EFSA is making it easier for external observers to attend open plenary meetings of its scientific panels and Scientific Committee with most open plenaries taking place in Brussels this year. EFSA is also allowing more observers to participate and has adjusted its Guidelines for Observers in a move to simplify participation.
For the fourth year running, EFSA invites observers to participate in open meetings of its scientific panels and the Scientific Committee. The initiative is part of the Authority’s move towards an open science organisation and to encourage scientific dialogue with its stakeholders. The response speaks for itself - since March 2012, nearly 250 observers have taken up EFSA’s invitation and participated in 28 open plenary meetings. Observers comprised representatives from industry, academia and civil society.
Making participation easier
This year most open plenaries will take place in Brussels, Belgium, making it easier for stakeholders to participate. This follows positive feedback received after last year’s open plenary meeting of the Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes, Flavourings and Processing Aids (CEF) which was the first one to take place in Brussels.
EFSA has also revised its Guidelines for Observers, taking into account comments by participants in open plenaries last year:
- EFSA provides 15 seats on average for each open plenary meeting instead of ten.
- Interested parties can now register online via the EFSA website.
- Registration closes earlier, i.e. 21 days before the meeting instead of 14, and attendance will be confirmed earlier, i.e. 14 days instead of ten. This will give confirmed observers more time for travel arrangements.
The revised Guidelines for Observers can be accessed at the following link:
Open GMO plenary in March
EFSA’s Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) Panel is the first one to open its plenary to external observers this year. The meeting will take place on 4-5 March 2015 in Brussels. Registration opens on 22 January and will close on 10 February 2015.
The following additional panels will hold open plenaries in the first half of 2015: the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) in April and the Panel on Plant Health (PLH) in May.
For more information on the observers project please see here: http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/stakeholders/observers.htm