The conference brought togehter experts that are directly involved in the governance of nanotechnologies at the governmental level, in international organizations, in the industry and in non-governmental organizations. The presence and participation of representatives from emerging markets and producing countries, such as China, India and Korea will bring a truly global perspective to the proceedings.

The conference had three objectives:
(i) determining what is the applicable law, domestically and internationally
(ii) exploring what the regulatory framework should be
(iii) proposing governance models to achieve stakeholders’ objective

This conference was addressed to regulators, industry stakeholders, consumer groups, lawyers and academics.

Governments are still struggling to respond to the regulatory challenges raised by these new products and devices. Global trade in nanotech products also presents a range of regulatory issues that require international co-operation.

The program first offered a discussion of the existing domestic, transnational and international regulatory and governance frameworks. While the domestic regulation is primarily concerned with releasing safe products into the market place, transnational cooperation processes and international trade rules focus on facilitating the global commercialization of the products, fostering best practices world-wide and enhancing information-sharing to limit risks to life, health and the environment. The discussion pointed out the challenges, gaps and opportunities of the current framework and its ability to protect workers, companies, consumers and the global commons.

The discussion then engaged in a forward-looking exercise. Stakeholders in the public and private sectors were invited to delineate what type of governance would facilitate the safe and responsible development of nanotechnologies. In response, the final panel considered several regulatory models to address the challenges identified by stakeholders.

Finally, the program culminated with an interdisciplinary conversation bringing together scientists, ethicists and lawyers to discuss the normative underpinnings to nanotech regulation.

CLE credits are available for this conference for the state bars of California, New York, Maine, Florida and Pennsylvania (6 substantive credits and 1 ethics credit).