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PP Forum: Techniques for engaging the public

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Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5780]
Dear participants,

Welcome to Theme 5: Online modern techniques

Best regards,
Ulrika Nilsson
Associate Information Officer
Biosafety Unit
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
United Nations Environment Programme
413 St Jacques Street, Suite 800,
Montréal, Québec, Canada H2Y 1N9
Tel: +1-514-287-8720
Email: ulrika.nilsson@cbd.int
Internet: http://bch.cbd.int/protocol/
posted on 2014-04-23 00:43 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5790]
POSTED ON BEHALF OF JOHANSEN T. VOKER (MODERATOR)

Dear Forum Participants,

I am pleased and honoured to have been invited to moderate this online discussion.

Welcome to Theme 5 on Online modern techniques.

We welcome you to answer the guiding questions listed below when the Forum begins.

1. What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

2. How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

3. In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

4. Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

5. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?

6. Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?

7. In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?

The discussion will take place for two weeks and I encourage you to prepare the answers to the questions and post your views as soon as possible in order to foster a lively debate.

Please note that participants must first sign in to the BCH in order to post messages.

Individuals wishing to participate via e-mail after these initial messages can choose to 'watch' the discussions taking place under the different themes. These individuals will then receive copies of the posted messages by e-mail.

If you have any questions or if you encounter difficulties in accessing the discussion sessions or posting your messages, please send an e-mail to: ulrika.nilsson@cbd.int or andrew.bowers@cbd.int

I look forward to reading your suggestions and comments.

Best regards,

Johansen T. Voker
Moderator
posted on 2014-04-24 15:11 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5909]
Dear All,

The followings are my comments for each question:

1. What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?
The Department of Biosafety is adopting several online modern techniques to engage with the public. It started with the national BCH (Malaysian BCH) and specific email address for biosafety (biosafety@nre.gov.my) before we created our own Facebook page (Department of Biosafety Malaysia) and tweeter account (#DOBmy). Any latest news or activities will be shared/posted through these medium. In our national BCH, a forum room for any application for release of LMOs is also created to invite public to give their comments during public consultation period.

2. How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?
It is important when we use this technique to update the contents on regular basis so that it always become relevant and current to the users. Based on our own practice, the national BCH, FB page and tweeter will be updated at least once in every 2 weeks. However, any comment received (through email, FB, tweeter or forum) during public consultation period will be given feedback as soon as possible.

3. In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?
At the moment, we do not have any limitation on who can participate in these online activities. Participation is opened to all so long they have valid account (for email/FB/tweeter) and BCH ID (for forum).

4. Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?
In our case, we do not restrict all comments has to be in official national language. Usually, comments received are English or Malay but we also accept comments made in Chinese or Tamil. However, when we reply to these comments, it has to be in either English or Malay.

5. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?
From our experience, online modern techniques will be used together with the traditional techniques when making public engagement. It can be used during the consultation period for any development of biosafety related laws/regulations/guidelines or during public participation period to comment on any application to release LMOs (including field trial and import of LMOs for FFP).

6. Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?
There is no specific format/template for public to give their comment. In my opinion, if the comment is made through FB or forum, it has to be simplified. For detailed comment with support of relevant reports or study, it has to be submitted by email.

7. In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?
Under Malaysian Biosafety Act 2007, the decision by National Biosafety Board for any application for approval for release activities must taking into account inputs/comments received from public during consultation period. These inputs are normally presented to the Board in the form of report.

Regards
Johnny
posted on 2014-05-07 15:13 UTC by Mr. Johnny Anak Andrew, Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5913]
Theme 5: Online modern techniques

1. What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

It depends on national capacity for implementing, monitoring and funding modern techniques, and on other hand possibilities for accessibility by different stakeholders (e.g. internet access) and capabilities for their management, topics of special relevance for developing countries. In this case the first option may be through national BCHs (specific to each country or associated to the Central BCH), enhancing the platform in order to facilitate development online forums, discussion groups, etc., according with Decision COP-MOP BS-VI/2, which requests the Executive Secretary, among others, to: “Encourage greater use of the Biosafety Clearing-House to further promote and facilitate public awareness, education and participation of relevant stakeholders regarding the use of living modified organisms”. Complementary it is possible to take advance of existent platforms (e.g.  websites from NGOs, academia, National Competent Authorities, among others)

2. How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

In Colombia we don’t have experience about that, because currently the only way to facilitate public participation on decision making is through publishing applications case by case in web sites of National Competent Authorities; giving the opportunity that public can express their considerations and concerns about each application.

3. In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

It depends on topics which are covered by each online modern techniques and the intended public. For example, for specialized issues (technical or scientific) criteria may be focused on knowledge and experience, while for civil society, NOGs, local communities, may be focused on their social representativeness. However, it is recommended to have a mechanism that let consolidate concerns, opinions and suggestions of citizenship, independently if is part or not of a specific kind of public.  

4. Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

It could be an adequate strategy for include all kind of public, specially for relevant and widely spoken languages. However, a great trouble for that is the countries financial capability.

5. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?
According with Colombia’s experience it is no necessary implementing specific techniques depending of a particular point. More important is to guarantee public participation across all the process, including after a decision making, independently of the kind technique used for that (modern or traditional).

6. Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?

In order to guarantee accessibility to public information (like public comments) in a clear and transparent process for decision making,

7. In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?

In the Colombian case, the public participation regarding final decisions on LMOs is only collected by publication of applications case by case in web sites of National Competent Authorities; giving the opportunity that public can express their considerations and concerns about each application. In the final decision, among all considerations presented by different stakeholders, are taken into account those that are relevant and appropriate, only if them have solid argumentation that support and, where appropriate, evidence to justify them.

Best regards,

Claudia Maria Villa
Alexander Von Humboldt Institute
National Institute for Research on Biodiversity
Bogota - Colombia
posted on 2014-05-07 20:55 UTC by Ms. Claudia María Villa, Instituto Alexander von Humboldt
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5919]
Hello, I am from India representing Export Inspection Agency,the official certification body under Ministry of Commerce & Industry,Govt of India. My thoughts for the below questions are as follows

1. What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

The most powerful should be 'discussion forums' customized to the subject, facebook pages,linked in groups etc

2. How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

post with guiding questions

3. In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

Identify the relevant target group i.e organizations responsible for developing & implementing and invite them for participation

4. Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

Its better to restrict to one common language i.e english so that the ideas can be better communicated,discussed etc

5. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?

Modern techniques shall be used necessarily while developing regulatory frame work and during filed trials so that the feedback and suggestions from all the stakeholders is captured and included where relevant.
posted on 2014-05-08 09:05 UTC by Mr Sreenivasulu Goute, Export Inspection Agency-Kolkata
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5935]
Posted on behalf of Monika Singh, India:

Theme 5: Online modern techniques 

Greetings to all.

I am Monika Singh, working as Scientist at National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, New Delhi (India) and presently engaged in the area of LMO detection.

My thoughts for the questions below are as follows:

• What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

Primary online modern techniques to facilitate public participation are social networking sites like twitter, facebook, linkedin, and online discussion fourms like BCH.

• How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

Posts with guiding questions.

• In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

Participants from the public and private sector organisations who are dealing with related studies may be invited.

• Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

The official national language(s) are sufficient, some nodal persons may further communicate information to public through traditional methods of knowledge sharing.

• In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?

Online modern techniques may be used at each and every crucial step in the decision-making process on LMOs.

• Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?

Yes, the public comments need to be summarized for further dissemination.

• In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?

Based on the public comments, the main points may be synthesised and integrated into outcomes of final decisions by a group of panelists and experts, regulatory bodies and major stakeholders.
Evaluation mechanism is also necessary for reviewing time to time.
posted on 2014-05-08 13:43 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5940]
Posted on behalf of Milena Roudna, Czech Republic:

Theme 5 –Online modern techniques
• Online modern techniques represent an indispensable way of communication nowadays, most frequently website and e-mail communication.
• Generally, national language being used, as to experts internationally used language.
• In final report summaries from comments are used/recommended, being at disposal to NCAs.
posted on 2014-05-08 13:51 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5952]
Posted on behalf of Enrique N. Fernandez-Northcote, Peru:

PP Forum: Techniques for engaging the public

Hello, I am from Peru involved in Biosafety as a consultant.

