Open letter to the Government of Norway on the Convention on Biological Diversity
We appeal to you in the context of the upcoming conference of the parties to the convention on biological diversity (COP-15) and the potential impact on open sharing of digital sequence information on genetic resources in science.
Decisions made at this meeting will impact the future of biological research in the upcoming decades, not only in Norway, but worldwide. We fully support the goal to enable a just distribution of value gained from natural resources between nations, indigenous peoples and local communities and acknowledge the steps taken towards this goal.
However, we also acknowledge the challenge to governmental bodies to align this with the goal to share genetic sequence information openly in the public interest. The Covid-19 pandemic is a fierce demonstration of the benefits of openly shared genetic data for humanity. Our concern is that the societal and scientific benefits and consequences of open sharing of digital sequence information have not been considered sufficiently in the debate until now and require further careful consultations.
We therefore appeal to the Norwegian Government and the Norwegian Environment Agency as the executing body to embed scientists and infrastructures dealing with genetic sequence information tightly into the process to establish policies which enable balancing of interests and concerns that these issues represent.
We would be delighted to facilitate the inclusion of relevant scientific stakeholders on access, curation and governance of digital sequence information in this process.
This is why Centre for Digital Life Norway fully supports and is a signatory of the open letter of the Digital Sequence Information (DSI) Scientific Network on this matter along with multiple other major science organisations.
The Centre for Digital Life Norway (DLN) is funded by the Research Council of Norway to transform Norwegian biotechnology research and education to increase innovation and value creation for society. The centre is based at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), the University of Oslo (UiO), the University of Bergen (UiB), the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Oslo University Hospital (OUS), SINTEF and UiT The Arctic University of Norway and has ~40 research projects all over the country with transdisciplinary collaboration and responsible research and innovation as our trademarks.
On behalf of the Centre for Digital Life Norway,
Trygve Brautaset (Centre Director, Professor NTNU)
and the Centre for Digital Life Norway Board:
Finn-Eirik Johansen (Board Chair, Professor UiO),
Øyvind Gregersen (Dean NTNU),
Marit Bakke (Dean UiB),
Eli Aamot (Executive Vice President SINTEF),
Arne Smalås (Dean UiT),
Sigrid Gåseidnes (Dean NMBU),
Peder Utne (Research Director OUS)