Posted: September 25, 2008

The Precautionano Principle - free nanotechnology regulation conference report published

(Nanowerk News) The final report of the 4th NanoRegulation Conference held on from September 16-17 in St.Gallen is now available on the website of the Innovation Society. The document gives an overview of the presentations, workshops and participants of this year’s conference that focused on the topic of “Voluntary Measures in Nano Risk Governance”.
From September 16-17, 2008 the 4th International NanoRegulation Conference took place in St.Gallen. During this event held in the context of the NanoEurope fairs, the participants and speakers discussed the latest developments in the area of voluntary measures in the field of nanotechnology risk governance.
The focus of interest was on three kinds of measures, namely codes of conduct, voluntary reporting schemes and systems for risk management (RMS).
At the outset, experts from the fields of insurance, regulation and international law highlighted the fundamental requirements on the design of such instruments and pointed out concrete examples. Furthermore, the participants gained an insight in the current state of the most discussed reporting schemes of Defra (UK) and the EPA (US). Representatives of different industries from producers to retailers presented their first experiences with voluntary measures in practice and showed the strengths and weaknesses of these instruments from a user perspective.
It became clear that the discussed measures are viable solutions for the current regulatory situation that can be characterised by uncertainty. However, it was also pointed out that the effectiveness of such measures needs to be continuously monitored in order to efficiently adapt them to the rapidly changing technology and market conditions. With the first certifiable risk management and monitoring system for nanotechnologies (CENARIOS®) the TÜV SÜD also presented a useful instrument for this purpose.
In the context of the second conference day, representatives of authorities from Germany, Austria and Switzerland presented the different approaches in their respective countries that are characterized by their strong national focus. In the subsequent workshops, questions of international collaboration, the effectiveness of different voluntary measures and the obstacles to overcome in the future were discussed.
It became apparent that not all instruments are equally suitable for different purposes. For example, the approach chosen in the area of public acceptance cannot be translated into the field of worker protection. Basically, the contribution of the measures to the building of trust among authorities, industry and the public was recognised. Voluntary measures will continue to play an increasingly important role in the future regulation of nanotechnology.
Source: Innovation Society
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