1. What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

Discussion Forums (open to any one) but moderated and linked to Active Network Groups. The problem is funds for the moderator.

2. How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

Networks Groups without moderation. Results: Difussion of very bad information. Not funds for suggestion in Point 1.

3. In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

Should be by relevant stakeholders (Target Groups) to minimize problems described in Point 2. Linked to Network Groups for information.

4. Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

Should be better to restrict to the common languages, for instance English and Spanish. Or English and other language, depending on the audience.

5. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?


This depends on the country. In Peru would be in the point of Regulatory Framework in place.
posted on 2014-05-08 22:31 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5974]
Posted on behalf of John Ruane, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO):

I am John Ruane from the Research and Extension Unit of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), based in Rome, Italy.

In the discussion about online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation, I would like to mention that in 2000, FAO established the FAO Biotechnology Forum (http://www.fao.org/biotech/biotech-forum/) which uses moderated e-mail conferences to provide access to quality balanced information and to make a neutral platform available for all interested stakeholders to openly exchange views and experiences on agricultural biotechnologies in developing countries. It has currently about 3,600 members worldwide and has hosted 19 moderated e-mail conferences so far, with over 50% of all messages posted coming from participants living in developing countries.

This community of practice covers 'agricultural biotechnologies', which includes a broad range of technologies that are used in crops, livestock, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, and agro-industry. It therefore includes, but is not restricted to, GMOs. However, given the interest and demand for information on GMOs, four of the 19 e-mail conferences have been dedicated to GMOs. In addition, genetic modification (particularly in crops) has tended to be a major topic of discussion in many of the other conferences.

A standard procedure has been used for operation of each conference. Before a given conference begins, a Background Document is prepared which aims to give a good background to the conference theme, in a balanced neutral way, and to be written in easily-understandable language so that people with little knowledge of the area may understand what the theme is about. Before finalisation, it is reviewed by 3-4 external referees. After the conference, a Summary Document is prepared which aims to provide a summary of the main issues that were discussed during the e-mail conference, based on the messages posted by the participants. These documents (as well as all the e-mail messages posted) are all made available on the FAO Biotechnology Forum website.

It might be of particular interest to this Forum to know that one of the e-mail conferences about GMOs was dedicated to "Public participation in decision-making regarding GMOs in developing countries: How to effectively involve rural people" in 2005. The focus was on rural people, as agricultural activities take place, by and large, in rural areas and production of GMOs therefore directly impacts the people living in rural areas and their environment. In addition, people in rural areas have often more limited access to information than their counterparts in urban areas, so awareness about GMOs and involvement in decision-making regarding GMOs may differ considerably for rural and urban communities. Over 500 people subscribed to the 4-week long conference and 116 messages were posted, from 70 people living in 35 different countries. Geographical representation was quite balanced, with about 20% of messages each from Africa and Europe and 15% each from Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, North America and Oceania. Half of the messages came from people in developing countries.

The background and summary documents from this e-mail conference were published in an FAO book entitled "Results from the FAO Biotechnology Forum: Background and dialogue on selected issues", by J. Ruane and A. Sonnino. It can be downloaded at http://www.fao.org/docrep/009/a0744e/a0744e00.HTM. If someone wishes to receive a hard-copy, please contact Charlotte.Lietaer@fao.org to request a copy, providing your full address.
posted on 2014-05-09 15:48 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5978]
Posted on behalf of Enrique N. Fernandez-Northcote, Peru:

PP Forum: Techniques for engaging the public

Hello, I am from Peru involved in Biosafety as a consultant.

Yes, the model described by John Ruane is a very good one. Very good experience.
posted on 2014-05-09 16:39 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5975]
1. What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

Despite we don’t have a formal BCH national website, this would be one of the formats to socialize the information and also use the new social networks as means to share the process of any risk analysis that is taking place.

