBD and relevant Articles of NP.  Without this screening process, what we are talking about are just TECHNICAL options.  In fact, the WiLDSI report expresses in its Acknowledgements that “(it) is a research effort to provide input on DSI from a SCIENTIFIC PERSPECTIVE”.  This means proposals in the report may contain non-POLICY options.

The first step to move forward is to distinguish POLICY options from TECHNICAL options.



Before going into details of the proposed options, all the people concerned (officials of the Contracting Parties, in particular) are invited to answer the questions above, through which we can narrow diverse opinions on DSI and facilitate the debate in the context of CBD + NP, international law.

footnotes
1. All the opinions expressed here are my personal ones and thus are not the view of TASO-PGR (Tsukuba Association Supporting Overseas PGR Activities, a Not-for-Profit Organization for plant genetic resources in Japan).
2. See Decision 2 of CBD-COP 1.
posted on 2021-04-30 16:12 UTC by Mr Akio Yamamoto, Minitry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
This is a reply to 2081 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2082]
Re: my posting No. 2081, I have already retired from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.  See the footnote 1 of the posting.
posted on 2021-04-30 16:18 UTC by Mr Akio Yamamoto, Minitry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan
This is a reply to 2076 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2084]
Holism versus reductionism is a false dilemma. I see this in the posting [#2076] from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which advocates a holistic view or approach to ABS.

Reductionism can lever holism. The two are complementary. E.O. Wilson is arguably the most celebrated naturalist of our time and writes in his autobiography that reductionism "was and is the virtually unchallenged linchpin of the natural sciences".  The holistic questions are: How do we go from the current onslaught of degradative land use to restoration of the lands already degraded? And how do we tackle the acidification of the oceans and the collapse of marine life?  My co-authors and I believe that "bounded openness over natural information" can help transition humanity for "Living within Limits", which is the title of Garrett Hardin's capstone 1993 oeuvre. To do so, we must first interpret genetic resources as natural information.

The ICC has steadfastly insisted that genetic resources are not information. Point 4 of its 2019 communiqué "Digital Sequence Information and Benefit Sharing" reads:

"Numerous legal interpretations have confirmed that the definition of genetic resources refers to tangible material and does not include immaterial information. Negotiations to change this definition would require years, or even decades, as well as resources that would be better spent on efficient implementation of effective and workable measures that achieve the three objectives of the CBD, including capacity building to ensure sustainable use" (https://www.cbd.int/abs/DSI-views/2019/ICC-DSI.pdf).

The naturalistic fallacy of ethics is to claim that what is should be. In the above passage, we have the makings of a derivative: what we say will be ("years, or even decades, as well as resources..."), justifies what is (bilateral ABS).

My other bone to pick with the ICC concerns the following passage from its peer review of the 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework:

"ABS mechanisms are mentioned as having the potential to address the funding needs for implementing the Global Biodiversity Framework. While ICC supports the underlying rationale of ABS of fairness and equity in the sharing of benefits from genetic resources, monetary benefit sharing from ABS mechanisms cannot in itself be relied upon to be the principal source of funding for biodiversity conservation" (https://www.cbd.int/api/v2013/documents/4E646984-ABC9-B316-C48D-45E9DF54D2BA/attachments/ICC.pdf).

The funding of conservation will not align incentives to the extent the projects are fungible (aka "adverse selection") (see postings [#2051],[#2060]). In the ABS discussion, participants often conflate the alignment of incentives with the funding of conservation, but separate them we must. "Bounded openness over natural information" would be a source of funding for whatever the Party deems to have the highest social return. Through the alignment of incentives, "bounded openness" enhances conservation (and sovereignty).  The exception is the case of ubiquitous natural information, whereby "bounded openness" funds taxonomy.
Global biotechnology sales are forecast to top one trillion USD/annum this year (https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/biotechnology-market). Contrary to the ICC opinion, ABS might be able to be a principal source for the alignment of incentives.

(cc) 2021. Joseph Henry Vogel.
posted on 2021-04-30 16:30 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2085]
One of the criteria identified by the secretariat, and also highlighted by several commentators is the need to ensure that the system of open access to publicly available data is maintained to avoid hindering scientific research and innovation. As commented by Chris Lyal and others, this deserves to be better defined but remains a crucial criterion. There is considerable value to be derived for all countries from  maintaining open access to international genetic resources sequence databases.

As expressed in post no #2058, the current strong focus on delivering monetary benefits can give the impression that only monetary benefits are fair benefits.  Whereas the principles of open science and data availability play an important role in facilitating international research collaboration and information exchange, within and between the public and private sectors. (see joint stakeholder statement on open exchange of Digital Sequence Information) . Such collaboration – together with developing local skills and infrastructure - plays an important role in scientific capacity building and helps work towards more equitable and inclusive biodiversity-related innovation and research.

Maintaining the system of open access to DSI supports research, which can in turn promote sustainable use, as research activity does not normally damage biodiversity but rather creates value for society and solutions which can promote sustainable use of biodiversity.
posted on 2021-04-30 16:41 UTC by Ms. Daphne Yong-d'Herve, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2087]
1. What are your views on the proposed criteria framework?

