A study, in which the Balearic University (UIB) participated, shows that Spain is behind other European countries with regard to public participation in decision making by the administration in cases like food crises. This is one of the conclusions of the project which was directed by the professor of Philosophy and Science of the UIB, Jose Luis Lujan, and financed by the Balearic Ministry of Education and Science, which analysed the way the dangers of techological advance are changing the criteria for scientific action to benefit public health and environmental protection. According to the research, which was done between 2002 and 2005, the food crises in the past few years, such as mad cow disease, have produced general worry and a call for public administration bodies to listen to the public before introducing new laws. Among the techniques for collecting information and points of view from those potentially affected by dangers from advanced technology or science, are conferences and panels formed by inexpert citizens with an independent moderator, who can question specialists called before them. Other techniques for the participation of the people are public audiences with interested parties, opinion polls, parliamentary audiences, meetings with experts in the subject being debated, and an assessment committee made up of citizens. There is such a committee in Spain already, the Environmental Assessment Committee (CAMA), through which different environmental associations can put their points of view to the state administration.


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