2. How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

There isn't national BCH website to use these modern technologies.

3. In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

A suggestion that came up during one of the last specific meetings we have had, was to use the internet as a way to reach other specialized professionals that couldn’t be present for any reason. In this sense, if it is a specific topic, there could be a virtual participation of the people involved.

4. Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

No, for the same reasons already explained. Bolivia has already to deal with the other native languages and it is already a challenge to translate to those languages.

5. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?

As explained before, it was considered that these technologies could be more needed when there is no budget to sit down with all the people involved. For general public, once a risk analysis process starts this should be notified, as well as a month or two before the final decision is taken.

6. Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?

If the comment is about a future release of a LMO, the general/technical report is more desirable, because the committee in charge can review the information provided in this document.

7. In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?

It is easier to evaluate collected opinions when discussing a specific topic (like the socioeconomic considerations), as the different answers can be classified and considered when elaborating the final document. However massive opinions are a bit sensible to collect for other topics like field trials, before or after making a decision. What can be evaluated and collected by these tools is the opinion about how much relevant information there is available for each case, identification of topics that need to be explained with more detail or the necessity of building capacity among other professionals interested in the LMO topic.
posted on 2014-05-09 15:56 UTC by Sra. Cecilia Gonzalez, Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#6010]
1. The primary modern online techniques to facilitate public participation are social media websites, online forum/discussion groups. The anational BCH comes later in my opinion as although we have trained quite a few people in the use of the BCH, it is not many of them that keep using it.

2. We have a biosafety website where there is an online discussion forum. Participation is limited on that website.

3. Participants are just invted to join the online techniques once they are interested.

4. For Saint Lucia, our second language is not as much written as it is spoken.

5. Decision making process on LMOs started using online modern techniques from the development of the framework.

6. Public comments should be in original format.

7. They are included in minutes and integrated in decisions.
posted on 2014-05-14 21:27 UTC by Ms. Anita James, Saint Lucia
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#6025]
Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5780]

Here are my comments on theme 5.

• What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

In our experience, nowadays, online forums/discussion groups and social media sites are primary techniques, but websites of the National Coordination Biosafety Centre, Aarhus Centre in Belarus and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection are in active use too.

• How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

This online modern technology is mostly conducted by posting guiding questions but other types of technology conduction are also used.

• In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

In our experience, there are no special criteria to invite people for the online discussions. The online floor is open for everybody.

• Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

Yes, exactly. Online modern techniques allow participants to express their opinions in language comfortable for them, but the translation options of the browser should be taken in consideration.

• In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?

We believe, the modern online techniques should be used for any point in the decision-making process.

• Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?

I think a special format for the public comments should not be required - people should feel themselves free in provision of their opinions in any format they prefer.
     However the organizer (moderator) of the online discussion can ask participants to use a special format and explain the reason of that requirement (more convenient for analysis, presentation, etc.).

• In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?

I believe, the public comments should be collected on regular basis (annually), integrated into reviews and delivered to governmental competent authorities. This is an important task of the National Coordination Biosafety Centre or other coordination biosafety authority. 

Best regards, Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
posted on 2014-05-16 05:58 UTC by Assoc. Prof. Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#6032]
Posted on behalf of Mr. Wouamane Mbele, Cameroon:

Dear Participants, please find below my comments on theme 5:

• What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?
Social media sites, networks and national BCH.

• How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?
Ad hoc posting, with guiding questions; at times with standardized responses.

• In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?
Short questionnaires at periodic intervals. Participants should be sensitized and have some incentives, like letter of congratulation or acknowledgment for paticipating.

• Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?
It may be very difficult;

• In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?
At all these points.

• Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?
They should be in a simplified format but faithful.

• In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?
There should be a devoted team to collect, analyze and eventually integrate public comments during periodic reviews timed according to the topic and needs.
posted on 2014-05-16 09:02 UTC by Mr DECLAN AMBE
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#6048]
Dear All,

My views on the online modern techniques

1)primary online mode to facilitate participation is forum

2)Online modern technology is being conducted on ad hoc posting

3)Criteria for invitations should b eligible and same related field person.

