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PP Forum: Techniques for engaging the public

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Theme 2: Surveys [#5783]
Dear participants,

Welcome to Theme 2: Surveys

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 00:48 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5793]
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 2 on Surveys.

We welcome you to answer the guiding questions listed below when the Forum begins 28 April.

1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

2. In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?

4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?

5. In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?

The discussion will take place for the 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 15:15 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5801]
Dear everyone,
I am please to input on the survey as posted by Ulrika and Johanssen.

1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

I think surveys can be designed for a specific target group of audience. Let if if we wish to do the survey related to capacity of country in handling LMOs release into the environment, we may design questionnaires in 4 separate sets of questions: (1) for government institution, (2) NGOs/civil society/Academic; (3) private sector; (4) farmers/consumers. Format of questions can be in a check box or multiple choices. Meeting with those audience to verify answers filled is needed.


2. In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

Criteria for selecting these groups of people is depended upon large group who have largely vested interest in the LMOs application and depended on what kind of information you want which sector to provide more.


3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?

In Cambodia we do in local language. But for international NGOs or foreign companies, we can translate into English.


4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?

If any risk of LMOs is controversial and risk is not certain we need to do the survey to get public opinion before allowing for a field release or put on a commercial release into the environment. Period of survey if up to the law specifies.

5. In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?

Main points: spell out key positive advantage of a particular LMOs and negative points of that LMO. Spell out conditions to be impose if allowing to contain risk and minimize risk.

That's it I can contribute.
Pisey Oum, Cambodia/MOE.
posted on 2014-04-28 04:44 UTC by Mr. Meng Monyrak, Cambodia
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5804]
Dear participants
Many thanks to the Secretariat for this online forum and Johansen for moderating these discussions.
I agree with Mr Pisey that surveys can be desgned for a specific targuet group of audience.
This will include meetings with all stakeholders based on experience in LMOs release and commercialisation.
Surveys can be conucted in the 6 languaes of United Nations.
Best regards
Dr Gado
posted on 2014-04-28 12:16 UTC by Mr. Mahaman Gado Zaki, Niger
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5812]
I want to follow up on the responses so far on theme 6.

Thanks  Pisey for the comprehensive response to the theme on Survey.  As you correctly indicated that the period of survey depends on specific national laws, could you share with us what is the stipulated period under the law of Cambodia to allow for public inputs into decision-making? 

Question 5 is particularly important  to help us know how public inputs  are  taken into account in decision-making. Any experience  regarding this will benefit the discussion.

Regards,

Johansen T.Voker
Moderator
CPB National Focal Point/Liberia
posted on 2014-04-29 13:18 UTC by Mr. Johansen T. Voker, Liberia
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5813]
Good morning every one. I’m from San Salvador, El Salvador (Central America) and I’m an specialist for the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

In the case of El Salvador, the public participation in items related with the Cartagena Protocol is a little (for moments) difficult because the political positions (specially for the decision makers) are very different, and in some cases, opposites to the context of the Cartagena Protocol and their dispositions and this is the reason of my participation because I hope to have a very complete vision about this process in other countries for have a more strategic exercise in my country.

Best regards from El Salvador,
posted on 2014-04-29 15:34 UTC by Lic. Jeremias Ezequiel Yanes, El Salvador
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5814]
Dear Johanssen,
Thank you for the questions. The Biosafety Law of Cambodia allowed the public to participate in providing comments any particular LMOs intended to be released into the environment which can be incorporated into the decision-making process. The law itself does not specify period it rather gives the authority to competent authority to set time limit for the public to provide comments and this depends on the type of LMOs or dossiers that needs short or longer time to study.

Regarding to Q#5, we don't have experience yet but we have done some on putting condition on the use bio-fertilizer in case they can affect to plants or other organisms or soil bacteria. Usually, synthesized report on the advantages and disadvantages are key for decision-makers to look at. Example, are there any risk, level of risk against economic benefits That's it I can share. Pisey Oum, Cambodia MOE.
posted on 2014-04-29 16:23 UTC by Mr. Meng Monyrak, Cambodia
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5815]
Thanks Pisey for the  additional  information which I think we all will find quite useful.

