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Oceania Biodiscovery Forum (3rd Pacific Sub-regional ABS Workshop)

19-23 November, Brisbane, Australia

The Oceania Biodiscovery Forum provided a platform for information exchange and discussion between government, industry, indigenous and research stakeholders engaged in the exploration of biodiversity. The ABS Capacity Development Initiative enabled stakeholders from across the Pacific region to participate for the first time.

Participants explored the state of play in biodiscovery research in the region. Representatives of the Australian Government, the European Union Commission and the Government of Switzerland described the regulatory system they are developing to implement the Nagoya Protocol. Discussion eventuated on how the Australian Government can help Australian researchers to be prepared for commercialisation in this new global framework.

Further issues under discussion included, among others, marine genetic resources beyond areas of national jurisdiction and the Antarctic Treaty, the role of traditional knowledge in the context of random collections and screening and the role of lawyers when applying IP concepts

General conclusions:

Generally, one can say that community governance structures are strong and hold substantial resource rights. Moreover, transboundary resources, particularly of marine origin, are very common. Therefore strong national and regional structures are needed to facilitate and improve cooperation and exchange in the ABS context. These structures need to be harmonized as the region already has very diverse government structures, from strong federal to more centralised systems. The challenge is clear: Users and providers of genetic resources need to deal with both communities and those various levels of government in authorization process involving Prior Informed Consent (PIC) and Mutually Agreed Terms (MAT). This can make the process rather long and cumbersome..

This event was organised by the Australian Government, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme. Hosted by the Eskitis Institute, Griffith University.

Please note that all presentations given at the Oceania Biodiscovery Forum are linked from the report provided for download below.