4)no it is not feasible in other languages for online modern techniques

5)During Development stage of LMOS

6)Public comments should be on simplified format

7)Through continues awareness, training and feed back programme.
posted on 2014-05-16 19:04 UTC by KARIPALLI AGNES RAJU, EXPORT INSPECTION AGENCY-KOLKATA (Ministry of Commerce and Industry , Govt.of India)
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5865]
1. Regarding the primary online modern techniques to facilitate public participation, it is clear that could be priorized as follows:
- Social media sites (Facebook, tweeter, etc.). Broad audience but nor neccesarily interested in the topic.
- Networks. Important for spreading (wrong or true) messages .
- Online forums/discussion groups. Very important tool for a public with interest or knowledge. Comparatively, it is a tool with a reduced audience.
-Websites. Mainly useful for students, academics or people with some interest about the topic. It is important to mention that the main problem of websites on LMOs is that they are not having a review process and any kind of data can be uploaded. Unfortunately and I am not exagerating if say that the vast majority of the current LMOs websites of the more popular browsers are misinforming people.
- National BCH. Hard to say, but in general, national BCH and BCH are not well recognized by public as a tool for finding validated information about biosafety, LMOs, etc. Improving surf of these web pages and implementing activities for promoting these tools are urgently required. Suggestion: BCH could have open-web sections oriented to journalists and communicators (vg. saying what is reality and what is myth); another for policy makers (ideally, containing information to do their proper comparisons).

5. Modern online techniques could be routinarily used for public consultation for the development-adjustment (not for the generation) of regulatory frameworks or policies, and for knowing concerns of people about field trials, and prior to or after making and import decision.
posted on 2014-05-05 00:21 UTC by Dr. Pedro Rocha, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5917]
I think ,in present, social media plays important role and becomes more convenience for public discussion  since anyone can participate and connect each other and discuss in group by social network.  Anyway  it may need information support before open the webboard.
posted on 2014-05-08 07:22 UTC by Ms. Praopan Tongsom, Thailand
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5921]
Dear all,

My name is Dalad Senthong from Thailand. I would like to give more opinion in addition to Ms. Praopan Tongsom’s.

In our experience,Thailand had created Facebook Page for public participation to share their opinion on field trial project and also had Q&A about the project and information on GMOs. However this page does not has limited timeframe and specific group of stakeholders for comments.

In my opinion, I think social media is the way that public can access and participate in easily and convenience. Furthermore, it should to be integrated with other traditional techniques (such as face-to-face meeting, workshop and focus group) to get more comprehensive views and also should be the tool to share information and educate public to better understanding about the issues with simplified language to facilitate public consider before give their comments.

Best regards
posted on 2014-05-08 09:33 UTC by Ms. Dalad Senthong, Thailand
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5951]
- What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?

Due to the needs required by the process, the use of resources and access to social networks and websites allows  to reach many people simultaneously; however, although these means ensuring mass participation also carry a downside: these spaces for participation and lose their primary objective to become simple platforms that collect all kinds of information without this is filtered and purified by virtue of the relationship and the link saved in order summoning the involved public participation process.

- How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?

Publications ad hoc and standardized responses.

- In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?

It should be very successful and that people consider to be invited possess the knowledge, expertise and ability to interact with multidisciplinary groups under discussion.

- Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?

Taking into account the results that have been obtained with other instruments that are due to deploy resources provided in a language other than Spanish (official language of El Salvador) reaffirm our position on it that if you want to portray the reality of countries such a sensitive issue is a priority that these instruments are operated with attached national language native formats as this is a guarantee that the reviews remain faithfully embodied as were expressed.

- In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?

We believe it is appropriate to be used as regulatory frameworks are being implemented, to strengthen and develop.

- Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?

We believe that these are desirable in a standardized format that is common to all, that will facilitate their review, discussion and better extrapolation.

- In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)?