Regards,

Johansen Voker

PP Forum Moderator
posted on 2014-04-29 16:33 UTC by Mr. Johansen T. Voker, Liberia
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5852]
Greetings to all.

On item 2 would provide that a survey is a tool that allows you to track information on a given topic, on which interest has a particular person or institution. Therefore, the first step is to define a survey start by defining clearly the interest is country specific issues and who you want to ask. This is probably one of the most complex steps since, depending on how well the questionnaire made ​​it more suitable to make timely and informed decisions have answers.

Thank you very much.

Claudia Maria Villa
Humboldt Institute Colombia
posted on 2014-05-04 13:50 UTC by Ms. Claudia María Villa, Instituto Alexander von Humboldt
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5841]
Dear Mr. Moderator and all participants,

The followings are my comments for each question:

1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?
From our previous experience, a combination of techniques was used to conduct the survey. Firstly, face-to-face interviews using the questionnaire and supporting materials that were mainly conducted with consumers and some other respondents (e.g. farmers, journalists). Enumerators were engaged to conduct these interviews. Secondly, the questionnaires and supporting materials were sent via email to selected target participants or organizations. This method required the participants to fill up the questionnaire on their own (self-administered) and return it to us via email or fax. Lastly, the survey was conducted in conjunction with some of the events organized by us and other organizations (e.g. at seminar/workshop/meeting/exhibition). In some occasions, meetings were set up at respective organizations to get the target participants come together and participate in the survey. Face-to-face interviews were sometimes conducted at these events when deemed necessary.

2. In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?
Based on our previous experience in conducting public survey on LMOs and biosafety, the participants were selected based on 2 main considerations: (a) involvement in the area of modern biotechnology and biosafety inclusive of developing the national biosafety framework; and (b) having interest/concerns on the subject. Based on these considerations, the participants were categorized into 6 groups consisted of: (1) regulatory bodies/enforcement bodies/policy makers; (2) research institutions & universities; (3) non-government organisations (NGOs), religious bodies & organic shops; (4) industry players; (5) media & educators; and (6) consumers.

3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?
As a multiracial country with diverse languages used by its people, we do not see this as an obstacle at all. From our experience, it can be done in 2 ways either by translating the survey form in more than 1 language or by providing assistant to the respondents to interpret the meaning of each question in their own language.

4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?
In our opinion, to conduct a public survey on LMOs is not an easy task particularly on the selection of sampling method and participants. For example, if random sampling is used, it may lead to possible bias in results due to the low awareness of modern biotechnology among the general public, which can limit the extent to which data collected can be rigorously analyzed. For this reason, we use survey as a mean to collect data on the development of new policy, regulations, guidelines or action plan. The time period normally depends of the objectives and scope of the survey.

5. In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?
Results from the survey can be useful in many ways not necessarily to meet its intended purpose. However, due to limited resources, survey only can be done once every 3 to 5 years. Thus it must be designed to capture as much information possible. In our own case for example, we still very much rely on data collected from the survey that we conducted in 2011 particularly in designing strategy to strengthen biosafety institutional capacity and action plan.

Regards
Johnny
(edited on 2014-05-03 11:31 UTC by Mr. Johnny Anak Andrew)
posted on 2014-05-03 11:19 UTC by Mr. Johnny Anak Andrew, Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5845]
Dear colleagues,

here are my comments to the topic 2. Surveys

1. The surveys of the public opinion may have various forms, as paper copies, as well as may be available electronically via e-mails, feedback in the websites, using facebook, twitter etc.  The check boxes question format is mostly useful, at the same time the textual boxes are very welcomed to explain arguments and references.
The summaries of notifications should be published and available to public before the public hearings are organized. The summary should reflect the main elements of the notification, including risk assessment document. The summary should be prepared in an accessible language, special very technical terms may be avoided for easier understanding by the general public.

