Pacific Island Countries have limited capacity to engage in scientific research involving marine genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction (
Marine technology transfer and capacity building are critical cross-cutting elements in the development of a new international legally binding instrument (
Scientific capacity development and technology transfer are crucial for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in
In this article, options are examined to strengthen marine technology transfer and scientific capacity development for Pacific Island Countries to benefit from marine genetic resources in
International Legal Framework for Marine Technology Transfer
The purposes of technology transfer identified in the
The acquisition, evaluation and dissemination of marine scientific and technological knowledge, information and data are emphasised in the
However, there are gaps, weaknesses and ambiguities in
Marine Genetic Resources Beyond National Jurisdiction: Opportunities and Challenges for Technology Transfer in Pacific Island Countries
The high marine biodiversity of the South-West Pacific region encompasses rich genetic and biochemical diversity,34 making the region a significant source of marine genetic resources and target for marine bio-discovery activities. The South-West Pacific was a major source of natural products from invertebrates in the 1990s.35 Although this has mainly been in shallow coastal waters, the growing number of deep-sea natural products36 described from the region indicates some level of research activity in deep-sea marine genetic resources. Examples of deep-sea natural products derived from the Pacific include: compounds with anti-cancer properties derived from sponges collected in Guam and Palau and from fungal strains collected off Fiji; and sterols with anti-fungal properties from a starfish collected off New Caledonia.37 Marine genetic resources patents associated with the North Fiji Basin, Manus Basin, Tonga Trench and Kermadec Trench.38 Nevertheless, the South-West Pacific deep sea remains one of the most under-sampled areas of the global ocean, leaving significant gaps in knowledge of its deep-sea biodiversity.39 Increased scientific research would be necessary to access, use and derive benefits from marine genetic resources in South-West Pacific
The financial and technological requirements of undertaking research in
According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (
Information and data (marine sciences, operations and services);
Expertise, knowledge, skills, methods (technical/scientific/legal);
Equipment (in situ sampling and observation, laboratory analysis and experimentation);
Computer software, models and modelling techniques;
Manuals, guidelines, criteria, standards, reference materials.
Technologies that can be applied for multiple purposes could be particularly important for capacity development. The merits of multi-use technologies are illustrated by the Centre of Drug Discovery and Conservation of the University of the South Pacific, which has a dual focus on marine biodiscovery and ecological surveys. For example, ‘shot-gun
Data and knowledge are forms of technology, access to data and knowledge is a form of technology transfer.48 Access to data is also a regional priority identified in the Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy.49 Data and information on marine biodiversity, natural products and genetics, as well as biological samples collected from
Information technology could therefore be particularly important to enable Pacific Island Countries to access data and information relating to
Scientific Capacity Development
International organisations, such as the International Seabed Authority, Food and Agriculture Organization, and the
In practice, capacity development in the region is supported through multilateral and bilateral arrangements with donor countries, or through ad-hoc international research collaborations. For example, the University of the South Pacific (
Few Pacific Island Countries have established marine scientific research institutions.67 Scientific research capacity in the South-West Pacific region is largely concentrated in regional organisations and institutions. For example, the
Other regional organisations could play a role in technology transfer and capacity development. For example, the
The establishment of national and regional marine science and technology centres is promoted in the
Existing marine science and technology institutions in the region, such as
Coordination is critically important for effective ocean governance in the region.77 Therefore, in addition to strengthening the capacity of individual institutions, increasing links between organisations (inside and outside the region) is important to avoid duplication of activities and enhance the existing network of marine science and technology centres. The coordination and delivery of technology transfer and capacity development initiatives, however, will depend on the availability of resources, as highlighted by Pacific
For Pacific Island Countries to make use of marine genetic resources in
A flexible and adaptable approach is necessary to provide training opportunities that are fit for the needs of the region.80
Coordination for Implementation: A Regional Science and Technology Strategy?
For capacity development and technology transfer to meet national and regional needs, those needs must first be identified.
Although few Pacific Island Countries have articulated national marine scientific research policies, the Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy sets a vision to improve understanding of the ocean in three ways: identifying and meeting information needs; access to information; and science education and training.83 Strengthening the international framework for science and technology transfer and capacity development through the development of the
However, fragmentation in regulatory and institutional frameworks for marine scientific research hinders the prioritisation of research needs in Pacific Island Countries.84 The development of a regional marine science and technology needs assessment could be useful to identify technology transfer and scientific capacity development priorities, including to benefit from marine genetic resources in
Towards an Enabling Environment for Technology Transfer?
An Integrated Approach to Acquire, Share and Apply Knowledge
The development of the
The acquisition, dissemination and application of scientific knowledge are important in the context of
An integrated approach to the acquisition, sharing and application of scientific knowledge could be particularly important to share benefits from marine genetic resources. The importance of technology transfer and international cooperation to build research and innovation capacity for ‘adding value to genetic resources’ for developing countries is recognised by the 2010 Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity.91 The 2001 International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture92 (
This notion that sharing benefits from marine genetic resources can be progressed through scientific investigation, technology transfer and capacity development is pertinent to the development of the
Acquiring Scientific Knowledge: International Collaboration for Regional Participation
International cooperation is crucial to enhance scientific knowledge of marine biodiversity in
Increasing scientific knowledge of biodiversity in
Disseminating Scientific Knowledge: Data and Knowledge Exchange
Access to data and knowledge will be crucial to enable technology transfer and implement the
The United Nations Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks98 (
Applying Scientific Knowledge: Capacity Development
Institutions: A Global Network of Regional Marine Science, Technology and Innovation Clusters
Regional marine science and technology centres could increase absorptive capacity, provide a hub for technology and research infrastructure and a focal point for regional research and engagement. The
This also illustrates the advantages of intergovernmental coordination to aid international and regional cohesion. Stronger coordination with competent international organisations, such as the
Individuals: Training and Skill Development
Scientific research skills and training are an important priority for developing human capacity to participate in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in
Long-term collaborations could be supported by a mentoring scheme linking early career researchers in developing countries with senior scientists in developed countries facilitated through existing international scientific networks. Workshops and training courses targeted to
A number of challenges relating to technology transfer and capacity development remain for the development of the
A clearinghouse mechanism has been proposed as a means to provide a centralised portal to access and exchange information on activities related to biodiversity in
However, the capacity constraints of
The development of the
Fostering a broad scope of technology transfer, including technologies that can be used for multiple purposes, could support meaningful capacity development. A broad scope of technology under the
A holistic scope of technology-transfer development could reduce duplication of activities and resources, and have wider advantages for sustainable development. The importance of technology transfer and capacity development in marine scientific research for sustainable development is recognised in
Sustained funding will be crucial for technology transfer and capacity development, including to generate, share and apply knowledge from
However, it is unclear whether a financial mechanism will be established under the
Marine technology transfer and scientific capacity development are crucial for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in
Improving the international framework for technology transfer and capacity development could also advance regional objectives for Pacific Island Countries and have broader sustainable development benefits. The institutional, technological, financial and human capacity constraints that limit the ability of Pacific Island Countries to engage in scientific research involving marine genetic resources in
An integrated approach to the investigation, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in order to promote the acquisition, dissemination and application of scientific knowledge could provide a useful focus for the development of technology transfer under an
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 69/292 ‘Development of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction’. 6 July 2015. Available at https://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/1859741.2109375.html; accessed 10 September 2017.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, (Montego Bay, 10 December 1982, in force 16 November 1994) 1833
E Druel, J Rochette, R Billé and C Chiarolla, ‘A long and winding road. International discussions on the governance of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction’,
R Long and M Rodriguez Chaves, ‘Anatomy of a new international instrument for marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction. First impressions of the preparatory process’ (2015) 6 Environmental Liability—Law, Policy and Practice 213–229;
‘Resolution on the development of national marine science, technology and ocean service infrastructures’. Adopted by the Conference at the 182nd meeting on 30 April 1982. Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea 1973–1982, Concluded at Montego Bay, Jamaica on 10 December 1982. A/CONF.62/120. Available at http://legal.un.org/diplomaticconferences/1973_los/docs/english/vol_16/a_conf62_120.pdf; accessed 10 September 2017.
For example, equitable sharing of benefits of marine genetic resources from
See, for example, “Supplementary view of the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia on the elements of a draft text of an international legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable; use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction following the conclusion of PrepCom 2”. Available at http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversity/prepcom_files/rolling_comp/Federated_States_of_Micronesia.pdf; accessed 14 February 2017, at pp. 1–2.
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 71/257 ‘Oceans and Law of the Sea’. 23 December 2016. at Preamble and para 13, available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N16/466/62/PDF/N1646662.pdf?OpenElement accessed 10 September 2017; United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/235 ‘Oceans and Law of the Sea’ 23 December 2015. at Preamble., available at https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N15/456/94/PDF/N1545694.pdf?OpenElement; accessed 10 September 2017.
Sustainable Development Goal 14 “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”. In: United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/1 ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’, 25 September 2015, at p. 14; available at http://www.un.org/en/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1; accessed 10 September 2017.
C Salpin, V Onwuasoanya, M Bourrel and A Swaddling, ‘Marine Scientific Research in Pacific Small Island Developing States’ (2016) Marine Policy, online, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.07.019HY.
“Alliance of Small Island States (
G77, “Development of an internationally legally binding instrument under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (A/RES/69/292) Group of 77 and China’s Written Submission. 5 December 2016” available at: http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversity/prepcom_files/rolling_comp/Group_of_77_and_China.pdf; accessed 14 February 2017.
All States have the right to conduct marine scientific research (
“Marine genetic resources” are not defined in the
TF Molinski, DS Dalisay, SL Lievens and JP Saludes, ‘Drug Development from Marine Natural Products’ (2009) 8(1) Nature Reviews. Drug Discovery 69–85.
MC Leal, J Puga, J Serodio, NCM Gomes and R Calado, ‘Trends in the Discovery of New Marine Natural Products from Invertebrates over the Last Two Decades—Where and What Are We Bioprospecting?’ (2012) 7(1) PLoS ONE e30580.
D Skropeta, ‘Deep-Sea Natural Products’ (2008) 25(6) Natural Product Reports 1131–1166; D Skropeta and L Wei, ‘Recent Advances in Deep-Sea Natural Products’ (2014) 31(8) Natural Product Reports 999–1025.
Skropeta and Wei (n 36).
P Oldham, S Hall, C Barnes, C Oldham, M Cutter, N Burns and L Kindess, ‘Valuing the Deep: Marine Genetic Resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction’ (One World Analytics, London, 2014) 1–241, at pp. 81, 82, 143, 158.
C R German, E Ramirez-Llodra, MC Baker, PA Tyler and the ChEss Scientific Steering Committee, ‘Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystem Research During the Census of Marine Life Decade and Beyond: A Proposed Deep-Ocean Road Map’ (2011) 6(8) PLoS ONE 1–16.
Data, technology transfer, knowledge and capacity development are examples of ‘non-monetary’ benefits from marine genetic resources, Harden-Davies (n 32).; The
Salpin (n 11) observed that the challenges facing Pacific
Salpin (n 11).
P Bernal and A Simcock, ‘Marine Scientific Research’ in L Inniss and A Simcock (eds), The First Global Integrated Marine Assessment: World Ocean Assessment I (United Nations, New York, 2016) at p. 18; SK Juniper, ‘Technological, Environmental, Social and Economic Aspects. Information Paper 3’ in IUCN Information Papers for the Intersessional Workshop on Marine Genetic Resources 2–3 May 2013, United Nations General Assembly Ad Hoc Open-Ended Informal Working Group to Study Issues Relating to the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity Beyond Areas of National Jurisdiction. (
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (
See for example: “Development of an International Legally-Binding Instrument under UNCLOS on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ Process). Written Submission of the EU and its Member States. Capacity Building and Transfer of Marine Technology. 31 January 2017” at para 17. Available at http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversity/prepcom_files/rolling_comp/EU_Capacity-Building_and_Transfer_of_Marine_Technology.pdf; accessed 16 February 2017;
G77 (n 14), at p. 5, para 8.
See, for example, C Kaluwin and A Smith, ‘Coastal vulnerability and integrated coastal zone management in the Pacific Island region’ (1997) 24 Journal of Coastal Research 95–106.
Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (2002) ‘Forum Communiqué: Annex 2 Pacific Island Regional Ocean Policy’, Fiji: 33rd Pacific Islands Forum (15–17 August 2002). Theme 2. Available at http://www.forumsec.org/resources/uploads/attachments/documents/PIROP.pdf; accessed 10 September 2017.
Salpin (n 11) observed that the “value and use of research results and data is [sic] largely correlated to the suitability of data management systems, as well as expertise of local scientists—lack of adequate handling and storage, processing technology and expertise has been an obstacle to fully benefiting from marine scientific research results, data and samples”.
Available at http://www.pimrisportal.org/about; accessed 20 October 2016. See also J Veitayaki, GR South, ‘Capacity building in the marine sector in the Pacific Islands: The role of the University of the South Pacific’s Marine Studies Programme’ (2001) 25 Marine Policy 437–444.
Nauru, Cook Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Palau, Niue.
Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga.
There are 22
Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region (Nouméa Convention) (Nouméa, 24 November 1986, in force 22 August 1990)
Salpin (n 11).
Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Samoa.
Of the 121 Members of the International Council for Science,
Veitayaki and South (n 54).
Pacific Community, 2016, ‘Pacific Community Strategic Plan 2016–2020’. Pacific Community, Nouméa, pp. 5–7. Available at http://www.spc.int/images/publications/en/Corporate/Strategic-Plan-2016–2020.pdf. Accessed 30 October 2016.
See for example: E Druel, P Ricard, J Rochette and C Martinez, Governance of Marine Biodiversity in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction at the Regional Level: Filling the Gaps and Strengthening the Framework for Action.Case Studies from the North-East Atlantic, Southern Ocean, Western Indian Ocean, South West Pacific and the Sargasso Sea, Study 4/12 (
J Veitayaki and PE Manoa, ‘Building Capacity in the Marine Sector in the Pacific Islands and the role of The University of the South Pacific’in MR Dakuidreketi and GI Lingram (eds), Higher Education and Community Engagement in the Pacific: Development and Policy Issues (University of the South Pacific Press, Suva 2014) 70–91. at p. 76.
Veitayaki and Manoa (n 78) at p 72.
Veitayaki and South (n 54).
Pacific Islands Regional Ocean Policy (n 47).
Salpin (n 11).
Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific comprises the heads of regional organisations in the Pacific, including
Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner; http://www.forumsec.org/pages.cfm/strategic-partnerships-coordination/pacific-oceanscape/pacific-ocean-commissioner.html; accessed 10 September 2017. See also Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape in C Pratt and H Govan, ‘Our Sea of Islands, Our livelihoods, Our Oceania: Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape: a catalyst for implementation of ocean policy’ (Report prepared for the Council of Regional Organisations of the Pacific Marine Sector Working Group, Suva, 2010), at p. 59; available at http://www.forumsec.org/resources/uploads/embeds/file/Oceanscape.pdf; accessed 10 September 2017.
For a discussion of the role of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific and the Office of the Pacific Ocean Commissioner in regional coordination and cooperation see G Quirk and H Harden-Davies, ‘Cooperation, Competence and Coherence: The Role of Regional Ocean Governance in the South West Pacific for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity beyond National Jurisdiction’ (2017) 32(4) International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law, this special issue.
Ibid., at para 10.
Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from Their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Nagoya, 29 October 2010, in force 12 October 2014) at Preamble; available at https://treaties.un.org/pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XXVII-8–b&chapter=27&lang=en; accessed 10 September 2017; Convention on Biological Diversity (Rio de Janeiro, 5 June 1992, in force 29 December 1993) 1760
International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Rome, 3 November 2001, in force 29 June 2004) 2400
Second International Indian Ocean Expedition 2015–2020, http://www.iioe-2.incois.gov.in/; accessed 10 September 2017.
Science International, “Open Data in a Big Data World” (2015) at p. 3. Available at http://www.science-international.org/; accessed 22 September 2016.
United Nations Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks (New York, 4 December 1995, in force 11 December 2001) 2167
See for example
Salpin (n 11).
New Zealand, 2016, “Preparatory Committee on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction, New Zealand Submission, December 2016”. Available at: http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversity/prepcom_files/rolling_comp/New_Zealand.pdf; accessed 14 February 2017, at p. 8.
Australia, 2016, ‘Preparatory Committee on Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National jurisdiction (BBNJ). Submission by Australia. December 2016’. Australian Mission to the United Nations, New York, 6 December 2016. ‘Australia: “capacity building can assist developing country partners to engage, consistent with SDG Goal 14, in the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and maritime resources’. Available at http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversity/prepcom_files/rolling_comp/Australia.pdf; accessed 14 February 2017, at p. 8.
‘Resolution on the development of national marine science, technology and ocean service infrastructures’ (n 5).
T Thiele and H Harden-Davies (2016), “Technology Transfer”. Nereus Policy Briefs. Available at http://www.nereusprogram.org/policy-brief-bbnj-technology-transfer/; accessed 14 January 2017.
See for example
Fiji, 2016, “Fiji’s submission for BBNJ PrepCom” at p. 4, http://www.un.org/depts/los/biodiversity/prepcom_files/rolling_comp/Fiji.pdf; accessed 14 February 2017.