Between the 21st to 22nd May 2019, the EU Commission hosted the “Marine Genetic Resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction: bridging policy, law, science and research and development” workshop. The workshop provided a unique and valuable opportunity for experts from a variety of fields to learn from one another ahead of the third Intergovernmental Conference (IGC3) on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) to be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York in August 2019.

“The premises of this exercise was to ensure that the new instrument can remain relevant and does not become obsolete, it will be necessary to find innovative and balanced solutions to ensure it can keep up with the rapid advancement of technologies. Moreover, it needs to establish an efficient, light and cost-effective regime in harmonious synergies with practices of the scientific community in recording information, sharing of non-monetary benefits and capacity building and sharing of information, data and samples. Therefore, the high-level workshop was aimed at providing a forum where policy and law experts can meet with representatives from the scientific community – from on cruises’ scientists, to collection managers, to synthetic biologists – and representatives from the private sectors as well as those responsible for negotiating the future instrument. This workshop will ensure the widest possible geographical representation to ensure that the widest range of views, from developed and developing countries, can be taken into consideration with a view to the development of that part of the future instrument dealing with these issues.”

Having worked with Marine genetic resources from both South Africa, Europe, and Antarctica – as well as spending some time in South Africa’s biotechnology industry before his PhD – Grant Garren January (IBP-CNR, Naples, Italy) was invited to attend this workshop and share his perspective by giving a talk entitled “Marine genetic resources of South Africa: its current status, challenges and how to build for the future”

For further information, please contact Grant via email g.january@ibp.cnr.it