04/04/2022 0 mins

Dialogue and openness to society

Health issues are a source of both interest and concern for citizens. In the interests of transparency and a desire to interact with society, ANSES has adopted an approach based on information-sharing and dialogue on its work. To achieve this, it has created forums for exchange and dialogue, both at the governance level and during the conduct of its expert appraisal work.

The pillars of ANSES's openness to society

  • all its opinions and reports are made public on anses.fr;
  • the various stakeholders are represented on the Agency's Board of Administrators and in its thematic steering committees;
  • dialogue committees provide a forum for discussion on controversial topics such as radiofrequencies, nanotechnologies, plant protection products and biotechnologies;
  • hearings, consultations and presentations of its work to stakeholders are organised as part of the expert appraisals;
  • ANSES signed the charter on openness to society in 2011, and in 2020 renewed its commitment along with seven other public partner organisations.

Stakeholders and ANSES

A stakeholder is a person or organisation that can influence, be influenced by, or feel influenced by a decision or activity. In all its activities, ANSES interacts with associations (representing citizens, consumers, patients or victims, or working for environmental or animal protection), professional organisations including industry representatives, employee unions and agricultural unions. Public institutions and elected officials, as well as scientific experts, laboratories and technical institutes, are also among the Agency's natural partners. 

ANSES has been a pioneer in this field right from its inception, forging links with stakeholders on emerging societal issues such as environmental health and animal welfare. Dialogue improves the Agency's ability to understand societal concerns and makes its expert appraisals more robust as they then take better account of society's doubts and questions about different types of exposure and their effects.

Régine Fraysse-Boutrais
Sociologist, responsible for openness to society

Dialogue committees and platforms

The "Radiofrequencies and health" dialogue committee 

This committee, which was set up in 2011, brings together representatives of associations, employee trade unions, mobile phone operators and manufacturers, along with a representative of elected officials (French mayors) and of the French National Frequency Agency, in order to ensure a balance between the interests represented. They discuss the state of knowledge, health risk assessment and research needs in the area of radiofrequencies

Find out more about the "Radiofrequencies and health" dialogue committee 

The "Nanomaterials and health" dialogue committee  

The purpose of this dialogue committee is to discuss the state of knowledge and research needs, health risk assessment methodologies and current scientific debates on the hazards and health issues associated with exposure to nanomaterials. It brings together representatives of associations and employee trade unions, companies and industry federations, with a view to ensuring that multiple interest groups are represented.

Find out more about the "Nanomaterials and health" dialogue committee 

Platform for dialogue on the issuing of marketing authorisations for plant protection products

This body brings together a wide range of agricultural stakeholders and meets around three times a year. It is a key forum for discussing all issues relating to the assessment of plant protection products and their impact on health and the environment. It brings together some 50 participants and is open to more than 150 organisations: companies, professional federations, associations, technical institutes, employee unions and agricultural unions working in the field of plant protection products, who have expressed an interest in taking part in and contributing to the discussions. 

Find out more about the platform for dialogue on plant protection products
 

Stakeholder hearings and public consultations

Hearings and presentations of the expert appraisal work

In the course of its risk assessment work, ANSES's expert groups may be required to hold hearings with stakeholders in order to gather information from the field and additional technical or organisational knowledge, but also to address their questions. On certain topics with a strong impact on society, the Agency organises presentations of its opinions and reports to the stakeholders concerned, in order to explain how the work has been carried out and the recommendations made to the public authorities. 

Public consultations

On complex, controversial subjects, ANSES may submit some of its work for public consultation, in order to gather comments from the scientific and medical community, association representatives, professional organisations, or any person involved in the subject. All contributions received are methodically analysed and commented on by the Agency in its final published report and when drafting its recommendations.