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July 31, 2009

ETC Group Issues Report on Nanogeopolitics

Lynn L. Bergeson

Earlier this month, in advance of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) July 15-17, 2009, Conference on Potential Environmental Benefits of Nanotechnology: Fostering Safe Innovation-Led Growth, the Action Group on Erosion, Technology, and Concentration (ETC Group) issued a draft report entitled Nanogeopolitics 2009:  The Second Survey.  ETC Group recommends that policies concerning nanotechnologies be developed within the United Nations (UN) system, “where all nations can have a say about the technology and where the so-called nano-nations will come clean with everybody else about what they are doing to the economy and the environment.” The report is a follow up to the ETC Group’s 2005 survey of “the nanogeopolitical landscape.”  In the report, ETC Group reviews:  (1) the extent to which the “markets and players” have shifted position since 2005, especially in terms of research and funding; (2) the effectiveness of various governance and regulation; and (3) recommended action to regulate better and develop responsibly nanotechnology.