Designing Regulatory Frameworks for Access to Genetic Resources: A Multi-Stakeholder Multi-Criteria Approach

Aysegul Sirakaya, Klaas De Brucker, Thomas Vanagt

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In this paper we conduct a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) from a multiple stakeholder point of view for the design of access and benefit sharing (ABS) agreements concerning genetic resources, in particular regarding the access component of such agreements. We start by analyzing the objectives defined by international law (viz. the Convention on Biodiversity and the Nagoya Protocol) that every party (i.e., all United Nations member states, except the United States) must strive to attain when developing national legislation on ABS. As countries have a certain degree of freedom concerning the way and the extent to which they need to integrate these objectives into their national frameworks and since stakeholders attach different levels of importance to these objectives, such an MCA will help identify those options that command the highest value added from the community of stakeholders. Consequently, those options are expected to hold the highest potential for successful implementation. The MCA performed in this paper is based on Saaty’s analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and starts from the objectives (i.e., criteria) enshrined in international law, and then proceeds by assessing the relative importance of these criteria from the point of view of four different stakeholder groups (industrial users, academic users, collections and provider countries). The alternatives to be evaluated in the MCA are based upon options discussed qualitatively in our previous study published in Frontiers in Plant Science (2019b). These options are now transformed into “design parameters” and are evaluated in terms of their contribution to stakeholder criteria. This evaluation is now performed in a quantitative way using MCA and is based on previous qualitative discussions with stakeholders that have been reported qualitatively in our previous paper in Frontiers in Plant Science referred to above. The final result of our MCA consists of pointing out which design parameters regarding access obtain the highest priority from the community of stakeholders and hence need to be present in national regulatory frameworks on ABS that will be implemented by member states. It is our intention to undertake similar research for the Benefit Sharing component of ABS agreements in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number549836
Number of pages22
JournalFrontiers in Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 3

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Law
  • Biological Sciences

Free keywords

  • Access
  • Benefit sharing
  • Nagoya Protocol
  • ABS
  • Genetic resources
  • Public international law


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