“We ensure transparency and stakeholder involvement”
Critics are complaining that they have not been sufficiently involved in GRACE, a project that could have considerable impacts on the methods and criteria used to assess the risks of GM plants in the EU in the future. In the latest issue of the magazine transkript, GRACE coordinator Joachim Schiemann makes it clear that this accusation does not stand up, emphasizing the fact that transparency and dialogue are of central importance to the project.
Schiemann explains that GRACE works closely with representatives from a broad range of stakeholder organisations, as well as with professional risk assessors and risk managers. To this end, the GRACE project regularly holds stakeholder consultations to ensure transparency and to make use of external expertise. The consultations also ensure that different social points of view are taken into account when planning the research process and interpreting the results. “Around 500 and 700 representatives from non-governmental organisations, industry, academia and regulatory authorities were invited to the two consultation rounds held so far, including a large number of anti-GM organisations,” writes Schiemann.
He explains that the consultations both began with workshops, and all interested parties were also given the opportunity to submit written comments. All comments and discussion contributions are published in detailed reports on the project website, along with all the data prepared in the course of the project. Online surveys complement the consultation process, which will accompany the project until its completion. Furthermore, GRACE will hold a public stakeholder conference at the end of the project to discuss the conclusions and recommendations that can be drawn from the project results.
If you would like more information on GRACE’s stakeholder consultations, please do not hesitate to contact the project coordinator, Joachim Schiemann, or Armin Spoek (leader of the “stakeholder involvement” work package).
Joachim Schiemann (joachim.schiemann[at]jki.bund.de)
Armin Spoek (armin.spoek[at]aau.at)