Double de-coupling ABS

Dr Amber Hartman Scholz gave the latest GROW Webinar last week, and her talk and PowerPoint are now online: “Digital Sequence Information: A Looming Disaster or Hidden Opportunity for Positive Change?

Dr Scholz has been working on the project Wissenschaftliche Lösungsansätze für Digitale Sequenzinformation (Scientific approaches for digital sequence information), funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, about which we have blogged before. If you’re interested in biodiversity access and benefit sharing (ABS), and in particular what to do about digital sequence information (DSI), it’s well worth listening to the presentation and Q&A as a whole.

But here’s a spoiler: Dr Scholz is optimistic that there may be a way forward in what she calls “de-coupling.” That is, not tying benefit sharing to access to a particular bit of DSI, but rather designing a system whereby fee-paying membership of a club allows access to all DSI.

That sounds like the subscription system that the Plant Treaty has been considering for a while. So Dr Scholz is really suggesting a double de-coupling, because her idea would also de-couple ABS on the physical material from ABS on DIS, resulting in two parallel but connected multilateral systems.


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