Tadodaho Sid Hill, Chief of the Onondaga Nation

Highlights and images for 17 November 2023

Geneva, Switzerland

After a late night of negotiations in a contact group, delegates focus on the negotiating text for Digital Sequence Information (DSI)

After a late night of negotiations, delegates spent the day focusing on possible elements of a multilateral mechanism for benefit-sharing from the use of digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources

View of the dais as the Committee of the Whole for DSI resumes discussions in plenary

View of the dais as the CoW for DSI resumes discussions

Discussions were structured around four of the identified clusters of work, contained in a conference room paper that was developed after long hours of deliberations in the Contact Group, on:

  • contributions to the DSI fund;
  • fund disbursement;
  • non-monetary benefit-sharing; and
  • governance.
Microphones go green as delegations ask to take the floor

Microphones go green as delegations ask to take the floor

Negotiations were difficult but encouraging as Co-Chairs Martha Mphatso Kalemba (Malawi) and William Lockhart (UK) skillfully guided delegates around identified areas of convergence and divergence. Although, at the end of the day, elements that require further discussion outnumbered those where potential convergence was reached, the overall environment was positive. Still, most participants agree that a lot of work will need to be done intersessionally, if the Working Group is to achieve its mandate: delivering a meaningful, robust benefit-sharing mechanism for DSI for approval to the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

In that respect, discussions in an evening Contact Group on next steps were highlighted by veterans as one of the most important outcomes of the meeting. Co-Chair Lockhart highlighted a commissioned study to analyze and model the extent to which a multilateral mechanism for benefit-sharing from the use of DSI, and any other options the Working Group may decide, meets the agreed criteria in paragraphs 9 and 10 of CBD Decision 15/19 (DSI on genetic resources). The Contact Group agreed on a three-step process:

  • information sharing, including through webinars;
  • setting up an informal advisory group to provide opportunity for technical discussion among parties, Indigenous Peoples and local communities, and stakeholders; and
  • informal consultations facilitated by the Co-Chairs through a series of regional consultations, with the commissioned studies open for peer review by parties.
The contact group on DSI continued late into the night

Delegates attend the contact group on DSI

The Contact Group finished its work much earlier than midnight, which had been the general rule for the whole week, with participants earning a well-deserved rest prior to the last day of negotiations on Saturday. 

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For CBD Article 8(j) and DSI, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth.