In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Congress on Risks for Public Health & the Environment

Posted by seumasach on February 18, 2012

May 16th 2012 – May 18th 2012
Polytechnic University, Madrid

Context of the Conference

The current methods and institutions for  setting science agendas, funding research,  directing innovations and assessing their risks are not able to cope with the challenges posed by the complexities, uncertainties and ignorance about the systems that characterise our current environmens. Understanding and managing our inter-linked  technological, biological, ecological and socio-political systems requires new approaches and paradigms.

It is essential that there are scientific concepts and research programmes which are  independent of  the interests and influence of the developers and promoters of current and new technologies. The choice of technological pathways and the assessment and managemnt of their hazards should be opended up to wider groups of stakeholders from outside the narrow elites who currently define and dominate these activities.

Scientific data and knowledge is usualy confined to closed networks. It is necessary to bring together the different types of knowledge existing in different networks and to promote better communication between scientists, professionals, public interest groups and policy makers. Solutions to the current social, economic and environmental  crises require transdisciplinary approaches that can embrace both complexity and the needs, knowledges and interests of  different societal groups.

Goals of the Conference

Increase public and political awareness of social, economic and environmental risks of current and new technologies and discuss effective means for e.g. technology and risk assessments, product approvals, and liability schemes.

Provide a forum for open public debate where experts from different fields can address the following questions and issues:

  • What  are the public health and environment risks of technologies such as modern biotechnology, nanotechnology, electromagnetic fields, and novel chemicals?
  • What are the private and societal needs that are addressed by these technologies?
  • Which are the current policies and procedures for shaping and assessing  these technologies?
  • Which are the main barriers to avoiding or minimizing risks and how can they be overcome?
  • How can the precautionary principle be best applied?
  • Why is there a lack of comprehensive and strong policies and institutions that could better support public interests?
  • How can the marginalization of independent research, neglect of its results, and the undue influence of vested interests that inhibit change for the public good be overcome?

Create an Action Plan with concrete and realistic activities to support the changes needed, including changes in scientific paradigms and  practices.and in the control of technological choices.



The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) brings together independent scientific expertise to develop public-good knowledge for the critical assessment of existing and emerging technologies. The objective of ENSSER is the advancement of public-good science and research for the protection of the environment, biological diversity and human health against adverse impacts of new technologies and their products.


The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union. Its task is to provide sound, independent information on the environment. The EEA is a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public. Currently, the EEA has 32 member countries.


The Health Defense Organisation (HDO) aims to raise public awareness on the risks of technologies, substances and products that surround us and to strengthen European public policies to protect both people’s health and the environment. It works with scientists, doctors, NGOs and other similar groups to achieve the democratization of science. We work with more than 27 organizations in 12 European countries.


National Supporters

ISTAS (Instituto Sindical de Trabajo, Ambiente y Salud)

The technical Institute of Work, Environment and Health (ISTAS) is an autonomous foundation promoted by CCOO trade union. It aims to promote social programmes and activities to improve working conditions, the protection of the environment and the health of workers in Spain.

CIMA (Cientificos por el Medio Ambiente)

‘Scientists for the environment’’ is an independent association founded in 2003 statewide. It is composed of scientists, technicians and researchers who work in all disciplines of natural and social sciences. It focuses and analises our contemporary system of science and technology (Science and Technology), its enormous power, which makes everything – including ourselves – and its transforming capacity. CIMA partners we are bound by a common awareness of our socio ecological responsibility, and willing to protect the environment and diversity (both biological and cultural) as well as promoting public health and sustainability.

OSE (Observatory of Sustainability in Spain)

The Observatory of Sustainability in Spain (OSE) is an independent body, established on February 28, 2005, as a result of the collaboration between the Ministry of Environment and Rural and Marine Biodiversity Foundation and the General Foundation of the University of Alcalá. Its mission is to stimulate social change towards sustainability by providing the best information available and make it available to society, policy makers and the promotion of public participation.

European Supporters

HEAL (Health and Environment Alliance)

HEAL is the leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union. We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. As a diverse network of over 65 international and national not-for-profit organisations of citizens, patients, and health professionals, plus environmental groups and public health institutes, HEAL is the leading coalition of environment and health organisations working at the level of the European Union (EU). Our widespread membership allows us to also work at the international, national and local levels.


ClientEarth is an organisation of activist lawyers committed to securing a healthy planet.We work in Europe and beyond, bringing together law, science and policy to create pragmatic solutions to key environmental challenges.


Day 1

12:30 – 13:30 Registration and welcome buffet.

13:30 – 14:00 Opening

  • Prof. Dr. Javier Uceda Antolín. Rector. The Technical University of Madrid (UPM)
  • Prof. Dr. Antonio Notario Gómez, Director, E.T.S. Forestry Engineering


  • Hartmut Meyer, ENSSER
  • David Gee,  EEA,
  • Irina Rodriguez de la Flor, HDO

14:00 – 14:15 Inherent logic of HT GE crops and bad policy choices?

Roundup Ready Agriculture in Argentina.

  • Dr. Angelika Hilbeck (Chairperson, ENSSER, Switzerland)

14:15 – 15:45 Roundup Ready Agriculture in Argentina

Analysing the ‘package’ of GE crops, soy bean production, pesticide sprays and export commodities.

  • Prof. Dr. Walter Pengue, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina,

Overview about GE soy Agriculture in Argentina – Agro-ecological effects.

  • Prof. Dr. Andres E. Carrasco, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina

Health implications of glyphosate and pesticide dominated agriculture – Medical research aspects.

  • Prof. Dr. Gilles-Eric Seralini, University of Caen, France

Health implications of Roundup and requirements for health safety testing  of HR crop plants – molecular and biosafety aspects.

  • Dr. Medardo Avila Vázquez, Médicos de Pueblos Fumigados, Argentina

Health implications of glyphosate and pesticide dominated agriculture – Clinical and societal aspects.

15:45 – 16:30 Coffee & Tea break

16:30 – 18:30  VIP Panel Discussion of the Argentinean Case Study and Goals of Conference 

  • José Bové, MEP, Vice Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Ana Mato, Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality
  • Miguel Arias Cañete, Minister of Agriculture Food and the Environment
  • Domingo Jimenez Beltrán, Founder of OSE and former Director of EEA
  • Dr. Henry Dahl, Inter-American Bar Foundation
  • Simon Birkett, CEO of the Campaign for Clean Air in London

18:30 – 19:30 Open debate with spanish interpretation

19:30 – 20:00 Conclusions of Day 1 (Christine von Weizsäcker, ENSSER, Germany)

Day 2

09:15 – 09:30 Introduction

09:30 – 11:50 Horizontal Issues Session

Law and Policy Frameworks for Science and Technology Assessment.

  • James Thornton, CEO ClientEarth, Belgium
    Aarhus Convention: access to justice, access to participation & information
  • David Gee, EEA, Denmark
    Precautionary principle and early warning.
  • Prof. Ildefonso Hernandez Aguado, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Spain
    Toxic Trespass / Compensation of victims.
  • Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, ETH Zürich, Switzerland
    Integrity of independent science for the public good at risk.
  • Claire Robinson, Earth Open Source, UK
    EU debate on independent science and risk assessment.

Open Debate & Conclusions.

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 13:30 Coffee, tea and fruit

13:30 – 15:30 Vertical Issues Workshop 1

Chemicals & Pesticides.

  • Dr. Lisette Van Vliet, HEAL, Brussels
    Introduction into EU law and policy framework on chemicals & pesticides.
  •  Dr. András Székács, Academy of Sciences, Hungary
    (Eco) toxicological problems regarding pesticides, their chronological s
    ummary and main examples.
  • Dr. Nicolas Olea, University of Granada, Spain
    Bisphenol A & other endocrine disruptors.
  • Dr. Miquel Porta, IMIM – Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain
    Number of Persistent Organic Pollutants detected at high concentrations in the general population.

Open Debate & Conclusions

15:30 – 16:00 Coffee & tea break

16:00 – 18:00 Vertical Issues Workshop 2


  • Vito Buonsante, ClientEarth, Belgium
    Introduction into EU law and policy framework.
  • Prof. Dr. Juliane Filser, University of Bremen, Germany
    Risk Assessment of Nanoparticles – between Details and Pragmatism.
  • Prof. Dr. Mercy W. Kamara, Roskilde University, Denmark
  • Prof. Dr. Vyvyan Howard, University of Ulster, UK

Open Debate & Conclusions

18:00 – 18:30 Coffee & tea break

18:30 – 20:30 Vertical Issues Workshop 3

Electro-Magnetic Fields.

  • Alex Swinkels, The International EMF Alliance (IEMFA), The Netherlands
    Introduction into EU law and policy Framework on EMF.
  • Prof. Dr. Yury Grigoriev, Chairman, Russian National Committee on Non-ionizing Radiation Protection, Russia
    Mobile communication and the health of the population: risk assessment, social and ethical problems. The Russian view
  • Dr. Mª Jesus Azanza, University of Zaragoza, Spain

Open Debate & Conclusions

Day 3

09:00 – 09.15 Introduction

09:15 – 11:00 Policy workshops to develop Action Plan (8 groups: 4 vertical & 4 horizontal topics)

11:00 – 12:00 Presentation of the Draft Action Plan in Plenary Session by eight conference board members

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 13:30 Coffee, tea and fruit

Launch of EEA publication “Late lessons from early warnings. Volume 2”

13:30 – 14:00 Introduction: The challenges of the new publication

  • Domingo Jimenez Beltrán, Founder of OSE
  • Dr. Angelika Hilbeck, Director ENSSER

14.00 – 16.00 Chapter presentations

Presentation Commentator
Bisphenol A and harm to children Dr. Andreas Gies Dr. Nicolas Olea
Mercury pollution of M. Bay and beyond Dr. José Tarazona Dr. András Székács
Nanotechnology Dr. Stefan Foss Hansen Dr. Vyvyan Howard
Genetically modified organisms Dr. David Quist Dr. Gilles-E Seralini
The pill and feminized fish David Gee  Dr. Juliane Filser
Towards better victim compensation and protection of early warning scientists David Gee Prof. Henry Dahl

16.00 – 16.30 Coffee & Tea Break

16.30 – 18.30 Chapter presentations

Presentation Commentator
Governance of innovation and risks Prof. Dr. Bryan Wynne Dr. Mercy Kamara
EMF Prof. Dr. Yury Grigoriev Dr. Mª Jesus Azanza
Access to Justice James Thornton Vito Buonsante
DBCP pesticide and male infertility Dr. Miquel Porta Dr. Nicolas Olea
Knowledge into action David Gee Dr. Hartmut Meyer
Cost of inaction David Gee Simon Birkett
NGO response   Dr. Lissette Van Vliet Alex Swinkels

18.30 – 19.00 Open Debate

19.00 – 19.30 Closure

21.00 – 23.00 Conference Closure Dinner

Register information

Key Dates

  • Registration Deadline: 30th  April 2012
  • Reduced fees Deadline: 16th  April 2012
  • Early Registration Deadline: 16th  April 2012

Registration Fees

 Early (Friday 16th April)  Late (After 16th April) On Site
Non Members €350 €450 €475
Reduced fee (students) €150 €175 €200
Organiser´s Members €150 €150 €175

The registration fee includes:

  • Attendance to all sessions
  • Delegate bag and meeting material
  • Morning and afternoon refreshment breaks and lunch
  • Attendance at the Welcome Reception
  • The non member rates includes one year’s membership to HDO for 2012 at no additional charge (usual membership fee is €36 per annum for individuals).

*Registration does not include the Conference Closure Dinner. Tickets can be purchased for a fee of €35.00 per delegate at time of registration subject to availability. Accompanying person tickets can be purchased also for a fee of €35.00 subject to availability.

Please note that accommodation is not included in the registration fee. Register here

Terms and Conditions of Registration

Before proceeding with your registration, please read the following terms and conditions carefully:

Notifications of cancellations should be made in writing and sent to the conference organisers (Foundation Vivosano). Substitutions can be made at any time. If you have been invoiced but not paid the fees, you are still liable to pay the cancellation charges below:

Up to and including 1st April 2011 registration fee will be refunded less £35 administration fee.

After 1st April 2011 no refunds on registration fees will be made.

No shows will not be refunded.

Reduced fees will apply to Organisers members only.

Student fees will apply to full time students only that can provide evidence.

Travel Information


All foreign nationals entering and staying on Spanish territory must be in possession of a valid passport/entry and/or Visa, unless you are EU citizen or exempt from this requirement. Please contact the Spanish Embassy in your country of residence for more information on Visa requirements for travelling to Spain.


Madrid offers a full range of hotels, in all categories. The conference takes place near the city centre, in the university area (Mocloa/Arguëlles/Ciudad Universitaria/Metropolitano).

Some hotels nearby the conference area:


Most international flights go directly to Madrid-Barajas International Airport. The city centre is easily accessible by public transport.

For more information:

Public transport

Madrid has an excellent public transport system. The conference venue can be easily accessed by underground and metro. For more information visit:

Visiting Madrid

Madrid-Barajas Airport Tourist Office (Council and Regional Government of Madrid).
Terminal 1 (Arrivals hall), Terminal 2 (Arrivals hall) and Terminal 4 (Arrivals. Baggage reclaim 10 and 11), 28042 Madrid.
Telephone: 913 058 656 / 902 100 007.
Fax: 913 054 195.

Madrid city information: 915 881 636 (phone), 914 802 041 (fax).

Plaza Mayor Tourist Centre.
Plaza Mayor, 27 (Salón de Columnas de la Casa de la Panadería), 28012 Madrid.
Telephone: 915 881 636.
Fax: 914 802 041.
Opening hours: 9:30 to 20:30.

Tourism, leisure and sport. Region of

Madrid Leisure and Culture:

Tourism in Spain:



All conference materials and scientific presentations will be in English. Roundtables might be conducted in English and Spanish.

Presentations will be translated in Spanish.

Contact Information

Fundación Vivo Sano-HDO
C/ Principe de Vergara 36, 6º D. 28001 Madrid.
Tel: 91 299 94 11


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