Please be aware that this is a machine translation from French to English. AVICENN is not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate translations but welcomes suggestions for reformulation.

VeilleNanos - What role for civil society?

What role for civil society?

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The population is still not very well informed about the developments of nanotechnologies, even though they affect the future of all of us. The vagueness and complexity of the nano domain1The term “nanotechnology” is a catch-all word that covers different realities. As underlined by the association Sciences et Démocratie in 2010, this term “adds a layer of complexity to the work of explanation necessary to allow the citizen to appropriate the subject, especially as its definition is still the subject of debate between specialists”. and the opacity that surrounds public decisions as well as the processes used by the industry hinder the transparency that would be necessary for a democracy in the true sense of the word.

In 2009-2010, the national public debate on nanotechnologies organized in France revealed the difficulties of dialogue between citizens, administrations, researchers and industrialists on nanos. Citizens have little access to the elements that have led, or will lead, to the choices concerning the orientations and financing of research, development and commercialization of nanotechnologies/nanomaterials.

The association AVICENNthrough the information it makes available to all on this site and social networks, seeks to fill the gap of transversal, readable and independent information on nanos and to facilitate the identification of key actors and places where important choices are made in this vast and complex field. So that decisions are not taken away from citizens, we seek to provide them with the necessary tools to understand the issues at stake so that they can, if they wish, take part in the debates, influence the decisions that are taken and act with full knowledge of the facts.

Other actors or programs show a willingness to involve citizens or “the public” in the governance of nanotechnologies, although there is sometimes a risk of instrumentalizing them. Vigilance is required. Indeed, if public consultations and debates have made it possible to inform a wider – but still largely insufficient – circle of citizens, the conditions of their implementation are often controversial and their recommendations have been little followed by effect(s)… It is more through the mobilization of civil society organizations2Cf. Xi Wang, Revisiting “upstream public engagement” in nanotechnologies: from the perspective of the public sphere, Library and information sciences. Université Paul Sabatier – Toulouse III, 2015. that their questions and recommendations can be brought, at least initially, to the decision-making level.

The next nano-related events

NanoSafe conference 2023 (CEA, Grenoble)
  • 8th International Conference on Health Issues for a Responsible Approach to Nanomaterials
  • From June 5 to 9, 2023
  • Organizer: French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission(CEA)
  • Website:…
How the world deals with Materials on the Nanoscale – Responsible Use and Challenges (OECD-BMUV, Berlin)
  • International Conference from June 22 to 23, 2023
  • Organizers: OECD, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection(BMUV)
  • Website: https: //…
São Paulo School of Advanced Science on Nanotechnology, Agriculture & Environment (SPSAS NanoAgri&Enviro, São Paulo)
São Paulo
  • From July 3 to 15, 2023 in São Paulo
  • Organizer: FABESP
  • Application from November 18 to February 05. Registration fees and travel expenses are covered.
  • Speakers: see the complete program here.

Notes & références

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