Sustainable Use of Marine Genetic Resources

Ciesielczuk, Jakub and Kirk, Elizabeth (2021) Sustainable Use of Marine Genetic Resources. In: Life Below Water. Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-98535-0

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Sustainable use of marine genetic recourses (MGRs) is an important element of Goal 14 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims at conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. It is also directly linked with SDG3, which aims at ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages and indirectly connected with SDG2, which aims at increasing agricultural productivity and sustainable food production to help alleviate hunger.
Recent rapid technological advancements have provided scientists with more opportunities to explore the richness of marine genetic material, which can be patented and used for many purposes. According to some studies, it is more likely that valuable genetic material to develop medications will be derived from marine species than terrestrial species. For example, it has been estimated that around 1% of samples from marine organisms tested in the laboratory reveal anti-tumour potential, whereas in case of samples from terrestrial species it is only 0.01% (Marciniak 2016).
While the utilisation of MGRs for scientific and commercial purposes is of importance, it is equally important to preserve marine species and protect their genetic material for future generations to ensure intergenerational equity. There are, however, some significant issues that may undermine our ability to ensure such intergenerational equity. Although there are relevant regimes in international law (e.g., the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea or the Convention on Biological Diversity) neither the term “sustainable use” nor the term “MGR” has a clear agreed legal definition. Without such clear definitions, the challenge of ensuring that international obligations are implemented effectively is magnified.

Keywords:marine genetic resources, sustainable use, sustainability, international environmental law
Subjects:M Law > M130 Public International Law
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Law School
ID Code:45205
Deposited On:18 Jun 2021 11:10

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