There are regular and updated tools to ensure better implementation of these revisions.
posted on 2014-05-08 21:12 UTC by Lic. Jeremias Ezequiel Yanes, El Salvador
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5972]
Several online forms allow for an effective public participation by allowing the public to access information on different levels and in different languages in their own time and to add their own knowledge, expertise, ideas and concerns.

In regard to question 5 the answers similar question in the previous threads are relevant here as well. In accordance to Article 23, "parties shall ... consult the public in the decission making process..."  - not afterwards.

A range of formats and technical solutions are available, so choosing an appropriate tool is important. Factors to take into account include not only the robustness and ease of use, but also whether they require proprietory software, or whether users are required to sign up to commercial services, or whether they use Open Data formats that can be used on different platforms.

A-synchronic debates (such as this online forum) allows different members of the public to participate in their own speed and time, to check on information, to reflect about wording etc. By slowing down the speed of the debate, the quality of contributions can raise.

Especially the BCH and the national BCHs provide a comprehensive source of information on LMOs, national decissions and laws and regulations. The standardized formats allow easy access to information that can be used for the debates, and they also make it easier to identify where information is missing before coming to an informed decisision.

Compared to other formats and techniques, online formats have the most options to enable multiple languages. They allow to present questions and information in multiple translations. Where contributions are done in writing, participants can even choose to use a prefered language before adding their own translation to, allowing them to express themselves more accurately.
Translations of contributions can even be added at a later stage of an ongoing procedure - in contrast to an interpretation during a public meeting that is either available or not.

Public comments always need to be possible on the original format and reports because the public includes a wide range of experts on different topics including scientists from different fields, experts in agriculture, seed and food production etc.
In order to make use of this expertise, they need to be able to access the original reports. Scientists alse need access to the original LMOs to contribute with additional risk assessments.
Summaries and simplified material is useful for specific parts of the public, but this should only be in addition to the original material - never to replace it.
posted on 2014-05-09 14:53 UTC by Ms. Antje Lorch, Ecoropa
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#5997]
1. the modern means which can facilitate the participation of
the public are:  sites web, groups of forum on line, medias and social networks
But in my country the quality of the Internet, the access to
the English language constitute a limit. 

2.  To hold the discussions on line, it is necessary that questions are of orientation.  The
regularity of these discussions takes part in a better participation of the public

3. criteria to invite must be the knowledge of the
subject and the language in which the discussion will be carried out.
The discussions in languages other than the official language for
example, the local language constitutes a difficulty, because these
languages with by can be Haoussa, swahili, yoruba, it will be
difficult in the other languages. 

4.  The discussions must be committed from the very start of the process it is with-statement as of the regulation while passing by the notification until the tests in the fields. 
6 .  formats recommended:  simplified formats, the summaries, synthesis of the general and technical reports 
7.  The comments of the public must be compiled and
integrated in the final decision.
posted on 2014-05-11 18:53 UTC by Mr. Comlan Marcel KAKPO, Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Habitat et de l'Urbanisme
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#6018]
1. Les moyens modernes qui peuvent faciliter la participation du public sont: les sites, les groupes de forum en ligne, les médias et les réseaux sociaux. Mais dans mon pays la qualité de l’internet, l’accès à la langue anglaise constituent une limite.

2. Pour mener les discussions en ligne, il faut que des questions d’orientation. La régularité de ces discussions participe à une meilleure participation du public.

3. Les critères pour inviter doivent être la connaissance du sujet et la langue dans laquelle se mènera la discussion. Les discussions en langues autres que la langue officielle par exemple, la langue locale constitue une difficulté, car ces langues à par peut être Haoussa, swahili, yoruba, il sera difficile dans les autres langues.

4. Les discussions doivent être engagées dès le début du processus c’est -à-dire dès la réglementation en passant par la notification jusqu’aux essais aux champs.
6 .  les formats à recommander sont : les formats simplifié, des résumés, synthèse des rapports généraux et techniques.

