Making Nature’s biological assets visible and valuable
There is a two-way fluid and potentially infinite interaction and innovation frontier between Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and Nature’s biological and biomimetic assets.
Unlocking the economic value of Nature’s biological and biomimetic assets could be worth US trillions to the global economy.
Importantly, it could provide a sustainable bio-based economic development path for developing countries anchored on their unique biological assets that is globally competitive.
Unleashing an Inclusive Bio-Economy
The Earth Bank of Codes (EBC) aims to make nature’s biological and biomimetic assets visible and accessible to scientists and innovators around the world, while tackling bio-piracy and ensuring fair and equitable sharing of the commercial benefits that may ensue, in alignment with the Convention of Biodiversity’s Nagoya Protocol.
Significant Challenges to unleash an Inclusive Bio-Economy Revolution
Many of the financial returns arising from Nature’s assets have not been equitably shared to-date with bio-diverse nations because of the following challenges:
Solving for these Complex Challenges: The Earth Bank of Codes
The Amazon Basin is our first testbed
The Amazon’s biodiversity is unique and largely unknown
The Amazon Basin is host to 20-25% of the world’s land-based biodiversity and more than 30% of complex life is found there.
Sense of urgency given Amazon tipping point approaching
Given 6 mega-extreme events in the last 12 years, with probability of occurrence of less than 1/200 years.
Up to 60% of the Amazon may become a degraded savannah
In the next 20 years, this may occur, with catastrophic consequences for South America and the world at large.
Amazon Bank of Codes
Our testbed will be in the Amazon Basin given its rich biodiversity and given the risk of savannization of the Amazon in the next few years
To address the many practical challenges expected on the ground, the Amazon Bank of Codes will rely on convening Amazonian and international multi-stakeholder collaborations that draw in research & development, start-up, regulatory and ethics communities, along with traditional/ indigenous communities, civil society organizations, governments and the private sector.
The Amazon Bank of Codes will provide a replicable template in collaboration, in governance, in innovation and in execution to maximize societal value and minimize downside risks, before replicating and scaling to other bio-diverse rich biomes on land and in the oceans.
The partnership between the Earth Bank of Codes, the Earth BioGenome Project and the World Economic Forum was formally launched at the 2018 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.
The Human Genome Project (HGP) was revolutionary in its aspiration in 1988 when the project was first conceived. Today the Earth BioGenome Project (EBP) aims to sequence all the plants, animals and single-celled organisms on Earth (the eukaryotic species) within ten years, to help us unlock the vast potential of our biodiversity inheritance. The EBP has been likened to the Human Genome Project both in its ambition and for the myriad of benefits it hopes to bring to biological research and to the biodiversity, conservation and related bio-industry agendas.
Lewin et al detailed the plans for the Earth BioGenome Project to “Sequence Life for the Future of Life” in a recent PNAS 2018 paper.
Two models have historically dominated the realpolitik of national land use decision-making in the Amazon basin regarding the tropical forest. They are:
A push for valuable nature conservation approaches with large swathes of territory legally protected from any economic and human activity outside indigenous peoples;
A push to convert the Amazon Basin’s natural resources to several commodities generating an estimated GDP of USD 250 billion.