I think that a robust criteria framework will help to compare options and to identify/prioritise options which are most likely to lead to a political compromise. The criteria framework proposed is certainly robust but it risks being overly complex. I wonder if it can be simplified or weighted. For example, criteria # 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, & 12 may be better suited as design principles that should be addressed irrespective of the option proposed (e.g. to guide further elaboration of a particular option), whereas criteria # 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 may be better suited for directly evaluating and comparing the 8 options proposed by the Secretariat. 

The Secretariat notes the overarching criteria that emerges from the literature is open data on the one hand, and fair and equitable benefit sharing on the other, and that a policy solution should aim at finding a balance between these two notions. In a weighted approach these dimensions would be given primacy, followed by criteria best placed to critically compare and deprioritize options. As an example of a simplified and weighted criteria:

1st tier
(a) maximizes access and use of DSI in innovation
(b) maximizes sharing of benefits (monetary and non-monetary)
2nd tier
(d) minimizes regulatory/jurisdictional arbitrage
(c) minimizes regulatory complexity
(e) minimizes transaction costs
(f) minimizes implementation costs
posted on 2021-04-30 18:26 UTC by Rodrigo Sara, Leibniz Institute DSMZ
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2089]
[This post is submitted on behalf of the USA Nagoya Protocol Action Group (USANPAG), a group of scientific researchers and biological collections managers who represent national and international scientific societies and inform membership about requirements of the Nagoya Protocol.  We submit these comments and views to this discussion forum as concerned individuals and citizens, and do not claim to represent the opinions, views, or policies of the organizations and institutions where we work or with which we formally affiliate.]

The proposed criteria framework is comprehensive.  Importantly though, it is not possible to assess each of these policy options against these criteria without understanding more about how each of these options would be implemented.  The conversation to date, including on this forum, is largely theoretical.  We highly encourage Parties to consider implementation before taking a decision on a policy approach to ABS/DSI issues.  A small sampling of questions we think need to be answered are listed below:

1) What databases are being considered as a means to share DSI and their benefits?  Are these existing databases that are already in use by the scientific community or will new databases be created? The International Nucleotide Sequence Database Collaboration (INSDC) is a long-standing initiative that links the three major public databases of Europe (EMBL-EBI), Japan (DDBJ), and the United States (NCBI).

2) Have the existing databases been contacted to discuss their possible role in the implementation of proposed policy options, and is their involvement feasible? 
a. Will these genetic databases, which are publicly funded, insist on recouping their fees before conveying additional financial benefits to the providers of genetic material? And if so, which entities will cover those costs?
b. If these existing public databases agree to help implement ABS/DSI policies, the mandatory and optional qualifiers should be completely understood. For example, if qualifiers are optional (e.g., country of origin), implementation would depend on users voluntarily submitting this information with sequence data.
c. How would requirements for treatment of DSI in public databases be reconciled for legacy information?  Would there be an exception for older DSI?
d. It has been suggested that country information associated with DSI in a public database is a means by which users could identify the country origins of the DSI; however, it is unclear how DSI users would then identify any obligations associated with their use. For example, would public databases be expected to provide links to the ABS Clearing-House?  Is this a role the databases are willing to serve?

3) If compliance with DSI ABS requirements is to be implemented by way of the IPR system (as proposed as a possibility under Option 2.2):
a. Why would the Patent and Trademark Office and international analogs agree to change their existing rules to take on this enforcement requirement?   Further, if the PTO or their international analog agreed, would countries be able to implement the proposed option without passage of new laws?  In many countries, changes to processes associated with IPR systems require approval from the legislature, making this type of change difficult.
b. If countries that are leading producers of both DSI and patents are unable to implement these proposed requirements is this policy option feasible on a global scale?
c. How will non-monetary benefit sharing and/or use of DSI that does not result in patent applications be accounted for?

4) How will any ABS mechanism address the sharing of pathogens and/or other genetic data that could be utilized to respond to public health and/or environmental crises be treated?  Will the options under consideration enable emergency-use or provisions or other exemptions for scientific researchers?  If so, what determines the requirements to meet “emergency use” provisions and under which circumstances research would be given an exception? How would these be determined quickly and under what authority? 

5) It has been proposed that monetary benefits derived from access and utilisation of DSI should be subject to the payment of royalties or access fees, to be paid into a multilateral fund.
a. What is a conservative estimate of the anticipated monetary benefit under each of the proposed policy options? 
b. What are the anticipated costs to oversee and manage the fund, as well as the cost to implement and enforce each policy option? 
c. Since developed countries produce more DSI than developing countries, this would suggest that a large portion of monetary benefits contributed to the multilateral mechanism would ultimately be going to developed countries.

