OECD

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences, seek solutions to common problems and improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world. There are a number of OECD bodies which consider enabling technologies, particularly biotechnology, because of their wide application. The OECD bodies most closely relating to enabling technologies which the department is involved in are listed below:. The Department maintains a watching brief over the activities of the working parties.

Working Party on Biotechnology

The OECD Working Party on Biotechnology (WPB) is a subsidiary body of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy STP and develops policy advice on issues of science, research, technology and innovation related to biotechnology. The objective of the WPB is to assist the development, application and diffusion of innovative products, processes, infrastructure and services which contribute to sustainable economic growth, development and human welfare. It also advises on how innovation in the biosciences can contribute to addressing global challenges such as environmental degradation, food and water security, and global health.

The WPB has two subsidiary bodies: the Task Force on Industrial Biotechnology and the Task Force on Biomedicine and Health Innovation. The department has representation on the Working Party on Biotechnology and the Task Force on Industrial Biotechnology.

Working Party on Nanotechnology

The OECD Working Party on Nanotechnology (WPN) was established in March 2007 to advise upon emerging policy issues of science, technology and innovation related to the responsible development and use of nanotechnology. It is a subsidiary group of the OECD Committee for Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP).

Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies

From January 2015, the WPB and WPN will merge to form a new Working Party on Biotechnology, Nanotechnology and Converging Technologies (BNCT). The objective of the WPBNCT is to address policy issues related to biotechnology, nanotechnology and their convergence with other technologies [e.g. information and communications technologies]. The sectors covered by the Working Party are those most likely to influence or be affected by developments in these technologies, including health, manufacturing, environmental sustainability, the marine environment, food and agriculture.

Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials

The Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) was established in 2006 and focusses on the health, environmental and safety related aspects of manufactured nanomaterials. Representatives of the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) represent Australia on this working party, which enables Australia to access global data on HSE aspects of manufactured nanomaterials. Since the establishment of OECD's programme on the safety of manufactured nanomaterials, countries and participating organisations have provided updates of current activities, at the national and international level. The WPMN coordinates a manufactured nanomaterial testing programme, that Australia contributed to through a consortium of NMI, CSIRO, ANSTO, universities, and private nanomaterial suppliers.

Information from the WPMN programme will be useful for regulators and Government agencies in the development of risk evaluation and management strategies for manufactured nanomaterials and for getting international cooperation on safety standards.

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