[For further information on the Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and
Agriculture see Forum website.
Note, participants are
assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they
Sent: 14 January 2005 17:25
Subject: Opening of FAO e-mail conference on public participation in decision-making regarding GMOs
Welcome to the FAO e-mail conference entitled "Public participation in decision-making regarding GMOs in developing countries: How to effectively involve rural people" !!!!
You can send messages now (send them to email@example.com). Messages will be posted from Monday 17 January onwards while the last day for receiving messages for posting will be Sunday 13 February.
We hope that the conference will be interesting, constructive and beneficial and we encourage you to participate actively. We would like to briefly remind you of some of the main points about the running of the conference:
i) Participants should introduce themselves briefly in their first posting to the conference
ii) Messages should not exceed 600 words
iii) People posting messages are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf and not on behalf of their employers (unless they indicate otherwise)
iv) The Background Document to the conference, sent by e-mail to the Forum members on 17 December, sets the scene for the conference and so we strongly encourage you to read it, especially Section 6 (reproduced below) which lists the questions to be addressed by participants in the conference. The document is available at http://www.fao.org/biotech/C12doc.htm and can also be retrieved by Forum members sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, leaving the subject blank and entering the one-line text message:
v) Messages posted in the conference will later (usually within a day or two) be placed on the Forum website - at http://www.fao.org/biotech/logs/c12logs.htm
vi) In the posted messages, we will replace @ with (at) in the e-mail addresses of people sending messages (because of spamming).
vii) No messages will be posted with attachments. If you receive a message during the conference with an e-mail attachment, just delete it without opening the attachment.
vii) As for all other conferences hosted by this Forum, when it is finished a document will be prepared to provide a summary of the main arguments and concerns discussed during the e-mail conference, based on the messages posted by the participants. The summary document will be put on the Forum website and disseminated as widely as possible.
Finally, we encourage you to tell any potentially interested colleagues or contacts about this conference. A short notice about the conference is included below for this purpose.
With our sincere best wishes for a successful conference,
John Ruane, PhD
Moderator, Conference 12
FAO website http://www.fao.org
Forum website http://www.fao.org/biotech/forum.asp
FAO Biotechnology website http://www.fao.org/biotech/index.asp
FAO e-mail conference - Public participation and GMOs
The FAO Biotechnology Forum is devoting its next e-mail conference to the theme of public participation regarding GMOs for food and agriculture in developing countries and is entitled "Public participation in decision-making regarding GMOs in developing countries: How to effectively involve rural people". This will be the 12th conference hosted by the Forum since it was launched in March 2000 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The conference, as usual, is open to everyone, is free and will be moderated. It begins on 17 January and runs for four weeks, finishing on 13 February 2005. All e-mail messages posted during the conference will also be placed on the Forum website (http://www.fao.org/biotech/forum.asp). You are hereby invited to join the Forum and to participate in the conference!! To join the Forum (and also register for the conference), send an e-mail to email@example.com leaving the subject blank and entering the following text on two lines:
Those who are already Forum members should leave out the first line of the above message, to register for the conference. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
[FROM THE BACKGROUND DOCUMENT]
6. Questions to be addressed in this e-mail conference
This conference is devoted to the subject of public participation in decision-making regarding GMOs for food and agriculture in developing countries, considering in particular how rural people can be effectively involved in the decision-making process. The questions that participants should address in the conference are:
a) What priority should governments give to involving the rural people in decision-making regarding GMOs in developing countries?
b) In which situations is it most important to include the rural people in decision-making regarding GMOs in developing countries?
c) How can public participation opportunities be extended to groups in rural communities who are more difficult to reach or who have less access to communication channels (e.g., women, subsistence farmers)?
d) Should specific considerations be given to involving indigenous communities in decision-making regarding GMOs? If so, how can this best be achieved?
e) What is the best medium (e.g. newspaper, radio, Internet etc.) for rural people in developing countries to access quality information about GMOs, that will allow them to participate effectively in the decision-making process?
f) Which mechanisms can be used to ensure that relevant and reliable information/content is provided by the above media?
g) What are the main information and communication needs of the rural people related to GMOs? How can local capacity be built to respond to these needs? What are the most appropriate approaches to respond to these needs?
h) What is the best medium for rural people in developing countries to provide their inputs, if requested, to the decision-making processes regarding GMOs?
i) How should local languages of the rural people be dealt with in a public participation exercise?
j) Who can best represent the interests of the rural people in stakeholder discussions?
k) Involving the public in decision-making processes can be costly. Who should pay?
l) How important, implementable and relevant are the currently available international instruments relating to public participation and GMOs (see Section 4)?
m) Concerning requests for approval of individual GM products, what kind of information should it be possible to withhold from public disclosure?
n) Can certain public participation activities be organised on a regional basis in developing countries instead of at the national level?
o) Is public participation regarding GMOs in developing countries more important for some food and agriculture sectors (crop, forestry, livestock, aquaculture and agro-industry) than others?