The Access and Benefit-sharing of Marine Genetic Resources in Antarctica: Lessons from the BBNJ Negotiation

Mr Sen Wang, Ms Jiayi Wang

1Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China


The ongoing negotiation of the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (‘BBNJ’) is the most significant international law-making process with the purpose to develop an international legally binding instrument under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (‘UNLCOS’). The Antarctic Treaty System (‘ATS’), however, has been deeply and seriously influenced by these new instrumental arrangements made by the BBNJ negotiation. In order to harmonically and properly manage marine genetic resources (MGRs) under the ATS for common interests of humankind, the current successful experiences that the BBNJ negotiation gained must be reviewed and examined very carefully. This paper roughly summarizes existing problems relating to MGRs in Antarctica, and then goes on legal analyses in detail of the access and benefit sharing of MGRs. Accordingly, the environmental protection shall be highly valued and well preserved in access to MGRs. In the period of benefit sharing, on the other hand, equitable sharing of resources, sharing of information on the scientific research and intellectual property rights in relation to MGRs ought to be further clarified under the ATS especially with regard to the future adoption of the BBNJ agreement.


Mr. Wang Sen is currently a PhD student of Guanghua Law School of Zhejiang University, China, mainly focusing on the Public International Law, the Law of the Sea and the Antarctic Law. So far he had published several academic articles on the Law of the Sea, the principle of uti possidetis juris, and historic rights, and two other English papers are still in press. The Antarctic Law is the topic of his PhD thesis, especially on the marine protected areas, and other related issues about Antarctica.

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