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Tentative online DSI events prior OEWG 3

Organized by the ABS-Capacity Development Initiative in the context of the Norway – South Africa partnership.

The ABS Initiative will organize several web based sessions in the upcoming months to shed light on key aspects related to the science-policy discussion around Digital Sequence Information (DSI) under the CBD.

Since 2019, the ABS Initiative has already organized online and offline events, published a guide and a video on the crucial topic of DSI:

Webinars (open participation, 1,5 – 2 hs) 

12. May 2021
Role of IPLCs and associated TK in the DSI debate

How could databanks secure rights IPLCs on their TK? Many traditional animal breeds and plant landraces are the breeding success of generations of small indigenous groups. Their applied traditional knowledge is expressed through living organisms and their characteristics, based on a specific genetic and biochemical set up.

DSI is gained from such genetic resources expressing the TK of IPLCs and is publicly available in various databanks. Nowadays, research using this DSI and the development of new products can take place anywhere in the world as long as the necessary infrastructure is in place. Accessing the genetic resource for breeding at the place of origin might become less important in future. Therefore, national regulation on ABS and finally benefit-sharing run the risk of being bypassed. In this webinar, some concrete examples of plant and animal GR of IPLCs where related DSI is in databanks will be presented and scientific reasons to work with traditional breeds and varieties will be discussed. The webinar aims at clarifying which are the (legal) rights of IPLCs on TK with a focus on ensuring benefit sharing. Further, it will be discussed how databanks could secure rights IPLCs on their TK and which benefit-sharing concepts may be developed.

02 June 2021

Assessing (biotechnology) capacity development needs for the use of DSI

Why not undertaking research and development on GR and aTK in and for countries with high biodiversity? Proponents of this concept were very vocal in the 1980s discussions leading to the negotiation of the CBD. The negotiators finally opted for a transfer deal on providing GR/aTK to the North for receiving technologies and financial resources by the South under the ABS model of the CBD. In 2010, COP MOP 1 took up the pre-CBD concept as element of the strategic framework for capacity development which includes “Capacity of countries to develop their endogenous research capabilities to add value to their genetic resources”.

For this purpose, various legal, administrative, scientific, and technological capacities are necessary:

  • to generate and use DSI from GR accessed in providing countries
  • to use DSI accessed in databanks for non-commercial and commercial applications

In this webinar, DSI-related projects in Africa will be presented helping to find answers to which extend DSI could contribute to addressing some of Africa’s development challenges. On the other hand the webinar aims at shedding light on possible problems that could arise e.g. from the creation of GMOs - when DSI is used in modern biotechnology applications for fermentation of food ingredients or for creation of new agricultural characteristics. As the discussions in the CBD (Synthetic Biology) and its Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols show, Africa faces specific challenges and expressed specific needs in legal, administrative, scientific, and technological areas. Finally, also the question on how benefit-sharing could be linked to the use of DSI will be addressed.

16 June 2021
Contribution of DSI in the development of commercial applications

The policy-science process under the CBD clearly showed, that many stakeholders are determined to keep access to DSI in databanks open. However, open access does not necessarily mean free access. Possible future benefit-sharing models for the utilization of DSI may come with terms and conditions at the level of access in data banks. While some groups specifically promote benefit-sharing options for commercial use of DSI, a definition of the difference between non-commercial and commercial research is not at hand. There is evidence that many commercial products are based on an initially non-commercial research projects which later resulted in commercial research.

In this webinar, the 2-phase model of DSI generation and use will be explained and discussed:

1) Generation of DSI from genetic resources (accessed under PIC and MAT) and subsequent utilization (under PIC and MAT)

2) Accessing DSI, previously generated from genetic resources, in databanks and subsequent utilization.

Following this, several examples of products on the market or in the approval phase will be presented that are based on the utilization of DSI. Also, the relation of intellectual property protection and DSI, in particular with respect to the patent system will be addressed. Finally, possible benefit-sharing options related to the examples presented will be considered.

