EFSA defines stakeholders as third parties that have an interest in the Authority’s work or in the wider food and feed sector, and classifies them into seven categories.
Stakeholders have been contributing to EFSA’s work since the Authority was founded in 2002. They can engage with EFSA in many ways, according to their interests and expertise.
To further strengthen dialogue with food chain stakeholders, in 2016 EFSA launched a dedicated framework that includes a registration option for organisations that are willing to engage more closely with EFSA. Registration is not mandatory, but registered organisations have access to a combination of standing and ad-hoc engagement platforms as well as the mechanisms available to non-registered stakeholders and the public.
Engagement with stakeholders reflects EFSA’s commitment to openness, transparency and dialogue. At EFSA, engagement is: Trustworthy, Traceable, Targeted.
Trustworthy: Engagement is designed to safeguard EFSA’s objectivity and independence. EFSA aims to foster trustworthy relations by engaging stakeholders based on the relevance of their interests and expertise. EFSA pursues a balanced representation of interests to prevent specific communities exerting any undue influence through the various interactive mechanisms. Whenever targeted engagement is needed to focus on specific interest groups and expertise, this is conducted with full transparency.
Targeted: EFSA sees engagement as a targeted process that gives stakeholders the opportunity to contribute their experience in their field of interest and knowledge. A targeted approach ensures that stakeholders can focus on those activities where they can add and extract value from cooperating with EFSA. A targeted engagement approach benefits stakeholders and EFSA as it ensures flexibility, which is essential in a dynamic working environment characterised by shifting priorities, for example in view of emerging issues and/or new demands placed on EFSA by risk managers.
Traceable: Engagement is deeply embedded in EFSA’s scientific process as well as in the planning of EFSA’s activities. The Traceable principle requires that EFSA, to the best of its abilities, identifies stakeholder contributions, and maps how those have been made and how they have been considered or incorporated in its scientific outputs. EFSA continuously improves its tools and processes to ensure that stakeholders can trace how their input was used to inform EFSA’s advice to policymakers.
The domains of stakeholder engagement
Stakeholders may engage with EFSA in the following domains:
- Foresight and preparedness: horizon scanning and foresight activities so EFSA can stay relevant for policymakers and EU citizens, and be prepared for the challenges ahead.
- Risk assessment process: topic-based engagement on EFSA’s mandates and applications to improve the quality and transparency of EFSA’s scientific advice.
- Dialogue with stakeholders: open dialogue between EFSA and stakeholders to build mutual understanding of roles, responsibilities and priorities.
What does EFSA do with stakeholders’ input?
Input from stakeholders is key to:
- identifying issues requiring EFSA’s preparedness and inform new mandates.
- supporting EFSA’s scientific risk assessment with relevant evidence and information.
- continuously improving the mechanisms through which EFSA engages with stakeholders to ensure an open and transparent dialogue with interested parties.
EFSA is committed to enhancing the traceability of stakeholders’ input (e.g. the outcome of public consultations) and the accessibility of information (e.g. in Open.EFSA), in line with the core values of openness and transparency.