University of Aberdeen hosts workshop on Marine Genetic Resources in the BBNJ Process

An inter-disciplinary team from the University of Aberdeen hosted a two day workshop to help build consensus on pragmatic approaches to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

BBNJ Delegates


The Marine Biodiscovery Centre, Department of Chemistry, School of Law and School of Biological Sciences co-hosted a workshop involving academics, diplomats, and government and EU policy makers and NGOs from across the globe to discuss the issues around the governance of marine biodiscovery in areas beyond national jurisdiction  and how benefits arising from this may be shared.

Marine biodiscovery is the search for marine-derived natural products which may have commercial applications. It is an area of science generating much interest regarding the need for new governance mechanisms under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (commonly termed BBNJ/ABNJ).  This workshop's key focus was to explore a pragmatic solution in the context of an Intergovernmental Conference at the UN in September 2018

The key topics that were debated were:
•Using the ‘Mare Geneticum’ building blocks to show how a regime built on good scientific practice and prior notification could work. 
•How inclusive innovation can allow all parties to benefit from BBNJ. This includes aspects of open access linked to capacity building, technology transfer and benefit sharing.
•Illustrating  how these potential approaches are consistent with established principles of international law, and provisions of UNCLOS applicable to ABNJ and the high sea.

The output of the meeting will be a report of the discussions under the Chatham House Rule.

The following delegates attended:

Prof Marcel Jaspars    University of Aberdeen – Marine Biodiscovery Centre
Dr Rainer Ebel   University of Aberdeen – Marine Biodiscovery Centre
Prof Frithjof Kuepper     University of Aberdeen – OceanLab
Prof Ursula Witte       University of Aberdeen – OceanLab
Prof Abbe Brown   University of Aberdeen – School of Law
Anne-Michelle SlaterUniversity of Aberdeen – School of Law
Marianthi Pappa         University of Aberdeen – School of Law (Rapporteur)
Dr Thomas VanagtECoast – Oostende, Belgium
Jane CollinsECoast – Oostende, Belgium (Rapporteur)
John BrincatOcean Governance, Law of the Sea & Arctic Policy for the EuropeanCommission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Ambassador Janine Coye-FelsonMGR Working Group Leader, BBNJ PrepCom, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Belize to the United Nations
Piotr CzepulonisLegal and Treaty Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Poland
Jessica Dark DEFRA, UK
Tekau Frere Islands First
Lowri Mai GriffithsHead of the Maritime Policy Unit, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London, UK
Dr Anne Emmanuelle KervellaEMBRC-EMBRIC (EMBRC-FRANCE)
James LugerGeography Department, University of St Andrews, UK (Rapporteur)
Emad Morcos Mattarirst Secretary, Permanent Mission of Egypt to the United Nations
Kate NeilsonLegal Counsel and Second Secretary, New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations
Dr Ian Probert Roscoff Culture Collection Director, Station Biologique de Roscoff, France.
Allison Reed Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, United States Department of State, Washington DC, USA
Mehdi RemaounFirst Secretary, Permanent Mission of Algeria to the United Nations
Alex Rogers Zoology Department, University of Oxford, UK
Dr Siva ThambisettyIntellectual Property Law, London School of Economics, UK
Torsten Thiele London School of Economics, UK & Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany