Contemporary research is increasingly data-centric and the rise of genomics revolutionized our approach and use of genetic resources. However, genomics developed relatively independently from the international instruments on the conservation of biological diversity, in particular the Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) framework. The legal and political status of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) derived from genetic resources emerged recently as a contentious point in the various ABS instruments dealing with genetic resources. In view of the multiple parallel and uncoordinated debates that occurred in various forums dealing with plants, animals, terrestrial, microbial, marine and agricultural biodiversity, I propose here to take a step back in the discussion. I argue that DSI should be considered as an overarching issue to be addressed through a coordinated and inclusive Multi-stakeholder Committee that would assess its position and role within the existing ABS regime complex. This Multi-stakeholder Committee on the Governance of Digital Sequence Information, that may run under the auspices of the United Nations, will be dedicated to mitigate global governance issues associated with the digitization of genetic resources. In a recent paper written with Sylvain Aubry and other colleagues, we sketch this body as a transversal and inclusive tool to facilitate long-term coherence in all ABS policy forums

The seminar will be led by:

Dr Christine FRISON, FNRS postdoctoral researcher @UCLouvain and associate researcher @UAntwerp, Belgium, and Associate Fellow @Centre for International Sustainable Development Law, Montreal, Canada.

Mr Sylvain Aubry, a plant biologist and agronomist who graduated from the University of Rennes, France and Zürich, Switzerland. Sylvain has worked many years at the University of Cambridge, UK in plant biochemistry and genomics. He is now working at the University of Zürich and as a policy advisor at the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture on issues related to genetic resources, biotechnology, genomics and plant breeding.

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