Fora in Belgium
New stimuli for the debate on genetically modified food - nieuwe impulsen voor het debat over genetisch gewijzigd voedsel
On request of the Flemish Parliament, the Flemish Institute for Science and Technology Assessment (Vlaams Instituut voor Wetenschappelijk en Technologisch Aspectenonderzoek (viWTA)) organised a public forum on genetically modified food. From the 2000 randomly contacted citizens of the Flemish part of Belgium, 15 committed and interested citizens with different backgrounds were selected as the panel. During two introductory weekends the particpating citizens were prepared for their task. They learned about the technology and its possibilities, examined the potential questions and determined who should be invited to answer them. Much attention was devoted to introductions, co-operation and the atmosphere in the group. The panel was coached by a professional facilitator and by the project management. The third weekend was held on 24-26 May 2003 in Brussels. During the meeting experts were invited to answer the questions of the citizens and to discuss. At the end of the public forum, the participants presented their advice and report to the President of the Flemish Parliament in the presence of the Flemish media. A stakeholders meeting will be held on 15 September 2003 in the Flemish Parliament.
On request of the Federal Minister for Consumer interests, Health and Environment and the Federal Service of Public Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, the Foundation for Future Generations (La Fondation pour les Générations Futures), with the assistance of the Consultant M.O.I.SE mediations organised a public forum on the deliberate release of GMOs in the field respectively in Gembloux (Wallonia) and Beernem (Flanders). The mean idea was to determine which criteria need to be taken into account for authorisation. From the almost 400 randomly chosen citizens contacted, 7 participated in the forum of Gembloux and 10 to the forum of Beernem. After 3 evenings meetings during which they exchanged their interrogations and ideas about GMOs, they determined gradually the subjects they wanted to study further and the experts/stakeholders they wanted to hear. During the weekends of 12 April 2003 (Gembloux) and 26 April 2003 (Beernem) experts were invited to answer the questions of the participating citizens and to discuss. The final advice and report of the citizens were presented to the Federal Minister and other involved stakeholder.
The 'Koning Boudewijn Foundation' organised a public forum on genetic testing. In the period of January - March 2003, 30 laypeople (15 from Flanders and 15 from Wallonia) from 6000 randomly chosen Belgian citizens worked together for 3 weekends to develop a citizens' advice on genetic testing. The participating citizens were assisted by professional coaches and translators and had the oppertunity to discuss with experts. During the third weekend (28-29 March 2003), a number of experts answered the panel's questions during a public meeting. On 31 March 2003 the panel presented their advice to the public and the media.