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Asunto:[LEA] (en ingles) "Novedoso" metodo de discutir sobre biotecnologia
Fecha:Viernes, 3 de Noviembre, 2000  08:28:58 (-0400)
Autor:Jose Rafael Leal <trastor>

"Novedoso" metodo de discutir acerca de biotecnologia

Traduccion ligera:

""Consensus" means that the
panel works through open discussion, but their verdict on the
key questions need not be completely unanimous."
(" 'Consenso' significa que el panel trabaja atraves de discusiones
abiertas, pero su veredicto en las cuestiones clave no necesariamente tiene
que ser completamente unanime")

"One reason for consensus conferencing, say
organizers, is to prove that lay people can make sense of
complicated technical issues when given the time and
resources to do so."
"Una de las razones para la conferencia de consenso, dicen los
organizadores, es probar  que la gente comun puede hacerse con el sentido de
cuestiones tecnicas complicadas cuando se les da tiempo y recursos
suficientes para hacerlo"

Jose Rafael Leal



ISB News Report
November 2000


.pdf version at

To hyperlink email: mailto:isb@...

"Consensus Conference" Helps Public Debate Biotechnology



How might the views of ordinary people be brought into public
debates about controversial, technical topics such as food
safety and biotechnology? Perhaps through a concept called
a "consensus conference." A consensus conference is an
experiment in democracy that reintegrates citizens back into
the decision-making process about controversial areas of
science and technology. Through the use of rigorous rules, a
consensus conference aims at an ideal in which a given topic
is explored on the basis of the finest available knowledge and
the widest possible breadth of views, and discussed in open
and unbiased dialogue.

This dialogue takes place between two panels. One is a panel
of citizens, a fair cross-section of society, previously
uninformed about the topic, but with a range of attitudes and
values toward it. The other is a panel of experts, from a range
of disciplines (including opinion leaders in the community),
and also with a range of different and sometimes conflicting

The aim of the consensus conference is to bridge the gap
between citizens, experts, and decision-makers (whether
these be in government, science, industry, and so on). The
aim of the citizen panel's report is to contribute to informing
decision-makers about citizens' views on, and attitudes to, new
technologies-in the hope that citizens will come to be
regarded as equal and necessary partners in the
decision-making process.

Typically, 10-16 citizens are chosen to be on the lay panel.
The panel prepares for the conference during intensive
briefing sessions and decides on their key questions. The
conference is designed to answer these key questions, with at
least one panelist assigned to argue for, and one against, the
topic of each question. During the three-day conference,
which is open to the public, the lay panel hears from the
speakers, asks follow-up questions, then retires like a jury to
produce their written report. "Consensus" means that the
panel works through open discussion, but their verdict on the
key questions need not be completely unanimous.

The final report expresses the panel's expectations, concerns,
and recommendations. It is directed to parliamentarians and
policy-makers, scientists, industry, media, and the general
public. One reason for consensus conferencing, say
organizers, is to prove that lay people can make sense of
complicated technical issues when given the time and
resources to do so.

Idea originated in US, perfected in Denmark
The consensus conference idea actually originated in the
United States about 20 years ago, when "technology
assessment" panels were brought together to decide how new
medical technologies should be used. But this was a case of
reaching consensus among experts. It wasn't until the mid
1980s, in Denmark, that the idea of involving lay people

Nowadays, the introduction of lay voices into the consensus
conference has become its principal distinguishing feature.
Norway, the Netherlands, the United States, France, the
United Kingdom, and New Zealand have all organized one or
more consensus conferences or similar debates. Canada had
its first consensus conference just before Australia's (it was
also about biotechnology in food-in fact, that's been a very
popular subject for consensus conferences). Denmark is the
country in which citizen panels have the most influence-here,
each consensus conference is organized by a government
department (the Danish Board of Technology). The
conferences take place in Parliament house and routinely
feed into government policy and legislation.

Australian Biotech Consensus Conference
Australia's first such conference took place in March, 1999 in
Canberra's Old Parliament House. Organization of Australia's
first consensus conference was kick-started by the Australian
Consumers' Association, who had been lobbying for labeling
of genetically modified foods for several years. The
Consumers' Association had also been interested in trying out
the consensus conference idea. Senior Policy Officer Carole
Renouf had seen it in operation overseas and thought it would
work well in Australia.

Because of their previous involvement in the issue, the
Consumers' Association asked the Australian Museum, a
relatively neutral party (similar to National Geographic), to
convene the conference. The Museum gathered together a
steering committee to guide the process. Members of the
steering committee came from a mixed bag of scientific
organizations, universities, government departments,
environmental groups, and consumer groups. A professional
facilitator was employed to run the sessions.

