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9-Misc: University of Arizona plans confidence-building GE conference

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TITLE:  Confidence Building Measures for Biotechnology
SOURCE: Arizona State University, USA
DATE:   July 2002

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Confidence Building Measures for Biotechnology

The Center for the Study of Law, Science, and Technology at the Arizona 
State University College of Law and the Arizona Biomedical Institute are 
sponsoring a conference entitled Confidence-Building Measures for 
Biotechnology. The conference will be held on Friday, December 6, in Tempe, 

On-line Registration CONTACTS Andrew "Sandy" Askland Center Director 480-
965-2465 Gary Marchant Exec. Director & Assoc. 
Professor 480-965-3246

The concept of "confidence-building measures" (CBMs) is often used in 
international relations to refer to concrete, incremental measures 
agreeable to all parties that can be implemented relatively quickly to 
reduce tensions and build trust in a time of conflict. Such CBMs usually 
involve communication, constraint, transparency, and/or verification 
measures. CBMs are not intended to provide a comprehensive solution to a 
conflict, but rather to bring about a de-escalation in tensions and to 
build trust that can develop into a climate that is more conducive to 
negotiations and cooperation on a longer-term solution. CBMs have thus been 
described as "pragmatic steps toward ideal objectives.

The concept of CBMs may be useful for biotechnology. Biotechnology has the 
potential to provide many health, environmental, and economic benefits to 
society, but the realization of those benefits is hampered by public 
concern and mistrust of this developing technology. While the American 
public has not shown the widespread hostility to genetically modified (GM) 
products that has been experienced in Europe, public opinion polls 
consistently show a strong undercurrent of concern and lack of confidence 
in the American public.

While no comprehensive solutions to bridge completely the differences and 
disputes over GM products are on the horizon, there may be pragmatic CBMs 
available in the short-term that can reduce controversy and build trust, 
thereby creating an atmosphere more conducive to reaching consensus on 
longer-term and more permanent solutions. Potential CBMs for biotechnology 
may be offered from several different disciplines, including biotechnology 
science, regulatory policy, law, social and political science, behavioral 
sciences, risk communication, economics, and ethics. The objective of this 
conference will be to identify and critically analyze new and creative CBMs 
for biotechnology. Emphasis will be given to exploring concrete, innovative 
steps that are feasible and economic to implement and which can enhance 
consumer trust and confidence in biotechnology.

The Center for the Study of Law, Science and Technology is soliciting 
proposals for proposals on one or more potential CBMs for biotechnology for 
presentation at the conference. The Center will be in a position to fund 
the travel costs of a limited number of applicants who submit the most 
meritorious proposals. Interested persons should submit an abstract of 
their proposed presentation by August 1, 2002. For further information on 
the conference, to register to attend, or to submit an abstract, please 
contact: Dr. Gary Marchant, Executive Director of the Center for the Study 
of Law, Science and Technology, ASU College of Law, PO Box 877906, Tempe, 
AZ 85287-7906, or (480) 965-3246. The conference will 
be free of charge, but advance registration is required because of limited 


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