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September 25, 2009

PEN Holds Meeting on Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation

Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 23, 2009, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Project on Emerging Technologies (PEN) hosted a meeting on “Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: Securing the Promise of Nanotechnologies.” The program is part of a collaborative research project involving experts from the London School of Economics (LSE), Chatham House, the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), and PEN. The project is funded by a grant from the European Commission to support pilot projects on “Transatlantic methods for handling global challenges.” The purpose of yesterday’s meeting was to discuss recommendations from the research effort that are part of a report released on September 10, 2009. The meeting was also intended to generate and examine new ideas to enable greater transatlantic convergence on nanotechnology oversight today and in the future.

The PEN meeting included two panels. The first consisted of David Rejeski, Director, PEN; Leslie Carothers, President, ELI; Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney, ELI; Robert Falkner, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, LSE; and John Pendergrass, Senior Attorney, ELI. The second panel included Andrew Maynard, Chief Science Advisor, PEN; Mitchell Cheeseman, Acting Director, Office of Food Additive Safety, Food and Drug Administration; J. Clarence Davies, Senior Advisor, PEN; Richard A. Denison, Senior Scientist, Environmental Defense Fund; Astrid Koch, Science and Technology Section, European Commission; and William Gulledge, American Chemistry Council. The slides include the following policy recommendations in key issue areas:

  • Creating scientific building blocks for risk assessment:
    • Invest more political energy in the international process, especially the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); and
    • Enhance OECD’s transparency and participation by stakeholders.
  • Closing knowledge gaps:
    • Significant increase in funding for environmental, health, and safety research; international coordination of research strategies; and
    • Create mandatory reporting requirement for nanomaterials in commercial use.
  • Risk management/labeling:
    • Stronger focus on coordination in area of risk management; and
    • Consider implications of potentially diverging labeling regimes; promote development of common approaches.
  • Strengthening global nanomaterials governance:
    • Create international governance capacity in other areas (e.g. United Nations Environment Programme, World Health Organization); and
    • Ensure that developing countries are more involved in international decision-making.