So-called "ordinary" Australians, who didn't even necessarily
know what a gene was before they participated, took part in
the conference. The market research company employed to
recruit the lay panel were required to select a group consisting
of 14 people reflecting a distribution of demographics, gender,
age, education, occupation, and geographic location,
consistent with the Australian population (as per the 1996
census). The panel also included a variety of points of view on
genetically modified foods.

A group of experts was called upon to answer piercing
questions posed by the lay panel. Each expert had only 15
minutes to answer a specific question, devised by the lay
panel and given to them in advance. At least one "pro" and
one "anti" speaker-again, chosen by the lay
panel-responded to each question. Not surprisingly, some of
their views were diametrically opposite. Following an intense
three days, the lay panel presented their final consensus in
the form of a written report. Recommendations were given on
10 different facets of gene technology in the food chain:
Regulations; Processes of Decision-making; Science and
Risk; Environment and Health; Alternatives to Gene
Technology; Ethics and Morality; Multinational Corporations;
International Conventions; Public Awareness and
Participation; and Labeling and Choice.

Several months after the Consensus Conference, the
Australian government announced that it would set up a new
body, Biotechnology Australia, to coordinate the regulation of
gene technology. Broader public consultation also began
following the Australian Consensus Conference.

See the following links on the Internet for more information
about the Australian Consensus Conference: ;


Australian Museum, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Edited by Tracy Sayler (tsayler@... ) for ISB
News Report.


ISB News Report
207 Engel Hall
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA 24061

The material in this News Report is compiled by NBIAP's Information
Systems for Biotechnology, a joint project of USDA/CSREES and the
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. It does not
necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or of
Virginia Tech. The News Report may be freely photocopied or otherwise
distributed without charge.

Ruth Irwin, Editor (mailto:rirwin@...)

To have the News Report automatically emailed to you, send an email
message to mailto:news@... and type subscribe
newsreport [your name] in the message section. Do not include a
signature file or additional text. To unsubscribe, send email to
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name] in the message section, or email mailto:isb@... with your request.
Connect to for internet access to ISB News
Reports, textfiles, and databases.

Information Systems for Biotechnology, 207 Engel Hall, Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, tel:
540-231-2620, fax: 540-231-2614, email: mailto:isb@...




El Señor [Buda] replicó al Venerable Sariputra:
"En alguna aldea, ciudad, mercado de pueblo,
distrito de condado, provincia, reino, o capital,
vivía un dueño de casa, viejo, avanzado en años,
decrépito, débil de salud y fuerza, pero rico,
acaudalado, y acomodado.  Su casa era una
grande, extensa y alta, y era vieja, siendo
construída hacía mucho tiempo.  Esta era habitada
por muchos seres vivientes, como cien, doscientos,
trescientos, cuatrocientos o quinientos. Y tenía
una sola puerta nada más.  El techo estaba cons-
truído de paja, las terrazas ya se habian caído, las
fundaciones estaban podridas, las paredes y el friso,
estaban en avanzado estado de deterioro. De pronto
un gran relampago de fuego cayó, y la casa empezó
a arder por todos lados.  Y el hombre tenía tantos
hijos jóvenes, cinco, o diez, o veinte, y él, por si
mismo, salió de la casa".
"Cuando ese hombre vio su propia casa arder toda
con aquella gran masa de fuego, le dio miedo y tembló,
su mente se agitó, y él pensó para si mismo: 'Yo, es
verdad, he sido lo suficientemente competente para
correr por la puerta afuera, y para escapar de mi casa
en llamas, rápida y seguramente, sin ser tocado o
quemado por esa gran masa de fuego. ¿Pero que hay
de mis hijos, mis jóvenes muchachos, mis hijos pe-
queños?. Ahí, en esta casa en llamas, ellos juegan,
hacen deporte, y se entretienen ellos mismos con
todo tipo de juegos. Ellos no saben que esta vivienda
está en fuego, no lo entienden, no lo perciben, no le
prestan atención, y entonces no sienten ninguna agi-
tación.  A pesar de estar amenazados por este gran
fuego, en contacto cercano rudamente con tanto daño,
no prestan atención a sus peligros, y no hacen esfuerzo
para salir' ".

--De El Saddharmapundarika, en Escrituras Budistas.


¿Para quién canto yo entonces?
si los humildes nunca me entienden
si los hermanos se cansan
de oir las palabras que oyeron siempre
si los que saben no necesitan
que les enseñen
si el que yo quiero todavía está
dentro de tu vientre.

   La , ra , ra ,ra , ra.........

Yo canto para esa gente
porque también soy uno de ellos
Ellos escriben las  cosas
y yo les pongo melodía y verso
si cuando gritan vienen los otros
y entonces callan
si sólo puedo ser más honesto
que mi guitarra

    La , ra , ra , ra , ra .........

Y yo canto para usted
el que atrasa los relojes
el que ya jamás podrá cambiar
y no se dió cuenta nunca
que su casa se derrumba

--SUI GENERIS (Argentina)

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