2. The survey should reflect opinion of all participants to the public discussion. A balanced opinion should be made, based on scientific arguments and public opinion, including selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities.
3. Regularly not necessary to have survey in other language(s) then official. At the same time it is depending of the country. The Multinational/Multilanguage countries, or countries with many regional dialects may be requested by the local public to make survey available in other languages then official.
4. The time of survey should be in accordance with the domestic procedures of public consultation, regulated by the law. In case of my country the consultation process should be organized within 30 days.
5. The National Biosafety commission as advisory body to the National authority/decision maker should examine the submitted surveys/opinions from the public/public meetings and provide a synthetic overview. The synthesis should reflect all opinions, at the same time should select those arguments, which have been made on the scientific basis. The arguments/points should refers to a major, medium and minor risks over the environment, biodiversity, human health and economic development of the country.

Best wishes,
Angela
posted on 2014-05-03 17:04 UTC by Ms. Angela Lozan, Republic of Moldova
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5905]
1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

Usually surveys (open ended questions) are made available as hard copies. Occasionally e-mail copies can be transmitted but the answer should always be sent on paper. It is need to be said that the main population has not easy access to an internet connection, and when they have, the speed and connectivity are poor.
3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?
As previously stated, there is a low English literacy in Bolivia, not to mention other languages. Also Bolivia has four official languages (Spanish, aymara, qechua and guaraní). Our constitution urges the use of all of them in official documents and consultations.
4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?
Broad range surveys should take place in the early phase of the decision making process, i.e. previous to the development of the regulatory framework in order, first to create awareness of the issue, to promote trust among the whole arrange of actors, assuring inclusion and participation and hence creating an consensus prone environment.
posted on 2014-05-07 12:33 UTC by Ph.D. Juan Pablo Torrico, Dirección General de Biodiversidad y Áreas Protegidas
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5907]
Posted on behalf of Chantal Yvette Zoungrana Kabore, Burkina Faso:

1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?
De notre expérience, des enquêtes ont été faites en utilisant des fiches en version papier. Ces fiches sont distribuées lors de sessions de sensibilisation du public (large public ; élèves/ étudiants…) ou lors des sessions de formations.
En fonction de la nature de l’information à recueillir, les questions posées sont soit à choix multiples avec des cases à cocher soit des questions ouvertes permettant de l’intéressé de mieux étayer son propos.
Dans certains cas, une fiche d’enquête est administrée avant la session d’information et une autre après la session.

3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?
On peut prévoir des enquêtes dans les langues nationales dans la mesure où des sessions d’information se font en langue nationale et que des personnes sont alphabétisées dans une ou plusieurs langues nationales. C’est ce qui à justifier à notre niveau que nous ayons produit des documents de synthèse de la loi dans trois langues nationales.


4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?
Une enquête devrait surtout intervenir avant la prise de décision de mettre un OGM dans l’environnement (commercialisation).
posted on 2014-05-07 13:56 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5934]
Posted on behalf of Monika Singh, India:

Theme 2: Surveys

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:

• In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

The format of surveys would be easily approachable to the public or participants. Surveys may be in the form a hard copies (like proforma), electroniocally available (like online surveys), may be through social networking sites (like twitter, facebook). It would be better to select some points in the form of multiple choice, which may be finalized by group of experts with a provision to add a note or comment at the end of survey.

• In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

In my opinion, the survey would be open to public and approachable to all who are interested to share information and views. Selection may be done by forming some groups, communities or networks.

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

As the farmers are major stakeholders in the developing counties so the surveys may be made available in local languages also along with the official national language(s).

• In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?

Survey may be taken at each and every crucial step in the decision-making process on LMOs. The time period may be variable but not so much extended. Irrespective of time period, the surveys would convey some fruitful message and really would benefit in decision making process.

