BBNJ: Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs)

BBNJ: Marine Generic Resources (MGRs) Foto: National Herald India

According to Daniel Kachelriess from the High Seas Alliance, Marine Genetic Resources (MGRs) are the genetic material of any plant, animal, or microbe, as well as, their digital sequence information and derivatives, such as biochemical products are covered in the BBNJ Agreement.

MGRs attract substantial interest from science and the industry to develop new drugs and cosmetics, this was unknown when the UNCLOS was negotiated. Hence, activities in regard to MGRs in Areas Beyond Natural Jurisdiction, are currently not regulated.

Furthermore, the capability to understand and undertake research and development harnessing the benefits of these resources is unequally distributed. Thus, the BBNJ Agreement seeks to address both of these facts.

At the center, the section dealing MGRs part two aims to balance the freedom of marine scientific research with fair and equitable sharing of benefits, it contains obligations for states to share both non-monetary (access to samples) and monetary benefits for both MGRs and digital sequence information. The monetary benefit sharing will initially take the form of an annual payment by developed states calculated on the basis of their other contributions. Nonetheless, the COP can adopt alternative modalities in the future. For example, a payment is directly linked to the value of the sales of products.

Additionally, establishes a notification system to inform and monitor the implementation of these obligations and an access and benefit-sharing committee to provide recommendations on how to develop the system in the future.

Source: The High Sea Alliance

Source High Seas Alliance

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