Welcome to this conference sponsored by the OECD Co-operative Research Programme
Decision Making and Science – The Balancing of Risk Based Decisions that Influence Sustainability of Agricultural Production
The idea behind the conference was borne out of the recognition that current levels of human population and use of biotic and abiotic resources are without precedent. New technologies have transformed everyday life and enabled the development of a closely coupled global economy. However, many environmental and economic decisions do not properly consider the close link between the economy, society and the biophysical world. As a consequence, decisions framed with the best of intentions often have unintended consequences.
In many regards decision making is done in the context of an understanding of risk, either directly measured and assessed or perceived, and in the context of an understanding of uncertainty according to the precautionary approach.
Our aim is to explore this by considering the role of science in policy making through the lens of risk-based decision making and then focus on the specific case issue of GM crops. This technology provides us with an excellent opportunity to consider the role of science in a decision making process that is strongly influenced by a range of perceptions and competing agendas.
Discussion will range across a number of aspects of our understanding of how we assess, manage, mitigate and communicate risk. We will consider these in the context of the lessons learned from other areas such as crop protection, native species conservation (including impacts from invasive species) and the broader considerations of biosecurity research. Additionally, as a case study the conference program will consider crops that are tolerant to herbicides.
The objective of the conference is to bring leading researchers together with recognised policy makers to consider ways to better characterise our understanding of risk in the context of decision making. However, the common goal is to achieve long term sustainable agricultural production.