EFSA stakeholders discuss public consultations

Members of EFSA’s Stakeholder Platform meeting in Brussels on 4/5 June 2009 concluded their discussions on EFSA’s approach to public consultations, endorsing a document which will be used as “general guidelines” for undertaking EFSA public consultations on scientific outputs. The 10th meeting of the Stakeholder Platform was also briefed on EFSA’s recent opinion on transparency in risk assessment by Professor Vittorio Silano, chair of EFSA’s Scientific Committee.

EFSA now has a transparent approach to why and how it launches and undertakes public consultations, which has been guided by consultation with its key stakeholders. The document lays out EFSA’s integrated approach on public consultations and aims to ensure that public consultations follow common criteria and allow for greater public involvement. The document outlines the criteria for identifying the need for a public consultation, the types of scientific outputs on which public consultations can be launched and defines how the outcome of the public consultation process should be reported.

EFSA’s Executive Director Catherine Geslain-Lanéelle said: “I am grateful to the members of the Platform for their active involvement in developing this document. Their valuable contribution, specifically in the working group set up on the issue, allowed us to finalise a document which will be central to further enhancing the transparency and effectiveness of public consultations on EFSA’s scientific work.”

The meeting also discussed EFSA’s opinion on transparency in scientific aspects of risk assessment which was published in April this year. The document outlines general principles such as the identification of data sources, criteria for the inclusion and exclusion and confidentiality of data. Professor Silano briefed the platform members on the thinking behind the opinion and the elements in it that underpin transparent risk assessment to help ensure that EFSA scientific outputs are clear, understandable and reproducible.

Platform members also discussed the draft revised Terms of Reference of the Platform ahead of its renewal. The draft Terms of Reference will be presented to the Management Board meeting in June for their possible adoption. During the meeting, the Executive Director also updated the participants on EFSA’s activities over the last months and presented the EFSA Preliminary Management Plan for 2010 on which members have been invited to submit comments.

EFSA Stakeholders’ Platform, which was first set up in 2005 advises EFSA’s Executive Director on many general issues related to EFSA’s work, and in particular impact of EFSA’s work on stakeholders.

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