Executive Director’s Corner—New Challenges
Bart Bosveld, SETAC Europe Executive Director
A buzz of excitement came upon me when I learned that SETAC Europe was looking for a new Executive Director to replace Dave Arnold. Dave retired in November last year, and I am extremely happy to fill this position again.
You may know me because I filled this position before. However, due to a lovely pair of teenagers at home and a challenging new position near the place I live, I chose to leave that post in 2009. In the meantime, our daughters grew up. This allows me to spend some more time abroad again, and that is something you certainly need when working for SETAC.
The past years broadened my experiences in the field of pesticide regulation. The added value of SETAC for proper environmental management and regulation became even more obvious to me than it was before. Objective, multidisciplinary science with the input from the three sectors represented in SETAC is of great importance to solve environmental problems. And that is what I would like to dedicate myself to.
With that in mind, the year ahead is full of challenges. First, there will be the SETAC Europe annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, from 12–16 May. This is the biggest European scientific meeting on environmental toxicology and chemistry. The meeting theme “Building a Better Future: Responsible Innovation and Environmental Protection” reflects our vision that innovative use of chemicals and new technologies can co-exist with a sustainable environment as a part of our modern society. Sensible use, good management and regulation based on sound science are prerequisites to achieve this.
Other events to be organised in Europe in 2013 include the 19th LCA Case Study Symposium in Rome, Italy, the Young Environmental Scientists Meeting, SETAC Europe Summer Schools, and three of the very successful SETAC Europe Special Science Symposia (SESSS).
This year, special focus will be put on the development of a SETAC Europe post-graduate school for environmental risk assessment. With a variety of different courses to be taught at institutions scattered around Europe, the full programme will lead to recognition as a SETAC-certified risk assessor. In the future, this certificate should be internationally recognised as proof of comprehensive education and practical experience as an environmental risk assessor with a geographic focus on European regulations.
There are also many challenges at the global level. The geographic units combine forces to work on global science issues and collaborations with international organisations such as UNEP, IUCN, OECD, FAO, etc.
A special activity is the global treaty on mercury to be signed in Japan this year in October. In January, the wording was consolidated by the 140 nations represented at the international negotiations committee INC-5 in Geneva, Switzerland. SETAC was represented there as well to promote the use of sound science as a backbone to the treaty and to seek opportunities to make use of the SETAC network for the development of guidelines and capacity building once the treaty is implemented.
For all these activities I look forward to working together with my SETAC colleagues around the world. Together we are able to make a difference and contribute, through good science, to a better world.
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