Inclusion of Digital Sequence Information into the Access and Benefits Sharing mechanism under the the Nagoya Protocol

You are here

Meeting title
Inclusion of Digital Sequence Information into the Access and Benefits Sharing mechanism under the the Nagoya Protocol

Organizers: IG ELIXIR Bridging Force, WG BioSharing Registry: connecting data policies, standards & databases in life sciences, IG Agricultural Data Interest Group (IGAD), IG Biodiversity Data Integration

Collaborative session notes
(link to be added)

Group chair serving as contact person (responsible for the agreement with the corresponding groups)
Rob Hooft

Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group(s)

ELIXIR is the European inter-governmental organization of 21 member nodes, including EMBL-EBI, in 20 countries (, representing the European bioinformatics capacity and key research infrastructure resources. Operating in the life, environmental and biomedical sciences, ELIXIR works closely with the USA National Institutes of Health (NIH), Big Data to Knowledge Initiative (BD2K) and other EU infrastructure programmes (also represented in the RDA GEDE group). The ELIXIR Bridging Force Interest Group, as its name suggests, serves as a bridge between ELIXIR and relevant RDA Interest Groups. The ELIXIR Bridging Force IG works as an information bridge between RDA and ELIXIR and other relevant organisations.

FAIRsharing is the evolution of BioSharing (, a curated, informative and educational resource on inter-related data standards, data repositories, and journal and funder policies. The original focus on life, environmental and biomedical sciences is being expanded to other domains, to reflect the broader interest and uptake of the BioSharing resource, which is also, part of the ELIXIR Interoperability Platform. Work is in progress to also rename the joint RDA and Force11 BioSharing WG to the FAIRsharing WG, This use cases-driven WG has already delivered a draft recommendation adopted by journals, funders, research infrastructures and organizations.

IGAD is a domain-oriented group working on all issues related to global agriculture data. It represents stakeholders in managing data for agricultural research and innovation, including producing, aggregating and consuming data. Beyond this IGAD promotes good practices in research with regard to data sharing policies, data management plans, and data interoperability, and it is a forum for sharing experiences and providing visibility to research and work in agricultural data. One of IGAD’s main roles is to serve as a platform that leads to the creation of domain-specific Working Groups. To date, four successful Working Groups have been formed under IGAD – Wheat Data Interoperability, Rice Data Interoperability, AgriSemantics and On-Farm Data Sharing

The Biodiversity field is working on data integration through Biodiversity Data Integration IG.

The RDA/Codata Legal interoperability IG works on recommendations for data sharing that facilitate legal aspects of interoperation. The group currently is interested in research fields where application of their recommendation is encountering hurdles, and works with those groups on solutions.

Meeting objectives

Many countries in the world have signed a series of legal agreements specifying that countries that are at the origin of biological samples should also benefit from the results of the research that is coming from it. The Nagoya Protocol under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) regulates access to physical genetic resources and the sharing of benefits derived from their utilisation (broadly speaking, R&D using genetic resources). The CBD is currently discussing whether to expand the scope of the Nagoya Protocol (NP) to include Digital Sequence Information (DSI). This could mean that:
1) In contrast with the current movement towards open science encompassing free sharing of research data, there are legal frameworks that restrict what can be done with digital genetic information (in the discussion often referred to as Digital Sequence Information (DSI)).
2) Genetic databases trying to get a comprehensive overview can have white spots where unlimited sharing is not permitted.

Since the legal arrangement was primarily set up to protect the interest of people in less wealthy nations, the first RDA Plenary on the African continent gives this subject a good place to open the discussion among RDA members.

Goal of the meeting is to get more clear what the practical consequences of the ABS and the proposed extension are for (open, data intensive) research, and to either try and bring this together as a short statement released shortly after the meeting, or to set up an RDA WG to write such a statement. The result can constitute a significant part of the viewpoint from the research domain in the current discussion in CBD.

* The ABS concept:
* Explanation of the Nagoya Protocol:
* Report of the ad-hoc expert group on digital sequence information:
* International Chamber of Commerce (ICCWBO) Postion paper on digital sequence informatioin:
* Joint stakeholder statement “Safeguarding open exchange of Digital Sequence Information”.

Meeting agenda

Proposed agenda and speakers:
0-5: Introduction to the session
5-20: brief explanation of ELIXIR and FAIRsharing, and how ABS affects it. Speaker name to be confirmed.
20-35: <Biodiversity perspective>; Speaker name to be confirmed.
35-50: <Agriculture perspective>; Speaker name to be confirmed from IGAD.
50-65: Paul Uhlir, <title to be specified> <Legal perspective>
65-75: <African Perspective>
75-90: questions and open discussion to see whether further RDA action (e.g. a WG to come up with a recommendation) could help. We are really looking for input from African Scientists on their perspective.

Additional links


Please specify who is your target audience and how they should prepare for the meeting

Legal experts on data, as well as any researchers whose work could be affected by legal restrictions based on the geographical origin of digital sequence data.

Type of meeting
Working meeting