Global Dialogues (participation by invitation only: governmental and non-governmental participants under Chatham House rules) 

Assessing DSI policy options against decision- making criteria

28. June             Global kick-off (2 hs)

06.July                Regional Asia & Pacific (4,5 hs) 

07.July                Regional Africa & Europe (4,5 hs)

08.July                Regional Americas (4,5 hs)

13.July                Global wrap-up (2 hs) 20 July    

20 July               Reflection panel on the global dialogue (1.5 hs, open participation)   

More Info on the dialogues coming soon



Webinar: Understanding DSI - a Technical Overview of its Production, Distribution and Use

Webinar: Understanding DSI - a Technical Overview of its Production, Distribution and Use

Hosted by: ABS Capacity Development Initiative

When: Tuesday, 1 December 2020, 7am-10am EST (1 pm – 4 pm CET) 

Opens external link in new window--> Recording

The ABS Capacity Development Initiative in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity organized a webinar on Tuesday, 1 December 2020 which provided a technical overview of the production, distribution and use of digital sequence information (DSI).

This webinar focused on the exchange of technical information regarding DSI. It served as a platform for negotiations, or understanding different views or questions related to the scope of DSI or regulatory options.

Specifically, the objectives of this webinar was to:

  • Gain an understanding of the concept of DSI and how it relates to the 3 objectives of the CBD
  • Identify what technical capacity is required to generate DSI and how much it costs
  • Comprehend where DSI is stored, shared and distributed and how it is being used
  • Learn about the sectors that use DSI as well as the actors and owners involved in using DSI
  • Acquire knowledge on how DSI is being dealt with in international fora

This session will be in English, with French interpretation.

Additional background information about DSI:

More information about this webinar and two following webinars on DSI & ABS



Comprendre l’ISN : Un aperçu technique de sa production, de sa distribution et de son utilisation

Organisé par : Initiative de renforcement des capacités pour L’APA

Quand : Mardi, décembre 1 2020, 7am-10am EST (1 pm – 4 pm CET)

Opens external link in new window--> Enregistrement

L'Initiative de renforcement des capacités pour l’APA organise, en collaboration avec le Secrétariat de la Convention sur la diversité biologique, un webinaire qui aura lieu le mardi 1 décembre 2020. 

Ce webinaire fournira un aperçu technique de la production, de la distribution et de l'utilisation des informations de séquençage numérique (ISN).

Ce webinaire se focalisera sur l'échange d'informations techniques concernant les ISN. Il ne servira pas de plate-forme pour les négociations, ni pour comprendre les différents points de vue ou questions liées à la portée des ISN ou aux options réglementaires y afférant

Les objectifs de ce webinaire sont les suivants :

  • Acquérir une compréhension du concept de l’ISN et de son lien avec les 3 objectifs de la CDB
  • Identifier la capacité technique requise pour générer des ISN et combien cela coûte
  • Comprendre où les ISN sont stockées, partagées et distribuées et comment elles sont utilisées
  • En savoir plus sur les secteurs qui utilisent les ISN ainsi que les acteurs et les propriétaires impliqués dans l'utilisation des ISN
  • Acquérir des connaissances sur la manière dont les questions en lien avec les ISN sont traitées dans les forums internationaux

Cette session sera en anglais, avec interprétation en française.

Des ressources additionnelles sur les ISN peuvent être obtenus en suivant le lien suivant :

Opens external link in new windowPlus d'informations sur ce webinaire et les deux webinaires suivants sur DSI et ABS


Reflection in the co-chairs panel: Discussion on potential criteria for assessing DSI policy options

Reflection in the co-chairs panel: Discussion on potential criteria for assessing DSI policy options

When: Wednesday 24 March 2021 13:00 CET

At CBD COP 14 Parties committed to working towards resolving their divergence of views regarding benefit sharing from the use of digital sequence information on genetic resources. To broaden and deepen the science- and policy-based process around this topic, the ABS Capacity Development Initiative has organized a reflection webinar on 24 March 2021, among others to discuss potential criteria for assessing DSI policy options.

The webinar was an informal exchange among internationally recognized experts with extensive experience at the national and global level in a range of fora. It aimed to serve as a useful input to the formal processes by providing constructive and concrete ideas to feed into the Open-Ended Working Group and the Conference of the Parties and those preparing for these key meetings.

The objective of the virtual meeting was to identify landing zones for safeguarding DSI flow and the sharing of benefits. It was also an informal start to evaluating policy options for consideration of stakeholders and Parties.

In a roundtable discussion, consisting of three phases, experts were asked to:

  • explain how they understand the priorities of various stakeholder groups, and the implications of this understanding for the feasibility of various policy options
  • suggest practical ways in which the concerns and priorities of divergent stakeholder groups can be addressed
  • reflect on if, and how, the exchange has improved their understanding of the issues involved and/or of the perspectives of various stakeholder groups.

Around 280 participants from around the globe participated in the webinar which was held in English, French and Spanish.