• In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?

Based on the surveys conducted, 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 may be based on the potential benefits and issues, while importing an LMO.
posted on 2014-05-08 13:42 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5937]
Posted on behalf of Milena Roudna, Czech Republic:

Theme 2 – Surveys
• First of all, surveys represent relatively costly way. If conducted, then require: 1. to focus to given topic, 2. to be targeted to special groups (clearly describe while presenting results).
• Results highly depend on focused groups and their choise. If not properly explained, the results can be misleading, not reflecting real situation in the given country.
• As to language, national language need to be used (due to broader audience) – depending on the country, also local languages. In case of experts – English or other UN language preferably used in the country possible.
According to the statistic, approximatelly 20 % of responses can be expected.
posted on 2014-05-08 13:48 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5948]
Posted on behalf of Bather Kone, African Union:

THEME 2: Surveys

1- It should be not a one size feet all, in particular when the subject is so specific. It should be decided on the basis of what is more accessible et more appropriate. Some time a preliminary survey must be appropriate to find out the best way n tool to proceed.
2- Among the criteria should be considered: the knowledge of the subject of the subject of the survey, the effective involvement and interest of the target people and organizations, being pro or anti GMO.
3- It is feasible but required more exercise (as finding the appropriate terminology in language is not evident) and probably extra costs.
4- The survey should take place since the development of the regulatory framework because it is an important step for local communities, mainly those involved in farming. The most appropriate period depends of the category of the target group, for local communities involved in farming it should be at less busy period, for other categories the period can be more flexible.
5- The main points should be in a kind of guidelines to be referred to at further steps.
posted on 2014-05-08 16:51 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5961]
Posted on behalf of Abisai Mafa, Zimbabwe:

Dear Forum Participants,

Here is my contribution to theme 2: Surveys


1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?
Although surveys could be administered electronically, our experience has shown that many people do not respond to electronic surveys. In order for one to get a good response, the survey has to be short, taking no more than ten minutes. Access to internet and email is still a challenge in remote villages. Moreover, the level of computer literacy is low in those above 40 years of age. The norm has therefore been to use self administered questionnaires. This is more expensive but appropriate under our conditions.

2. In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?
In order to get the views of all the stakeholders, it is important to stratify the sample to capture all players in the LMO value-chain. These include producers, consumers (urban and rural), developers, seed companies, wholesalers, retailers, food processers, academia, the media, civil society, regulators etc.

3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?
It is feasible but more costly and challenging to use local languages. In most cases even the proper terms do not exist in local langauages for modern biotechnology and its products.

4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?
Surveys should be structured in a way that adds value to biosafety processes. They should however be need driven.

5. In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?
Although information gathered is used in making decisions, there is no requirement at law to publish such information.
posted on 2014-05-09 12:27 UTC by Ms. Ulrika Nilsson, UNEP/SCBD/Biosafety
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5967]
Thank you for the questions.

Just as outlined in my reply to questions 4 and 5 in the discussion on theme one, Article 23 orf the Cartagena Protocol states that "the Public shall ... consult the public in the decision-making process..." Surveys therefore should not been conducted after a decision has already been taken. It is also key to be clear how the outcomes will be taken into account.

The advantage of surveys is that answers can be much more easily aggregated or categorized. This is comparable to the positive experiences of the BCH with using Common Formats that allow a comparison of answers.
Surveys can also easily be done in several langugages because it is possible to bring the different answers together no matter in which language they are given. This is even more so the case when surveys are done electronically because it does not require additional space or printed version, but allows members of the public to do that in a language in which they might feel more comfortable or competent to express themselves.

A danger with surveys however is that the questions can be too closed, the answers that can be chosen to restricted, or the that members of the public disagree with underlying premisses or assumptions. Unless there is space to answer beyond these restrictions, participants might feel that there full participation is not possible or wanted.

