This month's featured article
Nagoya Protocol Soon to be Entered into Force: Lessons from the European Union
TAKAKURA Shigeo Consulting Fellow, RIETI
The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (hereinafter referred to as the "Nagoya Protocol") was adopted in 2010 in Nagoya for the purpose of complementing the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, and it was agreed that the protocol should be in force and operational by 2015. Chances of meeting this deadline seemed to have disappeared, but recent developments in Europe changed the tide. The Council of the European Union (EU) adopted the EU Regulation on Compliance Measures for User from the Nagoya Protocol (hereinafter referred to as the "EU Regulation"), and EU member states are now beginning to take steps for the ratification of the protocol. As such, the coming months will witness a sudden increase in the number of countries having ratified the protocol, increasing the likelihood of its coming into force before the end of this year. Japan is also aiming to ratify the protocol at an early date, and a study is currently underway on domestic implementation measures.
The Nagoya Protocol is a unique international law whereby signatory countries would commit themselves to monitoring the utilization of genetic resources by users within their respective jurisdictions for compliance with relevant laws and regulations of provider countries, and, in the case of non-compliance, taking appropriate remedial measures (e.g., imposition of penalties) in accordance with their own domestic laws and regulations. Once it is brought into effect, users of genetic resources will be checked by the authorities of their own countries as well as those of provider countries. Users will be required to exercise a considerable degree of diligence even in the case of utilizing genetic resources obtained through third parties, not to mention the case where they collect such resources on their own. Therefore, users may be forced to bear an unreasonably heavy burden depending on the nature of domestic compliance measures implemented by their home countries.
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