Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Accountability and Risk Governance - A Scenario-informed Reflection on European Regulation of GMOs Laura Drott Lukas Jochum.

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Accountability and Risk Governance - A Scenario-informed Reflection on European Regulation of GMOs Laura Drott Lukas Jochum."— Presentation transcript:

1 Accountability and Risk Governance - A Scenario-informed Reflection on European Regulation of GMOs Laura Drott Lukas Jochum

2 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 2 Just a short introduction... Uncertain risks –Imaginable hazards with which society has no or only limited experience –Uncertain whether the ‘thing’ in question constitues a risk to humans and/or the environment vs

3 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 3 Just a short introduction... (continued) GMOs –Short for genetically modified organisms –Alleged benefits include pest resistance, drought resistance, higher yields, and many more... Are GMOs uncertain risks? –Yes, because society lacks experience... –Suspicions of harmful consequences to human health/enviroment remain  uncertainty

4 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 4 Our case study of an uncertain risk... Bt-11 is authorised in the European Union (EU) in the 90s –Bt-11 is a gm-maize produced by Syngenta Authorised under several ‘authorisation streams’ –Cultivation –Sweet maize as food –Food and feed additives

5 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 5...so, imagine the following scenario... In the future new food allergies suddenly emerge –Allergies are linked to the consumption of Bt-11 –Food scares and consumer protests follow –High media coverage –EU Member States impose national bans –Public demands investigations

6 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 6...so we asked ourselves... Who would be accountable to the European public in such a scenario? What do we mean by public accountability? –“A is accountable to B, when A is obliged to inform B about A’s (past or future) actions and decisions, to justify them, and to suffer punishment in the case of eventual misconduct.” (Schedler, 1999, p.13) –Those who govern are accountable to those who are governed. (Joss, 2001)

7 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 7 How does the EU governance system for GMOs function? A brief glimpse... European Commission EU Member State GM Applicant EFSA/Predecessor Standing Committee Council According to the legal text… Member State

8 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 8 How did the authorisation procedure actually play out for Bt Other Member States voiced objections Despite Member States concerns, scientific opinions were favourable European Commission EU Member State Syngenta EFSA/Predecessor Standing Committee Council Member State Unable to take decision Commission granted approval

9 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 9 Quick recap - the scenario again… In the future new food allergies suddenly emerge –Allergies are linked to the consumption of Bt-11 –Food scares and consumer protests follow –High media coverage about incidents –EU Member States impose national bans –Public demands investigations Who would be accountable to the European public in such a scenario?

10 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 10 What can we conclude thus far? Can the actors involved be held accountable? Syngenta –No, because the company adhered to all relevant legal requirements –European institutions approved the company’s risk assessment EFSA –Difficult, due to its largely independent status (no forum available) –“Independent scientific advisor” –Advisory function only, not responsible for final decision –Commission lacks legal supervision –Public consultation forums

11 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 11 What can we conclude thus far? Can the actors involved be held accountable? Member States –Difficult, due to likely change in office of responsible national minister Council –No, because no actual decision was taken in the Council Commission –Difficult, due to likely change in office of responsible Commissioners –European Parliament’s interogation thus unlikely –Commission not obliged to consider public comments, only EFSA’s opinion has to be taken into account

12 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 12 Overall conclusion Conclusion –Each actor in the authorisation process can at best be partly held accountable. –Each actor is able to refer to its compliance with the legal rules and procedures of GMO regulation at the time of authorisation –The ‘blame’ shifts from one actor to the next –Overall accountability cannot be established, only piecemeal accountability exists

13 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 13 ‘Academic take-away’ Organised Irresponsibility –The authorisation of Bt-11 is a prime example of “organised irrespossibility” (Beck, 1992) Ulrich Beck coined the concept of the risk society Risk society describes the process with which modern societies deal with risks –GMO authorisation procedure unable to deal with long-term impacts of uncertain risks Even though sophisticated decision-making structures are in place, no one can be held accountable if uncertain risks should materialise

14 Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences 14


Download ppt "Accountability and Risk Governance - A Scenario-informed Reflection on European Regulation of GMOs Laura Drott Lukas Jochum."

Similar presentations


Ads by Google