Publication date: 23/04/2010


There is now significant policy and academic interest in the governance of science and technology for sustainable development. In recent years this has come to include a growing emphasis on issues of public understanding of science and innovative processes of deliberative and inclusive policy-making around controversial technologies such as nuclear power and agricultural biotechnology. Concern with such issues coincides with rising levels of interest in deliberative democracy and its relationship to the structures and processes of global governance. This article connects these two areas through a critical examination of ‘global’ deliberations about agricultural biotechnology and its risks and benefits.

It draws on an extensive survey concerned with the diverse ways in which a range of governments are interpreting and implementing their commitments under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety regarding public participation and consultation in order to assess the potential to create forms of deliberation through these means. The article explores both the limitations
of public deliberation within global governance institutions as well as of projects whose aim is to impose participation from above through international law by advocating model
approaches and policy ‘tool kits’ that are insensitive to vast differences between countries in terms of capacity, resources and political culture.

Resource type: Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)