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SETAC Public Outreach Policy
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SETAC Public Outreach Guidelines and Procedures (Approved June 25, 2008)


To establish an agreed procedure within SETAC to review and approve prospective public pronouncements by SETAC, its subsidiary groups, or by SETAC members proposing to speak on behalf of the Society, doing so in a timely manner and in a way that fully addresses the respective interests and concerns of SETAC’s tripartite membership.

Agreed Principles:

  • Public outreach should serve to enhance the standing of SETAC science and promote progress toward ”Environmental Quality through Science.”
  • Public outreach must draw on tripartite consensus science and debate within the Society.
  • Public outreach should focus on relevant scientific issues of interest to the global and local scientific communities and to the public at large.
  • Public outreach will generally occur by agreed written communications, although oral presentations may be approved by the SETAC World Council when circumstances warrant.
  • Internal SETAC review and authorization process should be expeditious to the extent possible with final approval by the President of SETAC in consultation with a core group of Society leaders, including the Global Executive Director and the chairs of relevant committees (Science Committee, Public Relations and Communications Committee, Publications Advisory Council in the first instance).
  • SETAC Geographic Unit Councils, working committees and the steering committees of Scientific Advisory Groups (SAG), with tripartite participation and consensus, may issue public statements on behalf of the GUs, working committees or SAGs after consultation with the SETAC World Council President and Global Executive Director, whose roles are to ensure that such statements enhance the standing of SETAC science.


The SETAC World Council, Geographic Unit Councils or Boards, working committees or the steering committee of a Scientific Advisory Group (SAG) within SETAC may identify potential issues and consult within SETAC and with the respective Executive Directors (EDs) to make an initial determination of the need and relevance for SETAC public statements. SETAC EDs are charged with following broader policy developments so as to be able to advise appropriately and to alert the World Council, GU Councils or Boards or approved groups to potential public outreach opportunities of benefit to SETAC.

Once an issue is identified and proposed for a public statement:

  • The initiating group -- World Council, GU Council and Boards, working committees or steering committees of SAGs -- within SETAC undertakes a concerted discussion on a tripartite basis on the key scientific issue(s) under consideration and their relevance to policy discussions at the global or GU level. The initiating group prepares a written communication for review by the agreed procedures in this SOP.
  • The initiating group – World Council, GU Council and Boards, working committees or steering committees of SAGs -- must inform the World Council President, Global Executive Director, and the Chairpersons of the Science Committee, the Public Relations and Communications Committee (PRCC) and, if related to SETAC publications (books, journals, or the Globe), the Publications Advisory Council in writing of their proposed statements, rationale for their preparation, and the basis of the initiating group’s consensus in support of the statement.
  • In such cases, the World Council President and the Global Executive Director will assess the potential risks to SETAC and its public credibility and viability as a Society and will consult as they deem necessary with the relevant committee chairs:
    • The Science Committee Chairperson will assess the science addressed, doing so in the broader context of SETAC science activities.
    • The PRCC Chairperson will provide editorial input and advise how best to bring the proposed statement to public attention, taking into account the originating group’s intentions in this regard.
    • The PAC Chairperson will consider if and how best to use the Society’s publications to bring the statement to public attention.
    • All will make the required assessments in a timely fashion, i.e. within two weeks of notification. On occasions when the media has requested a faster response, the SETAC President and Global Executive Director will make every effort to ensure a response is provided in time
    • Committee chairs will consult with their committees to the extent they believe is necessary.
  • Absent a compelling concern threatening SETAC’s scientific credibility or viability as a learned society, the World Council President and Global Executive Director’s role in proposed statements by GU Councils and Boards or approved groups will be consultative in nature.
  • Any agreed statements – at the level of World Council, GU Councils, working committees or steering committee of SAGs – must be based on consensus of the initiating group.
  • The group or person initiating the statement must work with the PRCC Chairperson and committee to prepare a dissemination strategy, which must be coordinated with the Global Executive Director and approved by the SETAC World Council President in a timely fashion.
  • SETAC World Council statements are issued in the name of the SETAC World Council President.
  • SETAC GU Council statements are issued in the name of the GU Council President.
  • Working Committee statements will be issued in the name of the working committee; SAG statements will be issues in the name of the steering committee of the SAG.
  • Statements issued will be disseminated to all SETAC members via the Message to Members mechanism.
  • To the extent possible, oral statements on behalf of SETAC should be based on internally prepared and appropriately vetted written materials or talking points, prepared by the relevant leadership or expert group on the basis of tripartite consensus.
  • Addressing member concerns post-facto will be the responsibility of the group issuing the statement, with appropriate consideration given to contrary views raised from within the overall membership to encourage deeper scientific debate within the Society.
  • Individual members who raise contrary views and who did not participate in the process of issuing the statement should be encouraged to join the group in question in order to ensure fuller debate and dialogue with regard to future issues of import.
  • Members of SETAC speaking on behalf of the Society and with the knowledge and support of the Society should speak only on the basis of peer-reviewed scientific fact given that all members have a commitment to serve as keepers of the public trust for the science presented by SETAC.