Members of the public also include experts in a range of fields as scientists, in agriculture, seed and food production, law and regulations etc. Depending of the goal of the survey the original technical and/or scientific formats need to be available so that the public can reply to them with all of this expertise.

In general, surveys are one-directional. Participants give answers to questions posed to them, but they can't interact with the organizers or with each other. Therefore they can be a good starting point, but should never be the only means to engage the public.
posted on 2014-05-09 12:34 UTC by Ms. Antje Lorch, Ecoropa
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5981]
I appreciate the rich discussion being conducted under these 6 sub-themes and extend my thanks to the Secretariat and to JT Volker for moderating.

My comments on this theme relate most directly to the 5th of Volker’s guiding questions:  “In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)? “
In my experience with hundreds of surveys, I have seen that almost all are inadequate in one fundamental fashion.  Except for the simplest of questions, whether they are open-ended asking for textual responses, or multiple-choice, surveys can only reflect views adequately if the designers have been able to anticipate all possible responses (and how to code them if they are essays).  Such omniscience is impossible to achieve. As a result, survey responses inevitably are inaccurate in actually telling us what we want to know.  I am not referring to statistical variability (e.g., margin of error), I mean actually wrong.  This is particularly a problem in on-line questionnaires which do not allow the respondent to proceed unless he/she has answered every question; how many times have I come to a question which does not apply to me, but I must check a response if I am to proceed through the questionnaire.

Thus, all surveys should be seen as only indicative, not definitive.

Prof Philip  L Bereano
Washington Biotechnology Action Council
posted on 2014-05-09 17:29 UTC by Dr. Philip L. Bereano, University of Washington
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#6011]
Theme 2: Surveys [#5783]

My comments on the theme 2 are as follows.

• In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

Surveys may be made in any format; the most important thing is - to use a proper format for each target group. The educational level of each target group should be taken in consideration. Most people give preference to check boxes in the list of questions, but other survey formats should be proposed too. It is very important to provide participants of the survey with data obtained and analyzed by survey organizers with proper explanation and comparative analysis.

• In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

I believe the participants should be selected from each group (governmental officers, NGOs, private sector, scientific and commercial institutions, etc.) in equal quantity to get the best balanced survey and conduct comparative analysis.

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

The goal of surveys and each question should be understandable for every person and formulated in a very clear manner in the official national language and other languages if it is necessary (it depends on the language specificity in the country).

• In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?

The decision-making process is specified by the special procedure prescribed by legislation, and the time period for the survey is determined usually by that procedure. In Belarus, the public opinions should be gathered and analyzed within 60 days.

• In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?

Belarus does not have real experience in this area. There is no GMO for commercial use in Belarus. But, citizens of the country, in accordance with the legislation, have rights to be informed of GMO import for commercial use and participate in the decision-making process on that matter through a public association (NGOs, Trade Unions, Association for Custom Right Protection, etc.).


Best wishes, Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
posted on 2014-05-15 09:17 UTC by Assoc. Prof. Elena Makeyeva, Belarus
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#6022]
In my experience, surveys are principally made available through hard copies. There are times when electronic copies are sent to stakeholders.  Generally speaking from my experience, surveys for biosafety have been done using enumerators.  The questions consist of open ended and multiple choice questions.  The surveys are simplified as much as possible so that the relevant stakeholders can understand them.

The criteria to engage participants for a balanced survey should be that they are involved in biosafety in one way or the other. Secondly it is important to hear from as wide a cross section of people as possible.  Hence it is important to target individuals from the private, public, NGO, academic, research sectors and local communities.

Once the language is a written language, the surveys should be carried out in them as well. In my country, although the creole language is a written one, many people here do not read the written language.

From my experience, several surveys were carried out for the development of the regulatory framework.  We have not had field trials so have not had experience with surveys in that regard but if necessary and we are having field trials, we will use that tool.  The time period for a survey should be about two weeks.

The regulatory framework for the country was developed from the surveys. They contributed to its development.
posted on 2014-05-15 20:28 UTC by Ms. Anita James, Saint Lucia
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#6029]
Posted on behalf of Mr. Wouamane Mbele, Cameroon:

Dear Participants, please find below my comments on theme 2:

• In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?
Hard copies, particularly by consultants.  Simplified-emi structured and/or original.

• In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

It would be better to have a representative sample (of experts) from every sector or layer of the society, including all these.

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

Yes but rare, depending on the person conducting the survey, because there’s no constraint. But usually it’s done in national languages

• In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?

It should take place before decision is taken.

• In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?

Through report, executive summaries and brochures. Yes, quite often, report are discussed, evaluated during adoption meetings.
posted on 2014-05-16 08:51 UTC by Mr DECLAN AMBE
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#6040]
Dear All,

My views on the topic Surveys  as per the questionnaire are as follows

1) The surveys are to be made available with defined questions

2) The Criteria to select and engage participants for a balance survey should be a technical Expert who is involved with the development of LMOS

3)Yes it is feasible to enable survey in languages other that official language through  a translator.

4) The survey on decision making process on LMOS should be made before , during and after inducing LMOS and the period of the survey should be 1 month. minimum.

5) The main points are synthesised on the statistical data of the survey and are integrated into final decisions and the evaluation mechanism is the total positive results of the desired LMO for which it is made.
posted on 2014-05-16 14:41 UTC by KARIPALLI AGNES RAJU, EXPORT INSPECTION AGENCY-KOLKATA (Ministry of Commerce and Industry , Govt.of India)
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5876]
Dear Colleagues,

I am sorry to get back a bit late. I would like to share with you my experience from the Arab States and Northern Arabian Peninsula countries.

1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

From previous experience: In fact it depends on the type of surveys that will be undertaken.  In the cases of assessing the national capacity on biosafety, till now hard copies questionnaires were adopted. In some countries, sending the hard copies was followed by a reminder via email with another soft copy. The questionnaire included a mixture of open-ended and close-ended questionnaires and for sure this depends on the type of questions and sections of the survey. A face-to-face strategy would have been better in the cases I have handled especially when  a new topic (theme) is being surveyed.
Here I would mention that the having all questions close-ended with multiple choice  will make some restriction on elaborating on certain aspects of the survey -this is why this should be designed with a bit of cautious.

NB: If a pilot test phase prior to sending the questionnaire was executed-by this way close-ended with multiple choice would be best as the respondents will feel that it is easy to find there answer.

From experience on surveys not related to biosafety, the snow-ball approach with electronic format was a good experience with high engagement from respondents.

2. In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

In fact, the criteria for the selection of the respondents profile depends on:
1st: Survey itself
2nd: What aspect of biosafety we are tackling
3rd: Stakeholders and shareholders

For example: For research and Development aspects, the academic institutions, the national council for research, the government research institute, the council for development and research, etc.
For risk assessment and risk management: Researchers in academic institutes relying the rosters of experts in countries
not necessarily working on risk assessment and management but maybe involved in monitoring of biodiversity, etc. and also cooperative of farmers and agri-business people....

3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?

Yes, in one case we have sent surveys in Arabic/ English and Arabic/French. This would depend on the countries and the languages they adopt in their government agencies and in the academic institutions.
For example: in Lebanon  sending surveys in Arabic especially those which include scientific and technical words would not be at all appropriate and for sure an English or french version will be asked from the people in charge.


4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?

It would be better to have it at an early stage during the development of the regulatory framework where some countries decided after consultation to have lists of LMOs/GMOs with different risk levels. Tough for some GM products, survey or opinion poll (the latter would be suitable in here) would be required before even the field trials and especially with the local farmers and researchers.


