Credit: The Innovation Society, May 2016

Governance of nanomaterials: Scientific insights as a basis for regulation

UNITAR’s senior expert, Georg Karlaganis, attended the 10th International Nano-Authorities Dialogue, presenting on UNITAR’s activities, the work on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials as a SAICM emerging policy issue, and the SAICM governance process up to 2020 and beyond.

Georg’s presentation (in German)

The dialogue took place on 18 and 19 May 2016, at the invitation of the Federal Office for the Environment of Switzerland. More than 50 representatives of ministries, agencies, research institutes and companies from Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Switzerland addressed the topic "governance and regulation of nanomaterials". Diverse introductory presentations inspired discussions about the requirements and the need for future regulation of nanomaterials from different perspectives. The expectations of industry towards regulatory authorities were identified and measures for a common proceeding for a sustainable development of nanotechnologies were discussed. The Nano-Authorities Dialogue takes place on a rotational basis in the German speaking countries and is organised by The Innovation Society, St.Gallen.

Nano Roadmap 2020

In the final session of the workshop, working groups discussed options for regulatory action in light of the latest research results. The working groups supplemented and updated the 'Nano Roadmap 2020’ of the 2015 nano-authorities dialogue in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Clear needs for action were identified in the areas of ​​environmental and consumer protection, and occupational safety. Such proposed measures included, for example, a rapid transfer of the OECD test guidelines into the REACH regulation and therefore development of a central regulatory basis for nanomaterials. With regard to consumer protection, authorities should prioritise labelling, communication and regulation. In the area of ​​occupational health and safety, given the proliferation of nanomaterials, work should commence in advance of conclusive scientific facts and definitions. The focus should primarily be on employees, who are exposed to critical particles or supercritical exposure pathways. The objective evaluation of nano-specific data, methods and instruments is critical. In a subsequent plenary debate, the findings of the various working groups were analysed and correlated with the results of the Nano Roadmap 2020 from the 2015 Vaduz dialogue. The ‘Nano Roadmap 2020’ serves to advance discussions and as a guideline for the next Authorities Dialogue in 2017.


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