10 June 2019
The Manager of the Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) Pacific Natural Products Research Centre (PNPRC), Dr Katy Soapi was invited to present at the European Commission convened workshop on Marine Genetic Resources (MGR) in areas beyond national jurisdiction: bridging policy, law, science and research and development” held at Brussels from 21 – 22 May. Dr Katy presented on experiences in conducting research on MGR at the University of the South Pacific including on approaches to organising research expeditions, sampling of marine samples and their preservation, sharing of data, and laboratory techniques used for research at the USP.
Approximately 90 experts from the fields of science, policy and law, and industry gathered in Brussels to present their experiences related to research and development with MGR, and join in discussions with delegates from the UN negotiations on issues and strategies related to Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). The focus on MGR was in the context of ongoing negotiations for a new legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
The workshop facilitated the sharing of knowledge and experiences between participants from both developing and developed countries to help bridge the gaps between policy, law, science and research and development (R&D).
The IAS PNPRC Centre has been at the forefront of MGR work through its bioprospecting work. Dr Katy stated that participating in the workshop provided an opportunity for USP and the region to share its experiences and views in the development of possible options for marine genetic resources in the future treaty.