EFSA holds first meeting of its Stakeholder Forum

The first meeting of EFSA’s Stakeholder Forum on 30-31 May, heralds the start of a new way of giving registered stakeholders the opportunity to provide strategic input into EFSA’s work plans and future priorities.

The meeting was attended by over 50 stakeholders representing seven different categories: consumer organisations, NGOs, the food industry, farmers organisations, practitioners, distributors and academia. The event programme was developed with input from the participants in advance of the meeting. After a plenary session, participants attended three parallel workshops were they discussed in more depth specific aspects of EFSA’s work, for example, transparency, quality of data and clear communication.

The recommendations from these interactive workshop sessions will feed into EFSA’s strategic reflections and future activities. The Forum was also an opportunity to announce the names of members of the Stakeholder Bureau, the structure for EFSA’s engagement with stakeholders made up of one representative from each of the seven stakeholder categories.

Results of selection for members of the Stakeholder Bureau are as follows: Consumers (BEUC, Illaria Passarani), NGOs (Pesticide Action Network Europe, Martin Dermine), Farmers and primary producers (COPA-COGECA, Pekka Pesonen), Business and food industry (European Crop Protection Association–ECPA, Euros Jones), Distributors and HORECA (Euro Commerce, Els Bedert), Practitioners (European Federation of the Associations of Dietitians–EFAD, Ayla Gulden Pekcan), Academia Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Europe–SETAC, José Julio Ortega Calvo).

The Bureau – chaired by EFSA’s Executive Director Bernhard Url – will provide high-level input to EFSA regarding societal concerns on health, environment, food production and other issues in the Authority’s remit. The Bureau will act as a guardian of balanced representation of views and monitor the actions EFSA takes as a result of the Forum. The first meeting of the Bureau will take place in September 2017.

Frameworks for interaction between EFSA, the Forum and the Bureau were also presented and discussed during the meeting. Draft documents will be shared with registered stakeholders for the second round of consultations. The final version of these documents will be published on EFSA’s web site.

A full report on the Forum meeting together with the list of participants and presentations will be published on EFSA’s website in the coming weeks.

Alongside the annual forum and the Bureau, stakeholder groups will have the opportunity to engage with EFSA through a number of permanent and targeted activities throughout the year, organised according to their interests and expertise. These include discussion groups on particular topics, roundtables, info sessions and working groups.

The new approach forms part of EFSA’s efforts to prioritise public and stakeholder involvement in the process of risk assessment. Through these initiatives, EFSA will be able to interact with a larger range of stakeholders and continue to develop how it engages with them on its work.