Dr David Jukes, The University of Reading, UK

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Food Law News - EU - 2016

EFSA News Story, 15 June 2016

EFSA - 69th Management Board Meeting: Board adopts new stakeholder approach, takes stock of progress on transparency, discusses independence policy enhancement

The Management Board adopted EFSA’s stakeholder approach establishing new and transparent ways to enable broader participation of stakeholders in its work. The Board reviewed the implementation of EFSA’s Transparency and Engagement in Risk Assessment (TERA) project and discussed proposals to enhance the Authority’s Independence Policy.

During the meeting, EFSA Executive Director Bernhard Url thanked the five outgoing members of the Board – the current Chair Sue Davies plus Vice-Chair Piergiuseppe Facelli, Radu Roatiş-Cheţan, Jiri Ruprich and Tadeusz M. Wijaszka – for their efforts in ensuring good governance and strategic guidance at EFSA during their mandates. The Council will announce their replacements shortly.

Broaden stakeholder engagement

The Stakeholder Forum and the Stakeholder Bureau are the centrepieces of the new stakeholder engagement framework. These structures will build on the strong foundations established by the Stakeholder Consultative Platform and ensure the broadest possible representation and balance of stakeholders, including consumers, environmental and health NGOs, farmers, industry, distributors, practitioners and academia.

EFSA has revamped its approach in line with the objectives set out in the Authority’s Strategy 2020, such as increased transparency and public engagement in the scientific assessment process. It centres on three main initiatives that will make stakeholder engagement more effective and meaningful:

Sue Davies, Chair of the Management Board, said: “Increased stakeholder engagement and the wider review of how EFSA operates transparently reflect the Authority’s strong commitment to build on recent measures enabling stakeholders to provide input and see clearly how EFSA reaches its decisions. These initiatives, along with a further review of EFSA’s independence policy aim at maintaining excellence in its scientific work and public confidence in how it carries this out.”

Towards an “Open EFSA”

Board Members reviewed and welcomed EFSA’s progress in implementing the Transparency and Engagement in Risk Assessment (TERA) project. An impact assessment of 35 measures to increase transparency and engagement at every step in EFSA’s risk assessment processes enabled the Authority to conclude the TERA implementation plan.

Measures that will build on previous EFSA initiatives include: increased consultation with stakeholders throughout the risk assessment process; enhanced transparency in the establishment of scientific panels and working groups; increasingly open access to data; and transparency on the use of scientific methodologies and evidence in EFSA’s risk assessments. A third of the measures are already in place, and EFSA will implement the remaining measures over the next three years.

Enhancing EFSA’s approach to independence

The Board had an initial discussion about the upcoming review of EFSA’s 2011 policy on independence. Independence remains a top priority for EFSA and the Authority is looking at how its approach can be enhanced following the adoption of its Strategy 2020.

EFSA will reflect on the Management Board’s feedback and present a concept paper at its October 2016 meeting, with the aim of consulting publicly later in the year.

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