Proceedings of Conference. 4th-7th June 2006, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Plenary Session 3
Professor Ortwin Renn, University of Stuttgart
O rtwin is Director of the non-profit company DIALOGIK, a research institute for the investigation of communication and participation processes in environmental policy making and full Professor and Chair of Environmental Sociology of the State University in Stuttgart ( Germany ). Education: Diploma in sociology, economics, and journalism, Ph.D. in social psychology. Awards and honors: „Fellow“: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); “Fellow”: Society for Risk Analysis (SRA); Member of the panel on “citizen participation” of the U.S.-National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.; ordinary member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and of the European Academy of Science and Arts; Outstanding Publication Award from the Environment and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. C hair: German Federal Committee on the Harmonization of Risk Standards, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Foundation ”Precautionary Risk Management”, and the State‘s Scientific Committee for Environmental Research. Member of many national and international advisory councils, such as the State’s Commission for Sustainable Development, the State Board for Higher Education and the Environmental Committee of the National Catholic as well as Protestant Church ; Publications: More than 30 book publications and 250 articles in journals and edited volumes.
PRESENTATION: Nanotechnology and the need for risk governance
After identifying the main characteristics and prospects of nanotechnology as an emerging technology, the paper presents the general risks associated with nanotechnology applications and the deficits of the risk governance process today, concluding with recommendations to governments, industry and other stakeholders. The International Risk Governance Council (IRGC) has identified a governance gap between the requirements pertaining to the nano- rather than the micro-/macro- technologies. The novel attributes of nanotechnology demand different routes for risk-benefit assessment and risk management, and at present, nanotechnology innovation proceeds ahead of the policy and regulatory environment. In the shorter term, the governance gap is significant for those passive nanostructures that are currently in production and have high exposure rates; and is especially significant for the several ‘active’ nanoscale structures and nanosystems that we can expect to be on the market in the near future. Active nanoscale structures and nanosystems have the potential to affect not only human health and the environment but also aspects of social lifestyle, human identity and cultural values. The main recommendations of the report deal with selected higher risk nanotechnology applications, short and long-term issues, and global models for nanotechnology governance.
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