In what ways might the interests of local individuals and communities at proposed testing sites be taken into account?
The World Health Organization has recommended that mechanism for community deliberation and authorization should be determined by the community itself according to its norms.
- Consent: Field testing of genetic biocontrol technologies are guided by the widely recognized informed consent goal of protecting the interests of those who will be affected by the research. According to international ethics standards, individual informed consent will be a pre-requisite when personally identifiable information or biological specimens will be collected in the course of trials. For other activities, some form of community-level permission should be obtained to proceed according to conditions negotiated during the engagement process. Testing plans will be overseen by an institutional or national ethics committee (or review board), whose role is to protect the rights and welfare of research participants.
- Co-development: Co-development and knowledge integration are increasingly recognized as critical to advancement of new products. Co-development is envisioned as a process including input from the community at the proposed field site, allowing opportunity for community members to ask questions and engage in dialog with researchers, and to make suggestions or express concerns.
- Risk assessment: Risk and/or impact assessments also are expected to include community concerns and socioeconomic risks, such as any potential negative impact on basic living conditions, social structure, public health, or livelihood. Regulatory: Public consultation is a requirement for approval of activities involving GMOs in most country legislation.
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