This study attempted to predict the effectiveness of prior informed consent (PIC) as a mechanism under the Nagoya Protocol (NP) through the case of Japan, a developed country with a wealth of genetic biodiversity. The NP to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aims at creating a virtuous cycle between biodiversity conservation and the utilization of genetic resources through fair and equitable benefit sharing. As PIC is a crucial component of the NP for promoting fair and equitable sharing, this study investigated whether introducing PIC creates a virtuous cycle. Considering the limitations of empirical data, this study adopted a policy Delphi comprising experts in an iterative group communication process that used consecutive questionnaires to reveal diverse issues as input for policymaking. We identified six related issues that were evaluated for the case of introduction and three for the case of no introduction of PIC. Their relative importance as a policy concern was measured through best–worst scaling to narrow down policy-relevant issues. This study revealed that contrary to the NP's intent, the overall contribution to the virtuous cycle is limited. In designing PIC mechanisms, policymakers must pay particular attention to bequest and research and development. This study identified three paths through which the negative impacts on research and development further negatively affect bequest, that is, slackening the identification of important genetic resources and ecosystems to conserve, disincentivizing biodiversity conservation for genetic resource use, and dampening ex-situ conservation efforts.
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