SEHN

Visionary Science, Ethics, Law and Action in the Public Interest

Recording Available: Community Right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Carolyn Raffensperger

The presentation by Carolyn Raffensperger on the community right of free, prior, and informed consent and how it might transform public health and environmental decision making is now available as an MP3 recording.

To listen and see Carolyn’s slides : http://www.healthandenvironment.org/wg_calls/14352

The idea of free, prior and informed consent is deeply embedded in the science and research establishment. No experiments can be undertaken on a human subject without their free, prior and informed consent. This right is being extended to communities as a matter of international law. Communities have a right to give or withhold their consent to extractive or polluting industries. The idea that government obtains its legitimacy from the consent of the governed is deeply embedded in US political theory, beginning with the Declaration of Independence. Imagine creating new institutions and mechanisms for communities to exercise their right to free prior and informed consent.

This community right of consent has the possibility of significantly altering how environmental decisions are made. Public health, with its moral authority, its experience with consent as an ethical matter, and its work with community based research is in a unique position to lead the way in developing new mechanisms for communities to exercise their right to free, prior and informed consent.

This working group call took place on Tuesday April 15, 2014. The presentation by Carolyn Raffensperger, executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) and co-coordinator of the Cumulative Impacts Working Group, spoke about the community right of free, prior, and informed consent and how it might transform public health and environmental decision making.

Featured speaker:

Carolyn Raffensperger, MA, JD, is executive director of the Science and Environmental Health Network.