STInano › OECD Working Party on Nanotechnology (WPN): Vision Statement
1. Nanotechnology is the set of technologies that enables the manipulation, study or exploitation of very small (typically less than 100 nanometers) structures and systems. Nanoscience and nanotechnology advances have the potential to affect virtually every area of economic activity and aspect of daily life. Nanotechnology contributes to the development of novel materials, devices and products, the number of products, and the diversity of nanomaterials and nanosystems, being predicted to increase rapidly in the coming decade as a result of continuous innovation in many sectors.
2. Nanotechnology presents new opportunities and challenges to governments. Nanotechnology is likely to offer a wide range of benefits, including helping to address a range of societal and environmental challenges, e.g. in providing renewable energy and clean water, in improving health and longevity, as well as in addressing issues relating to the environment. However, unlocking this potential will require a responsible and co-ordinated approach to ensure that potential challenges are being addressed in parallel with the development and use of technology.
3. OECD is playing its part in this process and is developing a large body of work. Under the Committee on Scientific and Technological Policy (CSTP), a Working Party on Nanotechnology (WPN) was established in March 2007. The objective of the WPN is to advise on emerging policy-relevant issues in science, technology and innovation related to the responsible development and use of nanotechnology.
4. In undertaking its work, the work of the WPN complements the activities of other OECD committees and other organisations. The OECD Chemicals Committee Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (established in 2006) is working on international co-operation in health-related and environmental safety-related aspects of manufactured nanomaterials.
5. By working together, member countries will reach a better understanding of the potential challenges and opportunities of nanotechnology so that they can support its responsible development and use.
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