This document reports on the discussions undertaken at the Conference “The Risk Governance of Nanotechnology: Recommendations for Managing a Global Issue” held at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue on the 6th and 7th of July 2006. Stakeholders from industry, government, research and civil society gathered to give feedback on the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC)White Paper1 on Nanotechnology Risk Governance and to explore how its recommendations could be implemented.
From the “Summary of Frame Two NGO Workshop” presented by yours truly (page 49 of paper version, page 51 of PDF):
Military offence applications are particularly concerning because, unlike nuclear arms, verification difficulties mean there is no clear point at which opponents reach stability in the process of escalation and proliferation. Existing arms treaties may not apply to nanotechnology-based weapons, and there are important intellectual property, commercial confidentiality, and national security issues involved in addressing this challenge…
Finally, while current attention is focused on near-term concerns, questions raised by Frame Two nanotechnologies are more difficult, particularly with respect to fourth-generation, atomically-precise manufacturing of macroscale products. The risk governance process must move faster to address longer-term political, military, and civil liberties issues in time.