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Home > "Public Participation and Governance of Innovation" Project: an institutional experiment in dialogue by experts, citizens and stakeholders.

"Public Participation and Governance of Innovation" Project: an institutional experiment in dialogue by experts, citizens and stakeholders.

by Redazione FGB [1], 14 July 2008

This project, promoted by Lombardy Region with the collaboration of the Fondazione Bassetti [2] and Observa [3], made a significant advance in March, when meetings were organised for citizens from Lombardy Region (selected by district, age, gender and educational level), experts, biotech companies and representatives of farmers', consumers' and environmentalists' associations.

The issue for discussion at the meetings, which were moderated by an expert facilitator, was whether or not GMO open-field testing in Lombardy should be continued.

The debate produced the following results:

1. the identification of the main areas of risk and uncertainty as perceived by citizens;
2. a positive and useful dialogue between experts, interest groups and citizens;
3. the definition of possible lines for decision-making in this area;
4. the identification of specific issues for which information and communication initiatives should be set up.

Much of the discussion was dedicated to decision-making processes. Citizens consider the regional level to be the most appropriate one for drawing up policy and operational guidelines for trials. Participants acknowledged the need to set up consultation exercises for the public and the various stakeholders (representatives of local government, the farming community, environmentalists, businesses and consumers).

Lombardy Region was entrusted with the task of overseeing the process by providing policy guidelines and setting up information campaigns in close contact with national supervisory bodies such as the Istituto Superiore di Sanità.

During the discussions, mention was made on several occasions of the need to set up an impartial body, free from economic interests, that would foster dialogue by citizens, institutions and organisations from civil society with a view to governing scientific innovations that can have a strong impact on the population.

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  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Redazione FGB
  2. 2] /
  3. 3] http://www.observa.it/
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FGB e Observa
See also: the Call for Comments posted on the Bassetti Foundation's site in the autumn of 2003
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Articles by:  Redazione FGB
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