7. Les commentaires du public doivent être compilés et intégrés dans la décision définitive.
posted on 2014-05-15 12:57 UTC by Mr. Comlan Marcel KAKPO, Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Habitat et de l'Urbanisme
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#6034]
1. What are the primary online modern techniques through which to facilitate public participation (e.g. national BCH, websites, online forums/discussion groups, social media sites, networks)?
Je pense que toutes les techniques modernes doivent être envisagées mais en ayant à l’esprit  qu’elles ne seront pas toutes compatible en fonction du groupe cible concerné. Par ex les BCH nationaux, les site web, les forums en ligne ne seront utilisable que pour la frange qui est lettrée et qui a accès à facilement une connexion internet.
Pour les autres (frange non lettrée) il faudrait recourir à d’autre méthodes plus traditionnelles
L’accès à internet reste encore dans notre pays un problème. Aussi, il faudrait que la structure qui veut conduire de telles discussion soit elle aussi outillée pour le faire correctement. Il lui faudrait le personnel en mesure de maintenir le site actif. On constate en effet que souvent beaucoup de site web sont créé et que l’information qu’on y trouve est très peu mises à jour

2. How are these online modern technology being conducted (e.g. regular or ad hoc posting, posts with guiding questions, automated RSS feeds, moderated, standardized responses)?
Vu le niveau de connaissance de la population sur la question des OGM, il serait indiqué qu’une certaine orientation soit donnée pour recentré le débat. On pourrait dans certains cas (selon le type d’information que l’on recherche) avoir de réponses standardisées.
3. In your experience, what should the criteria be to invite participants for the online modern techniques?
On pourrait utiliser les critères suivants : les groupes spécifiques directement concernés par la question (ex les producteurs ; certaines administrations) ; les organisations de la société civile ; la connaissance que le participant à sur le sujet.  

4. Is it feasible to enable online modern techniques in languages other than the official national language(s)?
Il serait très difficile de pouvoir envisager des discussions en ligne dans les langues autres que la langue officielle tout simplement parce que ceux qui sont alphabétisé dans les autres  langues on presque pas d’accès à internet 

5. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should online modern techniques be used (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials and/or prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)?
Les techniques modernes devraient être utilisées tout au long du processus de prise de décision. Depuis la mise en place des cadres règlementaires jusqu’à l’importation. Il faut même le prévoir après l’importation, puisqu’un suivi de l’adoption est indispensable.
6. Should public comments be on a simplified or original format (e.g. summaries/synthesized or general/technical reports)?
Les formats les plus simplifiées doivent être envisagés pour en permettre une meilleure exploitation.

7. In what way are the main points from public comments collected and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Are there evaluation mechanisms (e.g. periodic reviews)? Les commentaires du public doivent être examinées et selon leur pertinence intégrés dans le processus de prise de décision. Dans la pratique du Burkina Faso, ces différents commentaires sont examinés en même temps que les résultats de l’évaluation des risques pour une prise de décision final.
posted on 2014-05-16 09:43 UTC by Pr. Chantal Yvette Zoungrana Kabore, Burkina Faso
RE: Theme 5: Online modern techniques [#6044]
Posted on behalf of Theodore Koukis, the Aarhus Convention:

Dear Ulrika,
On behalf of the Aarhus Convention secretariat I would like to convey the following input on Modern Techniques
Thank you once again for offering us the opportunity to provide our comments.
Best Regards
Theo

INPUT FOR ONLINE MODERN TECHNIQUES
The Aarhus Convention secretariat has developed a Clearinghouse mechanism (http://aarhusclearinghouse.unece.org/) for sharing information and good practices on the three pillars of the Convention, namely access to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters including regarding GMOs. The Clearinghouse provides useful links to information, news and resources on all three pillars as well as to a jurisprudence database regarding cases brought before the Courts making reference to the provisions of the Convention.
The Aarhus Convention secretariat is currently in the process of preparing an online tool for good practices on public participation covering inter alia GMO-related initiatives. Interested organisations, countries and other stakeholders are invited to check the Aarhus Convention page regularly for up-to-date information (http://www.unece.org/env/pp/welcome.html).
posted on 2014-05-16 16:46 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety