21/01/2022

The CNDP and ANSES forge a partnership to better inform and involve the public

As part of their respective commitments at the service of high-quality public debate on environmental issues, the National Commission for Public Debate (CNDP) and the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) are entering into a partnership to improve the information provided to the public and support civic participation.

The health crisis we have been experiencing for almost two years now has highlighted the public's growing desire to better understand the health and environmental issues we are all facing. It has also brought to light two conflicting trends: on the one hand, high demand for scientific insights, and on the other, an increasing number of information sources and distrust of public institutions.

It was in this context that ANSES and the CNDP decided to engage in a renewable three-year partnership with three objectives:  

  • improve the information provided to the public as part of participatory procedures organised or supported by the CNDP, in light of established scientific knowledge and associated uncertainties;
  • strengthen dialogue and opportunities for public involvement within the scope of ANSES’s missions, especially when it receives requests regarding topics that raise questions or are controversial with the public;
  • jointly reflect on the role of scientific knowledge and expert opinions in public debate.

Under this partnership, the CNDP has agreed to advise ANSES with regard to any issues involving public information and participation. If requested by the Agency, the CNDP may also issue opinions and recommendations on how to further involve the public in ANSES's areas of activity.

ANSES, in return, agrees to advise and assist the CNDP in producing the scientific information made available to the public as part of public debates by mobilising, on a case-by-case basis, the scientific knowledge and expertise best suited to the topics at hand. 

Chantal Jouanno, President of the CNDP, explains that “this partnership will allow us to more effectively meet the expectations of the public, among whom there is growing demand for information that will enlighten them and enable them to form their own opinions. It will also provide us with the opportunity to jointly reflect on the role of scientific knowledge and expert opinions in public debate, which is a real concern at the moment”. 

Roger Genet, Director General of ANSES, affirms that “it is important to coordinate the Agency’s scientific expert appraisal missions with social debate, so that this scientific knowledge fuels public debate as fairly as possible, without replacing it. We expect this partnership with the CNDP to further our initiatives dedicated to dialogue and openness to society”.