Contributing to UN call on access to scientific progress

By Elisa Morgera

The Hub made a submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights on the human right to science, including access to and participation in scientific processes and sharing equitably in the benefits from scientific progress, with a view to bringing attention to the specific challenges and insights in ocean science, in November 2023.

The Hub submission underscored that:

  • the fair and equitable sharing of benefits from scientific advancements can help read international obligations on technology transfer and capacity building under international environmental law and the law of the sea, which are often seen in purely inter-State terms, have human rights implications;
  • the main obstacles to access and participation in ocean science, with an emphasis on equitable access to deep-sea research; and
  • the 2023 “High Seas Treaty” could contribute to enhancing the capacity of developing countries and of Indigenous and local knowledge holders to contribute to ocean science and participate in more integrated, inclusive and transdisciplinary decision making on marine biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.

The Hub submission also called to move away from assumptions of unidirectional provision of research, capacity building and technology development opportunities from the Global North to the Global South, towards research collaborations co-development, mutual capacity building between Global North and Global South governments and actors (to ensure effective and appropriate benefits to local contexts) and co-development of technologies. This in turn requires that international institutions allow for the co-identification of opportunities to increase the capacities in the Global South and among Indigenous and local knowledge holders to actively participate in transformative action, in the light of a shared understanding of power imbalances. as the current negotiations of the WHO pandemics treaty and the UN plastics treaty.

Finally, the One Ocean Hub underscored the role of co-developed art-based research with Indigenous and local knowledge holders that convey in accessible and respectful ways their knowledge and illuminate how it complements and overlaps with western knowledge, such as “Indlela Yokuphila: The Soul’s Journey” animation and the theatre plays co-developed by the collective Empatheatre.

A Grenadier fish and two deep-sea crabs captured on camera at 1000 meters using the lander technology, debuted in South Africa. Photo: Anthony Bernard (NRF-SAIAB)

Artwork: Elisa Morgera