June 29, 2004

26 Governments Tiptoe Toward Global Nano Governance


On June 17-18 2010, a first intergovernmental dialogue on “Responsible Research and Development of Nanotechnology” convened in Washington with representatives from 26 countries. In his introductory remarks, Mike Roco of the US government’s National Science Foundation explained that the meeting was dedicated to the examination of broad societal issues that cannot be addressed by any single country. Roco asked: “How can we prepare our world for the emergence of nanotechnology?”1

“The reality is that it’s too late for governments to suggest they’re being pro-active. Hundreds of nanotech products are commercially available, countless more are in the pipeline, and there are no regulations explicitly targeting nanotechnology anywhere in the world,” said Pat Mooney, Executive Director of ETC Group.“ The US National Science Foundation now predicts that the global ‘nano’ market will tip $1 trillion in seven years. Why is it that governments can look only 3-5 years ahead when they’re talking about regulations and social impacts, but when those same governments talk about potential revenues they have a 10-20 year horizon? Remember, it takes at least 8 years to negotiate multilateral agreements. At this point, diplomats are already way behind.”


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