NGOs weigh in on nanogovernance

Judy Conner here at Foresight brings our attention to a new 55-page report from International Risk Governance Council, based in Switzerland, titled Survey on Nanotechnology Governance: Volume D. The Role of NGOs (400K pdf).

Nine organizations are featured: five from the U.S. (CRN, Environmental Defense, Foresight, NRDC, and one I had not previously heard about, Sciencecorps), three from the U.K. (Demos, Forum for the Future, and Greenpeace UK), and one based in Canada (ETC Group).

Governance issues addressed by the various groups include: accountable public policy, equitable development, intellectual property rights, international trade, impacts of molecular manufacturing, non-proliferation, public engagement, sustainable development, and EHS (environmental, health and safety) concerns. Under international trade: “Foresight Nanotech Institute is investigating whether competitive advantage issues would lead firms to relocate to nations with less strict export controls so that approvals could be processed quicker and potentially in a more irresponsible manner.” (I think this is already happening — U.S. export controls sound like a pain to deal with.)

See also Volume A. The Role of Government and Volume B. The Role of Industry.

I’ll be at an IRGC meeting next month in Zurich chairing a workshop on NGO perspectives, not just on EHS (as is usually the case at risk meetings) but on the broader issues as well. So if you have perspectives to share on nanorisk/nanogovernance, now is a great time to let me know. Before Zurich I’ll be in Geneva and Moscow. If you have travel tips on Moscow, please send those along too. —Christine

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