From Alex Swinkels, the International EMF Alliance
Hereby I recommend to your readers important conference on risks for public health & the environment. This conference may form a tipping point to necessary transitions in risk assessment and management in these domains. The conference is organized by ENSSER, EEA and FUNDACIÓN VIVO SANO-HDO and will be held from the 16th to 18th of May in Madrid. The International EMF Alliance will contribute to the programme with an overview of the European EMF-Health system.
Main context of the conference is that current methods and institutions for assessing environmental-health risks are not able to cope with complexities and uncertainties. Also scientific concepts and paradigms are requested that are independent from the interests and influence of the promoters of technologies. In line, it is recommended not to restrict risk assessment to closed networks of narrow elites, but to open up assessment and management of risks to wider groups of stakeholders. Also a plead is made to bring together the different types of knowledge existing in different networks.
The Goals of the Conference are as follows:
1) Increase public and political awareness of social, economic and environmental risks of current and new technologies and discuss effective means for e.g. technology and risk assessments, product approvals, and liability schemes.
2) Provide a forum for open public debate where experts from different fields can address the following questions and issues:
– What are the public health and environment risks of technologies such as modern biotechnology, nanotechnology, electromagnetic fields, and novel chemicals?
– What are the private and societal needs that are addressed by these technologies?
– Which are the current policies and procedures for shaping and assessing these technologies?
– Which are the main barriers to avoiding or minimizing risks and how can they be overcome?
– How can the precautionary principle be best applied?
– Why is there a lack of comprehensive and strong policies and institutions that could better support public interests?
– How can the marginalization of independent research, neglect of its results, and the undue influence of vested interests that inhibit change for the public good be overcome?
3) Create an Action Plan with concrete and realistic activities to support the changes needed, including changes in scientific paradigms and practices.and in the control of technological choices.
International EMF Alliance
Alex Swinkels, Netherlands