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UN DOALOS Eighth Session of the Open-ended
Informal Consultative Process
on Oceans and the Law of the Sea

UN Headquarters, New York | 25-29 June 2007
United Nations
 
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8th Consultative Process Opens in New York

The eighth meeting of the United Nations Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea (Consultative Process or ICP) opened on Monday, 25 June 2007, at UN headquarters in New York. Delegates convened in Plenary in the morning, addressing organizational matters and exchanging views on concerns and actions needed. In the afternoon, a Discussion Panel on marine genetic resources (MGRs) was held.


Monday, 25 June
Plenary


Co-Chair Cristián Maquiera, Chile, highlighted the importance of ICP-8 to gain knowledge on access, scientific complexity, and economic and legal issues related to MGRs.

Co-Chair Lori Ridgeway, Canada, noted the need to find common understanding on the trends and the way forward with regards to MGRs.

Gabriele Goettsche-Wanli, UN DOALOS, provided an overview of side events scheduled during the week.

Farukh Amil, Pakistan, for the G-77/CHINA, emphasized that MGRs are part of the "common heritage of mankind."

Robert Aisi, Papua New Guinea, for the Pacific Islands Forum, highlighted negotiations to establish a South Pacific RFMO.

Verena Gräfin von Roedern, Germany, for the EU, emphasized the need to discuss MGRs in and beyond areas of national jurisdiction separately.

Brazil said the discussion would contribute to the 2008 meeting of the ad hoc working group on marine biodiversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction.

Stuart Beck, Palau, urged countries to heed the UN General Assembly's recent call to close bottom fisheries in vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Renée Sauvé, Canada, called for maximizing research and facilitating access without endangering MGRs.

Constance Arvis, United States, reminded delegates that resources within national jurisdictions should also be considered.

Penny Race, New Zealand, highlighted the importance of ICP-8 to inform discussions in other fora such as the CBD.

Dire Tladi, South Africa, emphasized that under UNCLOS, activities in the Area are to be "carried out for the benefit of mankind as a whole."

The Russian Federation supported strengthening international integration in creating databases.

India underscored that developing country participation depends on the scientific data available to them.

Chile supported applying the precautionary principle, an ecosystem-wide focus and taking into account socioeconomic aspects.

Japan said bioprospecting increases scientific knowledge and benefits mankind, and opposed unnecessary regulation of bioprospecting.

Luis Niño, Venezuela identified the need to better understand the technical, socioeconomic, legal and environmental aspects related to MGRs.

Australia looked forward to an exchange of domestic experiences as a way to proceed beyond the access and benefit-sharing impasse.

Holger Martinsen, Argentina, said that MGRs in areas beyond national jurisdiction fall under the common heritage of mankind.

Yolanda Alaniz Pasini, Sierra Club, called for multilateral action to address the threat posed to marine biodiversity by anthropogenic noise.

Karen Sack, Greenpeace, announced an upcoming scientific survey of deep ocean canyons in the Bering Sea.
Side Event

UNESCO and the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies hosted a lunchtime side event on "Marine genetic resources: Research, commercial uses and a database on marine bioprospecting."
Discussion Panel: Understanding Marine Genetic Resources, their Vulnerabilty, and the Services they Provide

Frank Oliver Glöckner, Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Germany, noted that investigations of MGRs are hindered by high infrastructure costs and lack of a stable intellectual property rights framework.

Curtis Suttle, University of British Columbia, Canada, said that although microbes dominate the ocean, humanity still knows very little about their genetic diversity, and the factors that control their distribution.

Libby Evans-Illidge, Australian Institute of Marine Science, discussed practical databases and knowledge-sharing for MGRs, focusing on the diversity of macro-organisms in the ocean.

David Rowley, University of Rhode Island, US, called for cross-disciplinary collaboration between scientists and engineers, and knowledge-sharing through open-access databases.

Muhammad Shah, Pakistan, asked panelists about ownership of MGRs.

Matt Gianni, Natural Resources Defense Council, asked panelists about ocean fertilization, carbon sequestration, and climate change.

UNCTAD asked panelists about identifying the origin of MGRs.

John Hooper, Australia, noted differences between terrestrial and seabed life.

Ireland highlighted the rapid regeneration of microorganisms.

Related Links

UNICPOLOS Site.
UN Division for Oceans Affairs and the Law of the Sea (UNDOALOS).
Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) - Chapter 17.

Related ENB Coverage

Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the Ad Hoc Working Group on marine biodiversity
Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of UNICPOLOS-7
Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of UNICPOLOS-6
Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of UNICPOLOS-5
Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of UNICPOLOS-4

Linkages Update.
Oceans-L oceans policy news and announcement Listserve.
MEA-L Multilateral Environmental Agreements Listserve.
Africa Regional Coverage.

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