5. In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?

This question is not clear for me -I would appreciate if it is possible to be made more clear.
posted on 2014-05-05 13:55 UTC by Dr. Elsa Sattout, Notre Dame University
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5889]
In the case of Cuba, the public participation in these topics is not developed, so the experiences are not significant. In our country there is a trend towards the confidence of the population in the authorities acting in their behalf. Nevertheless, some time ago an education work aimed at different sectors has been carried out, through the existence of a public awareness program responding the CP. Regarding surveys, some have been made addressed to technical sectors in the area of the public health and not directly related to LMOs but general topics on Biosafety. 
 
It is hoped to carry out specific surveys addressed to the sectors involved in the matter with the current LMOs education program. Cuba will carry out soon a national workshop on the communication to the public that will have as a topic, in fact, a debate on the most effective ways to transmit technical information to the population. In this workshop, it is planned to carry out a survey to the participants with the same questions that have been debated in this forum and the results that we obtain will be available in the BCH. The workshop will be attended by the authorities, the industry, the academic sector and the NGOs that have had most experience working with the public in Cuba.
posted on 2014-05-05 19:36 UTC by Mr. Juan Carlos Menéndez de San Pedro López, Cuba
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5890]
- In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

In our experience surveys are used in hard copies and include filling some squares; this point is important because although it has considerable access to electronic media, people have not developed the culture of participating processes filled surveys so for reliable information you should invest time and human resources to support specifically filling out surveys; another factor that should be mentioned is that when people do not have the frame of reference is not possible to have answers which enjoy a high quality required that these exercises need.

- In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

According to our experience, we believe that participants need is a multisectoral and interdisciplinary target groups (including government officials, NGOs and civil society) so they can be sufficiently representative to ensure further answers are chosen (and accurate) holistic analysis that is based on the technical quality of the information obtained.

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

We believe that if you want to portray the reality of the country in such a sensitive issue that is a priority surveys are handled formats attached to national native language since this is a guarantee that the opinions reflected faithfully remain; in the same context, it is of utmost importance if they are to translate these surveys into other languages (for example) that this translation is made by someone who knows the technical aspects that are addressed to the meaning and must be of response is the same regardless of the language you use is made.

- In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?

This should occur during the process that is being promoted in decision making as this will contribute to the integrity of the quality of the information obtained. The period must be invested according to the national stage go depending demanding (and compliance) of processes and administrative procedures.

- In what way are the main points synthesized and possibly integrated into outcomes of final decisions? Is there an evaluation mechanism (e.g. criteria to measure achievements)?

There are criteria to incorporate the information obtained to the decision-making process because as these are an open consultation are known to be a true reflection of reality; is necessary, however, to develop means of verification to identify the contributions that were generated under surveys a systematic way and appropriated under the needs being addressed and trying to solve.
posted on 2014-05-05 19:42 UTC by Lic. Jeremias Ezequiel Yanes, El Salvador
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5900]
1. In what format are surveys (e.g. questionnaires, opinion polls) principally made available: electronically (e.g. soft copies via e-mail); in hard copies; and open-ended or multiple choice (e.g. check boxes) questions; summarized simplified format or original technical format)?

Given the fact that most people in Bolivia don’t have access to Internet, it is complicated to obtain a significant opinion through online surveys. This is why surveys have to be designed for specific groups. Last year it was necessary to collect some information about technical capacity in some institutions and we had a good response. Our questions where clear and had a specific objective. Similar to what my colleague pointed out for question 1, surveys have to keep clear which group you have as a target. After some experiences with other topics, the background information has to be clear and available the whole time you apply a survey. If you simply reduce your survey to collect information about how people feel about certain LMO, then even if you have enough information, the results will always be biased to the rejection of the proposal, and even to the rejection of the risk analysis.

2. In your experience, what should the criteria be to select and engage participants for a balanced survey (e.g. selecting government officials, NGOs, private sector, local communities)?

