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NGOs call on new Commission not to appoint a single Chief Scientific Advisor

Over 20 NGOs have intensified their efforts to persuade the President elect of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker not to appoint a single chief scientific adviser (CSA) when he takes office on 1st November this year. The NGOs claim that the EU needs more diverse expertise than a single person can provide. In a letter sent recently to the new Commission President, the NGOs claim that by having one CSA advising the European Commission, the quality of scientific work being carried out across the institution could be undermined. Many aspects of science are well understood, but in many areas of great controversy the science is still subject to great uncertainty and dispute. Since first writing in July, the original nine environmental and health groups behind the original letter, Greenpeace, CHEM Trust, Health and Environmental Alliance and PAN Europe, have attracted another 19 signatories. The letter is motivated by concerns surrounding the transparency of the role of the current CSA, who the NGOs claim may have gone beyond scientific advice into policy and point to suggestions she has called for a review of the precautionary principle. However, UK campaign group Sense about Science which organised a widely-backed letter of support of the present CSA, Professor Anne Glover (pictured right), in the wake of the NGOs’ first campaign letter, said she had been a very public figure since she had taken up office and was a clear advocate of transparency underlining that the link between science and policy – and how uncertainty is understood and acted on – are key issues for any government or similar organisation.

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Photo: Security and Defence Agenda

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Issue 36