Marine Genetic Resources: Outcomes of the United Nations Informal Consultative Process (ICP)

In: The International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law
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  • 1 1Director-General, International Policy and Integration, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Co-Chair, United Nations Informal Consultative Process (ICP) on Oceans and the Law of the Sea


This presentation analyses the outcomes of the 8th ICP meeting devoted to Marine Genetic Resources, from the perspective of policy issues arising from the international debate at that meeting. After describing the purpose and working procedures of the ICP, findings derived from the specific panel discussions and state-to-state debate during the meeting are summarized. Common elements between findings from the panels and discussions, as well as tensions among positions of states, are identified. With regard to policy and legal issues that remained contentious and unresolved, eight considerations underlying divergent views are considered. It is suggested that these divergences may themselves be rooted in further deep-seated tensions between developing and developed states, as well as between commercial benefits and environmental interests. It is concluded that considerably more international debate is necessary in order to develop a better understanding of the contentious issues and to agree on a common way forward. Future solutions at the international level will require patience and realism, but in the meantime practical measures can be put forward that would generate benefits to all states and stakeholders.

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