It depends on what type of survey it will be applied. Participants of a survey that deals with LMO’s issues should have clear background information in order to answer the survey. Personally I agree with the procedure that Uruguay has. They publish the results of a Risk Analysis for certain LMO and society has one month to express any concerns about the process. This participation has to be backed up with reliable information, in order to count. Right now in we are trying to build a public database where people can have access to scientific publications about the topic and generate information in our language. The main obstacle is the low English literacy, even within the scientific community. Meanwhile most mass media publications about the topic are misleading and even tendentious.

3. Is it feasible to enable surveys in languages other than the official national language(s)?
It is feasible but time demanding, and given the limited human resources that we have at present, sometimes it is not possible to commit to this task.

As previously stated, there is a low english literacy in Bolivia, not to mention other languages. Also Bolivia has four official languages (Spanish, aymara, quechua an guaraní) and the constitution urges the use of all of them in official documents and consultations.

4. In your experience, at what point(s) in the decision-making process on LMOs should a survey take place (e.g. development of regulatory frameworks, field trials prior to or after making a decision on an import of an LMO)? What should the time period be for the survey?
This hasn’t been determined yet by Bolivian regulation, and it is a topic to include when developing the National Biosafety Framework.
posted on 2014-05-06 16:37 UTC by Sra. Cecilia Gonzalez, Bolivia (Plurinational State of)
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5916]
Hello everyone. I’m Ms.Praopan Tongsom ,Thailand CPB-NFP.
I’d like to begin my suggestion with the theme 2,Surveys, because ,in my opinion, survey should be the first step to get ideas of people or public, in general, in every aspect of GMOs  e.g. how much they know/concern about GMOs in their daily life as well as existing biosafety system, how much GMOs acceptable, etc.. The gathered information will tend us to set forum for debating, meeting, for specific issues and for each specific stakeholders/groups including to raise knowledge, awareness and understanding among people.
Questionaires designed by involved government agencies in form of multiple choices and simplified rather than technical format is the most suitable for surveying since they can be disseminated to public widely. While       opinion poll may needs media and/or poll institute to conduct the survey to be able to get mass people ,however, in Thailand, GMOs aspects doesn’t interest them much enough to raise these issues to conduct poll.
In my view, surveying need not to select participants to balance but should cover every group of people to participate. Certainly local communities as main of the Country ‘s citizen plus NGO may be more than involved governments and private sectors.
In my experience, problem of  surveying  on GMOs matters especially disseminating questionnaires is that very few people feed/send the questionnaires back . It needs mechanism for monitoring and convincing people.
Hope some of my comment will be useful for your further work on Article 23.
posted on 2014-05-08 05:59 UTC by Ms. Praopan Tongsom, Thailand
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#5994]
1.The investigations are in various formats:  questionnaire for the
students leading the studies of research and some time consultants.
The surveys are primarily led by the houses of press. 
2.  The investigations can be undertaken in the national languages.  They must
be addressed to the stakeholders in a balanced way. 
3.  The investigations can start as of the notification in order to know the
opinion of the public on the importation and the type of OGM the
4.results of the investigations can also be integrated into the
decisions bus if the fascinating parts are in majority against this
GMO.
posted on 2014-05-11 18:47 UTC by Mr. Comlan Marcel KAKPO, Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Habitat et de l'Urbanisme
RE: Theme 2: Surveys [#6015]
1. Les enquêtes sont dans des formats divers: questionnaire pour les étudiants conduisant les études de recherche et quelque fois les consultants. Les sondages sont essentiellement conduits par les maisons de presse.

2. Les enquêtes peuvent être entreprises dans les langues nationales. Elles doivent s’adresser aux parties prenantes de manière équilibrée.

3. Les enquêtes peuvent commencer dès la notification afin de connaître l’opinion du public sur l’importation et le type d’OGM.

4. Les résultats des enquêtes peuvent également être intégrés aux décisions car si les parties prenantes sont en majorité contre cet OGM.
posted on 2014-05-15 12:45 UTC by Mr. Comlan Marcel KAKPO, Ministère de l'Environnement, de l'Habitat et de l'Urbanisme