6) Each of these options would have different impacts on different parts of the biological science community. 
a. For museums and collections, would DSI generated by specimens from collections belong to the country from which the specimens originated or from the country where the museum is located and the specimens are stored (in other words where financial resources have already been committed to their long term preservation and accessibility of specimens and their associated data?  Depending on implementation, collections could be effectively shut down.
b. Would there be a way to generate DSI from legacy collections (eg: from physical specimens collected prior to 2021)?
posted on 2021-04-30 18:46 UTC by Jyotsna Pandey, USA Nagoya Protocol Action Group, American Institute of Biological Sciences
This is a reply to 2089 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2092]
Thank you for the questions on behalf of the USA Nagoya Protocol Action Group (USANPAG) [#2089].  I will answer Questions #3-6 from the perspective of "Bounded Openness over Natural Information". I reproduce your questions below:

"3) If compliance with DSI ABS requirements is to be implemented by way of the IPR system (as proposed as a possibility under Option 2.2):
a. Why would the Patent and Trademark Office and international analogs agree to change their existing rules to take on this enforcement requirement?"

Answer: International law is above national law. In the modality "Bounded Openness over Natural Information", the additional burden is one row in the patent application indicating whether (biotic) natural information has been utilized Y/N. Only should a patent become commercially successful, will the patent-holder be obligated to disclose the identity of the species to the Global Multilateral Benefit-Sharing Mechanism.

"Further, if the PTO or their international analog agreed, would countries be able to implement the proposed option without passage of new laws?"

Answer: See above.

"In many countries, changes to processes associated with IPR systems require approval from the legislature, making this type of change difficult.
b. If countries that are leading producers of both DSI and patents are unable to implement these proposed requirements is this policy option feasible on a global scale?"

Answer:  Should a non-Party not conform, then that non-Party would also not enjoy a share in the royalty income for natural information found within its jurisdiction, proportional to the geography of the species which contain it. Similarly, taxonomic institutions in the non-Party will not participate in benefits for species that are ubiquitous or were deposited before the ratification of the CBD. "Bounded Openness over Natural Information" is all about aligning incentives, not just between Users and Providers, but also between Parties and non-Parties. The COP may glean lessons from UNCLOS and the changes of heart that accompany pecuniary interests.

"c. How will non-monetary benefit sharing and/or use of DSI that does not result in patent applications be accounted for?"

Answer: The system rests on equal treatment of artificial and natural information. IPRs are a vehicle for limited-in-time monopoly rents. ABS would be a vehicle for limited-in-time oligopoly rents.  However, if a User does not seek any such privilege, then he or she incurs no ABS obligation [#2071].  Equal treatment cuts both ways.

"4) How will any ABS mechanism address the sharing of pathogens and/or other genetic data that could be utilized to respond to public health and/or environmental crises be treated?  Will the options under consideration enable emergency-use or provisions or other exemptions for scientific researchers?  If so, what determines the requirements to meet 'emergency use' provisions and under which circumstances research would be given an exception? How would these be determined quickly and under what authority?"

Answer:  My co-authors and I analyze the case of Ebola in our extensive Report titled "Fairness, Equity and Efficiency for the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol: Analysis of a Rodent, a Snail, a Sponge and a Virus". (2021, forthcoming). Sociedad Peruana de Derecho Ambiental / Peruvian Society of Environmental Law. Eschborn, Germany: The ABS Capacity Development Initiative. http://www.abs-initiative.info/about-us/

Below are key messages and a passage from the Report:

---"For pathogens, the first objective of the CBD can be interpreted as preservation in situ and the second, containment and development of diagnostics and vaccines. The third objective of ABS stands;

---Under bilateral ABS, the Provider holds leverage by withholding samples and linking access to the availability of diagnostics and vaccines [under "Bounded Openness" no reasonable justification exists for any such withholding, see following point];

---The public-good nature of the absence of communicable disease justifies that diagnostics and vaccines be free of charge to the populace, regardless of the economic status of the country;

---The best solution for access to samples is a flat-rate payment per sample. The recommendation is contingent on diagnostics and vaccines being free of charge universally;

---The second best solution may be modeled after the Data Access Agreements of GISAID or the standardized contracts of the PIP Framework.

---The facts of Ebola may be hung on the analytical skeleton of economics...

A paradox results should the benefits be royalties. Speedy submission facilitates epidemiology and containment, yet the future demand for the biotechnology products will be diminished because of such diligence. The years which usually lapse from submission of a pathogen sample to the rollout of a vaccine will also undercut royalties as the monetary benefit. Deductions emerge. The monetary benefit should be: (a) claimed by the first-to-submit the isolate and metadata, (b) invariant as to whether an epidemic ensues, viz. a flat rate, (c) earmarked for work on future submissions of viruses and (d) contingent on the Provider not having reduced its budget after similar payments for past submissions (the fungibility problem of Issue #19, in Table 2).


Deductions (a)-(d) are themselves contingent on a recognition that the absence of communicable diseases is a global public good of the first order. The social value and value in use of vaccination dwarf the total costs of vaccine development, which vary by disease."

Please also see “Human Pathogens as Capstone Application of the Economics of Information to Convention on Biological Diversity”, Joseph Henry Vogel,  Claribel Fuentes-Rivera, Barbara A. Hocking, Omar Oduardo-Sierra, and Ana Zubiaurre,  International Journal of Biology, Vol 5, No. 2: 121-134.  April 2013. http://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/ijb/article/view/22760

"5) It has been proposed that monetary benefits derived from access and utilisation of DSI should be subject to the payment of royalties or access fees, to be paid into a multilateral fund.
a. What is a conservative estimate of the anticipated monetary benefit under each of the proposed policy options?  on.

Answer: Precision is not necessary. As I argue in the Foreword to "Genetic Resources as Natural Information" (Routledge, Ruiz Muller 2015): "The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) revolutionized biotechnology and its discoverers won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. By 2005, the expired patent had earned $2 billion (Fore et al 2006).  That fact provokes reflection: Just one piece of natural information, an enzyme, from one species, Thermus acquaticus, could have generated US$300 million for countries of origin at the royalty I suggested in 1992, a startling 15 percent. The sum is three times the six year budget of the International Barcode of Life", p. xiv (https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/tandfbis/rt-files/docs/9781138801943_foreword.pdf).

"b. What are the anticipated costs to oversee and manage the fund, as well as the cost to implement and enforce each policy option?"

Answer. See above.
 
c. Since developed countries produce more DSI than developing countries, this would suggest that a large portion of monetary benefits contributed to the multilateral mechanism would ultimately be going to developed countries.

Answer: Yes,  No and Maybe.

For ubiquitous natural information spread across taxa, the royalties go to taxonomy, where institutions are located mostly in the developed countries. I would think that this would please the USA Nagoya Protocol Action Group, but perhaps not. The frontier in my profession is Behavioral Economics which examines how agents make decisions inconsistent with their own self-interests, Adam Smith be dammed!

For species where the costs of determining geographic distribution is less than the royalty income, Provider countries will share the royalty income. Who benefits more, the Users or the Providers, is an empirical question once the modality is established. Nevertheless, as knowledge increases about species geographic distribution, Providers will be increasingly favored.

"6) Each of these options would have different impacts on different parts of the biological science community. 
a. For museums and collections, would DSI generated by specimens from collections belong to the country from which the specimens originated or from the country where the museum is located and the specimens are stored (in other words where financial resources have already been committed to their long term preservation and accessibility of specimens and their associated data?  Depending on implementation, collections could be effectively shut down.
b. Would there be a way to generate DSI from legacy collections (eg: from physical specimens collected prior to 2021)?"

Answer: In our aforementioned and forthcoming Report for the ABS Capacity Development Initiative, my co-authors and I address such issues  in Box 5, titled "A Grand Bargain with Ex Situ Collections". I copy and paste the contents below:

"What is transferred in a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) depends on the agreement negotiated. MTAs are bailments, which means that possession of the 'material' is transferred but not the title. 'Material'  is legally interpreted as tangible; associated information falls under licensing provisions.[a] Hybrid contracts concerning matter and information characterize most MTAs.

A synthesis of economics and chemistry invites a thought experiment: denature the material transferred in an MTA and then perform R&D. By the First Law of Thermodynamics, the sample will have retained all of its matter, but by the Second, much of the associated information will be lost. One deduces that the 'material' in an MTA should not be interpreted as matter, though legally it is. The value lies in the information as the matter would still be there upon denaturation. A corollary exists: a sample returned in a pristine state to the property owner can also have lost all value in exchange, similar to denaturation, as the owner no longer has any leverage over granting access to the information therein.[b]

Ex situ collections with non-hybrid MTAs cannot engage in R&D without violating the safety of the valuable property, which is a criterion for the bailment: 'the personal property of one person is acquired by another and held under circumstances in which principles of justice require the recipient to keep the property safely and return it to the owner'.[c] However, legal uncertainty will most likely ensue for all MTAs negotiated before the ratification of the CBD in 1993. Few Users and Providers anticipated the meteoric rise of biotechnology; ambiguity is expected in the provisions.

Evaluation of MTAs will be, above all, time consuming. In 1992, E.O. Wilson wrote that three species were being lost each hour.[d] Mass extinction has only worsened since. Modality 3-II can only align incentives if the object of conservation exists. Users and Providers must settle the status of ex situ collections while there is still time. A grand bargain emerges which could leave both Users and Providers agreeably unhappy: Ex situ collections prior to the ratification of the CBD would participate as a group in ABS, where the percentage participation would be equivalent to the geographic area to support a “minimum viable population”.[e]  The group would then split their share of royalty income among members with the same pre-1993 specimens.

[a]. B.A. Garner, ed., BAILMENT, Black's Law Dictionary. 11th ed. (2019); A.B. Bennett, W.D. Streitz and R.A. Gacel, "Specific Issues with Material Transfer Agreements", in A. Krattiger, R.T. Mahoney, L. Nelsen, et al. (eds), Intellectual Property Management in Health and Agricultural Innovation: A Handbook of Best Practices (Oxford, UK: MIHR, 2007).
[b]. Arrow's Information Paradox. Investopedia. Available at https://www.mbaskool.com/business-concepts/marketing-and-strategy-terms/12644-arrow-information-paradox.html
[c]. 8A  Am. Jur. 2d Bailment § 1 (1997).
[d]. E.O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life (Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1992): 280.
[e]. Carey L. Vath, “Minimum Viable Population: ecology” Britannica. Available at https://www.britannica.com/science/minimum-viable-population


(cc) 2021. Joseph Henry Vogel.
posted on 2021-05-01 04:54 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2095]
1. Views on the proposed criteria framework

Like Sara (#2087), I agree that the proposed criteria framework can still be further simplified and weighted. As it currently stands, the proposed criteria framework envisions an information infrastructure and governance mechanism that is fully-formed and fully-thought-out when the reality is that it may take some time to fully develop a system of wringing out benefits from the utilization of DSI when there are already existing various institutions, mechanisms and practices that may take some time to be harmonized into working in unison to perform the functions the Parties to the CBD and NP may agree it should be doing.

It is therefore important to find some core criteria or higher-level criteria or tests of these criteria (we leave it to the AHTEG to discuss what proper typology or terminology to use later) which should be always considered equally together when developing the appropriate policy option or a mix of such options,  for DSI, and like Sara (#2087) once again, who identified  criteria # 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 as mandatory, my proposal is to even distill them into the following 3 core tests/criteria:

ONE, will it (the option or options) ensure fair and equitable benefit-sharing in an effective and efficient manner?
EXPLANATION - this is the reason why we are discussing it here, the other considerations, i.e., open access, registration, FAIR principles, etc. are subordinate to this over-arching criteria.

TWO, will it be just to the countries demanding fair and equitable sharing of benefits on this issue?
EXPLANATION - this may sound like the first criteria but that is more forward looking while this one deals with the reparations or justice aspect of the debate as truly, even back in the negotiations during Nagoya, the Like-Minded Megadiverse Group have been advocating for ABS on genetic resources in databases but the Group chose not to push for it then; having this criteria now here will address their long-standing demand on this issue.

THREE,  will it be fair to the researchers and organizations who are already and continuously using DSI from way before the CBD discussions came along and who wish to continue with what they are doing as before
EXPLANATION - this should address the issue of continuing the open access and all other ways of accessing DSI that should not be disrupted in a significant manner only to accommodate a long standing demand for greater equity in the existing system as what criteria 2 is laying down.
It envisages change in the way things are being dealt with before, but in a manner that accommodates the concerns of the users of DSI while being true to criteria 1 and 2.

With these three criteria that is constantly put upfront in discussions on which policy options to take, the rest of the other design criteria would just follow. In a way, some of these criteria already responds to question 2 of the Secretariat on this thread. Thank you.
posted on 2021-05-01 13:49 UTC by Mr. Elpidio Peria, Philippines
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2097]
Previous commentators have highlighted the need to understand the impact of the implementation of any proposed options before being able to assess these. We share this view and support an approach that takes into account the practical implications on the ground. To ensure that the policy-making process is properly informed, we suggest that an assessment as to the workability and impact of any proposed new system should be made before any decision is taken.

Such an assessment should draw from lessons learnt by all stakeholders from the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol over the past ten years. Experience in companies over the last few years indicates that many of the regulations and processes currently in place to implement ABS in different jurisdictions have a serious, negative impact on scientific research and collaboration, and on development and production. This applies to businesses of all sizes, including the many business users which are SMEs.

The high transaction costs and legal uncertainty experienced under many ABS regimes have a significant impact on decisions by companies on whether it is feasible to invest in using genetic resources. This has the unfortunate effect of discouraging use which is contrary to goals of the whole system.

This experience highlights the importance of the criteria identified by the secretariat relating to the efficiency and feasibility of the system, good governance, and coherence for the ABS system as a whole, and even more so to any system potentially including DSI.
posted on 2021-05-01 18:15 UTC by Ms. Daphne Yong-d'Herve, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2098]
I agree with the SCBD’s proposal,  that the first two goals seeking to address the  ‘Why’  reflects the pillars of Access and Benefit Sharing in the context of the use of DSI, which should eventually contribute to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Therefore, policy options considerations should seek to find a balance between open access and fair and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of DSI.

In terms of the criteria on fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of DSI, I think the means for assessment should also include modalities of sharing such benefits, looking at possible formula for calculating the benefits or for determining the nature of benefits to be shared.

In terms of the criteria on open access, I think the means of assessment should also include promotion of commercial use of DSI in addition to the non-commercial use of DSI.
posted on 2021-05-01 21:50 UTC by Mrs. Lactitia Tshitwamulomoni, South Africa
This is a reply to 2076 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2105]
Without clear definitions for ‘DSI’ the discussion on potential policy options is admittedly to some extent artificial. This makes it difficult to identify potential cut-off points and for finding clarity on doable policy options based on the provided criteria. Moreover, the antagonist view of ‘Provider Countries’ and ‘User Countries’ of the 1980’s reflected in the CBD and NP rests on the idea that industrialised countries owe developing countries a just share for the resources they provide and that are utilised in the global north. As the combined scoping study 2&3 on DSI (https://www.cbd.int/abs/DSI-peer/Study-Traceability-databases.pdf) and the commissioned study of Paul Oldham (https://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/international/abs/pdf/Final_Report_technical_aspects_of_DSI.pdf) pointed out, this north-south divide is invalid, especially with respect to ‘DSI’: China, the US, Canada, Japan, India, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Germany and Spain are the largest ‘DSI’ Providers, while the US, China, India, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Brazil are the largest ‘DSI’ users. Therefore, implementation of proposed bilateral or multilateral options would reward the sourcing states of ‘DSI’, but less likely be able to resolve the political problems and tensions of the current debate to cover ‘DSI’ under instruments of the CBD or NP. For example, China is not only the second largest provider and largest user of ‚DSI‘, but also operates with state-owned BGI (formerly known as the Beijing Genomics Institute ) sequencing-plants in Shenzhen (China), Cambridge (Harvard, USA) and Frederiksberg (Copenhagen, DK) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BGI_Group). BGI is leading in genomic sequencing and cloning. Another leading company in genomic sequencing is South Korea based Macrogen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrogen). There are more genomic sequencers in Brazil and Malaysia than in Portugal or Austria. Taiwan has more than Japan, Brazil nearly as much as Denmark, South Africa catches up and already has a third of the capacity of Japan (http://enseqlopedia.com/ngs-mapped/). Personally, I am not sure if the strong projection of this antagonism of 1980’s is really helpful for finding good solutions.
Under bilateral arrangements as proposed in policy options 1, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 and 3.2., (monetary) benefits arising out of use of ‘DSI’ would basically be circulated between the large provider and user countries of ‘DSI’, i.e. China, the US, India, Japan, Brazil and Germany. Even if the fundamental access problem could be resolved – Basile’s question from [#2052] is still unanswered – the question is for whom the proposed policy options would generate monetary benefits. And if this would reflect the just sharing of benefits that is envisioned in criterion 10, or how this would support key elements for capacity building as outlined in section III of the AHTEG report on ‘DSI’.
Even if multilateral policy options would be preferred, this would still reward the large provider countries of ‘DSI’, but less likely the developing countries. Jyotsna Pandey pointed to this fact in post [#2089] under point 5c.
Scrutinising available policy options over the last few weeks was rather disappointing and to some extent depressing. Testing them under the conditions Akio Yamamoto pointed out in [#2081] and in the light of the proposed criteria, most fail in one or more of the key points Basile raised early in this discussion in post [#2052]. This also applies for option 4, even though it appears to be the most doable under criteria 6, 7, 8 and 9, because it is the only policy option that would allow redirecting monetary gains via funds into developing countries instead of the few big Provider Countries of ‘DSI’. But again, if option 4 is scrutinised under criteria 6, 7 and 8, it seems unclear how this could possibly work in practice. Paul Oldham’s fresh and pragmatic view surely points into a promising direction, and I agree that we need flexible and adaptable approach to handle this.
In this light, the holistic view and positive contributions of the ICC proposes in post [#2076] are very encouraging for this debate, and it would really be very interesting to have more details on the envisioned “variety of different mechanisms and initiatives”. Do these connect directly to one of the policy options discussed in this forum, and if yes, to which one? From previous posts and studies commissioned by the ICC it seems that decoupled multilateral options are the preferred way forward for commercial stakeholders with research interests in ‘DSI’. With reference to Paul’s post [#2061] it would be interesting to learn – besides all potential problems – if and how closed databases could be integrated in such regulatory frameworks, especially with regard to criteria 5, 6, 7 and 8 (legal certainty), which seems to be the key challenges for current discussion. Paul pointed to possible options in post [#2077] for INSDC; could these be integrated into databases outside INSDC curating ‘DSI’ data? The importance and value of open access to ‘DSI’ for non-commercial and commercial research has repeatedly been underlined, and I find it very encouraging that the ICC explicitly supports the idea of “open science and data availability” and the importance the underlying principles have for “international research collaboration and information exchange” in its statement on future-implementation-of-abs in [#2076]. The current pandemic really underpins the importance that commercial actors share data with scientists and basic research around the world.
One key element that currently seems not to be considered in criterion 5 are the operational costs of research infrastructures such as INSDC databases that host, curate and maintain ‘DSI’. It would be worth considering this in criterion 5. These infrastructures are surprisingly fragile and not secured in the long run, as not only Paul Oldham pointed out in his commissioned study for the EU. Should open access to ‘DSI’ held in databases in the public domain be a trigger to direct benefits to them, for both, maintaining their attractiveness for scientists around the world using ‘DSI’ and sustaining them through delivery of monetary benefits to support them in their efforts to handle and secure exponentially growing ‘DSI’ data provided by scientists around the globe? Paul Oldham pointed to this fact in his commissioned study for the EU, and Jyotsna Pandey also raises this question in [#2089] as well.
With regard to criterion 1, I concur with Lactitia [#2098] that it would be good to have a better understanding which value ‘DSI’ has for the various sectors using ‘DSI’, and which value ‘DSI’ has for reaching the goals of the CBD, post-2020 GBF and the SDGs. Personally, I find this current discussion on policy options very theoretical. Judging from our (taxonomic) collaboration with PhDs and PostDocs, I directly see the huge potential for capacity building as outlined in group III in the AHTEG report on ‘DSI’. The ‘values’ of ‘DSI’ and equitable sharing of benefits is immediately visible in these joint projects, which I personally find very inspiring. But this surely is not the only benefit ‘DSI’ has and can deliver, and thus post [#2076] might be an important step forward in this debate.
posted on 2021-05-02 11:03 UTC by Dirk Neumann, Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities / Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections
This is a reply to 2105 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2106]
The ETC Group has hosted Captain Hook Awards at six of the fourteen Conferences of the Parties. The ceremony provides much needed levity for the travesty of biopiracy. Whether one agrees that the Winners are deserving or not,  so what?  Audiences have good fun. Thirty years of ABS and royalty percentages of 0.1 are richly comic. Biopiracy has morphed into biofraud. Exit to the left O Captain! My Captain!  And don't forget your hook. Enter to the right, Bernie Madoff....Enter to the right, Bernie Madoff.  Mister Maaaadoff... Now where the hell is he?... How could he mistake Stage 15 for COP15? Stage 15 is Huis clos? What a schmo!

Is this a lack respect?  Satirical rhetoric can draw attention to what has long been taboo in the discussion, viz. natural information and economic rents. The genre enhances constructive criticism. The ABS discussion does not "need more evidence about DSI". That is the oldest trick in the book. Analysis, schmanalysis. ABS needs an honest reckoning. No more commissioned studies on DSI, please dear G-d have mercy. I am tired of writing peer reviews. 


"Wind Blowin' in the [Brackets]": Tribute to the 1993 Convention on Biological Diversity on its Silver Anniversary and to Bob Dylan on the Paper Anniversary of his 2016 Paper Anniversary for the Nobel Prize in Literature". Song. Youtube. 2018:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYJx-J31Op8
Karaoke Version: Youtube 2018: "Wind Blowin' in the [Brackets]".

Posting in Official PLOS Blog: https://theplosblog.plos.org/2019/02/wind-blowin-in-the-brackets-tribute-to-the-convention-on-biological-diversity/

Museum of Bioprospecting, Intellectual Property and the Public Domain: A Place, A Process, A Philosophy (Anthem Press, 2010). https://anthempress.com/the-museum-of-bioprospecting-intellectual-property-and-the-public-domain-pb

English Review: https://anthempress.com/the-museum-of-bioprospecting-intellectual-property-and-the-public-domain-pb
Spanish Preface and Introduction: "El Museo de Bioprospección, Propiedad Intelectual, y Conocimientos Tradicionales: Un lugar, un proceso, una filosofía”  in Carlos Arturo Espinosa Gallegos-Anda and Camilo Pérez Fernández (eds.) Los derechos de la naturaleza y la naturaleza de los derechos (Quito, Ecuador: Ministerio de Justicia, 2011).  Available at: https://biblio.flacsoandes.edu.ec/libros/146502-opac

(cc) 2021. Joseph Henry Vogel.
(edited on 2021-05-02 14:24 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel)
posted on 2021-05-02 11:49 UTC by Mr. Joseph Henry Vogel, University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
This is a reply to 2049 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2112]
Because the discussion around DSI takes place under the Global Biodiversity Framework the policy criteria “contributes to conservation of biological diversity an conservation” should, in my view, be viewed as either the most important criteria or at least very near the top of the list.
In this regard, global datasets can help us understand where we are now and where we need to go. Others have pointed out that perhaps 2% of species have been sequenced. (In fact, if you include microorganisms, the number might be even smaller.) As the CBD study on databases and traceability pointed out, currently, 52% of sequences with country information come from 4 countries: USA, China, Japan, and Canada. This means that our understanding of biological diversity is not only minimal but also not evenly geographically distributed.
To achieve the goals of the GBF, we need to collectively fill in these dark spots on the map an sequencing technology is an essential tool to do this. Thus, any DSI decision should consider whether countries are “competing with each other” (especially with countries that have no ABS requirements) as they would under any bilateral framework (1, 2.1, and even 2.2) or whether filling in biological dark spots can be incentivized as it could be in a multilateral system.
Instead of thinking about the INSDC as a potential “DSI policeman” function (see posts on registration etc), what if open access is left functionally as it is, and benefit-sharing is de-coupled from access (option 3.2; see for example, comments from Pierre Du Plessis)? The databases (including but not limited to INSDC) can be used not as regulatory agents but rather to inform the global community about where biological data is being generated from and how much we know about biodiversity on this planet (i.e. they can deliver scientific data which is their mandate) and provide bench marking data and encourage and incentivize new discovery. In fact, maybe this should be a new indicator within the GBIF and INSDC could become a new member in the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership?
Based on these data, one could imagine a “bonus” distribution from the multilateral fund that would reward those countries that are actively enabling the creation of new DSI that contributes towards biodiversity, conservation, and sustainable use. Thus, a virtuous cycle would be created.
By combining 3.2 with option 4, a global effort to harness genomics and bioinformatics could spark a revolution in scientific (rather than bureaucratic) capacity-building. Scientific colleagues around the globe will be able to “leapfrog” ahead using open DSI data available to anyone anywhere with an internet connection. Much as cellphones connected much of the developing world where telecom infrastructure was lacking, genomics and DSI offer a similar opportunity to build up countries’ bioeconomy and support sustainable use. You don’t need the infrastructure of a fancy high-tech sequencing lab. You just need to know how to ask the right question of the DSI dataset and analyze it in the cloud.
Together with colleagues at IPK Gatersleben and EMBL-EBI, we have looked at the global citation of sequences that have country-of-origin information and looked at how they are cited in the scientific literature (secondary publications) -- see attached graph below "biodiversity_gap" (Scholz et al., in preparation). Currently, OECD-located authors use OECD-originated DSI 6x more than DSI from BRICS or G77 countries. Our goal as a CBD community should be to improve this situation and increase the amount of green and yellow on this graph and bring the left and middle bars up to the level of the one on the right which is only possible if we fill in the biodiversity gaps in the map. This is what a DSI solution should prioritize, enable, and incentivize.
(edited on 2021-05-02 15:57 UTC by Dr Amber Scholz)
posted on 2021-05-02 15:55 UTC by Dr Amber Scholz, Leibniz Institute DSMZ
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2115]
The criteria framework is well-thought. I wonder how we would evaluate the current ABS system using this framework.

Criterion #12 is crucial for the sustainability of the retained option. But it is not straightforward. The foresight exercise for evaluating the “ likelihood [of a policy option] to remain effective and efficient in face of future technological developments” will be interesting !

What is perhaps missing from the list is something about reversibility. It is necessary to make sure that the chosen option does not lead to a path on which no backtracking or forking is possible.
posted on 2021-05-02 20:51 UTC by Mr. Jean-Louis PHAM, French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD)
This is a reply to 2045 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2) [#2119]
Thanks to the CBD Secretariat for offering this platform to express views and opinions on the DSI options as presented at the 3rd CBD Webinar on DSI. Thanks also to the participants for the interesting contributions.

I would like to briefly comment on the suggested criteria to analyze possible options for DSI. They are certainly useful, but to some extent incomplete since they focus on possible approaches and modalities for DSI, without taking into account issues related to the implementation and feasibility of such options. While the effort to present the summary of possible options in a neutral way is recognized and appreciated, it cannot be denied that elements such as viability, enforceability and estimation of costs and benefits are crucial for policy makers. In order to be able to assess options’ feasibility and appropriateness, cost-benefits/cost-efficiencies analysis would be needed. Thus, criteria looking at the costs of the implementation of those options, actions needed to make them operational as well as estimation of the generation of benefits (including related timeliness for their generation) would need to be further developed.

Note: The comment above expressed is the personal opinion of the author and does not represent nor prejudge the position of the EU and its Member States on this item.
posted on 2021-05-02 23:00 UTC by mery ciacci, European Union
This is a reply to 2119 RE: 2. Criteria Framework for assessing policy options (April 21-May 2)- Response #2119 [#2120]
Dear colleagues,
This will be my final comment to the threads. Whilst I understand the interest in feasibility studies concerning policy options, my question would be - what option(s) has been developed with sufficient detail to undergo a serious and rigorous feasibility study or assessment. Other than “bounded openness over natural information” which is based on a detailed conceptual model, has a trajectory in the literature and a proposed draft text of legal elements circulating, all of which should be openly vetted, there may not be that many other options on the table other than in broad general terms. The work by Reichmann and Dedeurwaerdere on microbial commons, Winter and Chege Kamaus work on common pools, Jaspers and Brogiatto´s recent work on “mare geneticum”, and one other which may escape my mind are the only works which I think one could also try to seriously assess given their detailed constructions and potential for operational implementation.  However, using the current options as described by the Secretariat and under consideration they are far too general to allow for an in-depth analysis and involve too many lose variables and assumptions to be made, not the least under what type of ABS regime would they be considered. I think that if we do not define a conceptual model which is robust and solid (and this is not just a theoretical exercise but an effort which can have serious practical implications) we may be building options on straws and find ourselves in the same situation we are now, just years down the line, and with biodiversity still in decline. To move forward we must at least agree on:
- a workable definition for what we know call “DSI” which is distinct yet broad at the same time,
- an ABS “approach” or model which is technically sound in its scope and social, legal and economic foundations,
- an ABS approach which can integrate -under a coherent framework- disperse approaches currently moving in parallel (NP, UNCLOS, WHO, etc.) – if not we´ll have a nightmare of different regimes and procedures operating at different levels,   
- an ABS approach which aligns incentives for conservation in a logical manner and delivers both non-monetary and monetary benefits at the same time.
Cherry picking from here and there will not be enough and be counterproductive. We just need to pause and look back at the history of ABS. Plenty of evience available about failure of ABS. If there are options out there which have taken up and developed these bullet points in some detail with an operational perspective, there may be a chance for some form of serious assessment.
Cheers and all be safe.
Manuel
posted on 2021-05-03 00:04 UTC by manuel muller, peruvian society for environmental law (SPDA)