Event Date/Time: Oct 14, 2011 End Date/Time: Oct 15, 2011
Registration Date: Oct 13, 2011
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The term 'innovation' has been widely used by international organizations and in the European Union policy, where it has been applied to refer to change in all aspects of human life impacted by knowledge, especially by science and technology. Compared to the older term 'progress,' innovation encompasses a broader vision of multiple different scenarios, where long lasting traditions can also be revisited. Also, it allows a deeper awareness of the potential unforeseeable aspects of the interconnected developments of techno-science and society, and more flexible and dynamic ways to think of futures.
However, innovation usually refers to the economic and social implications triggered primarily by science and technology; and little attention and analysis has been paid to "legal innovation", namely innovation of legal concepts, constructs, and processes, both of "hard" and 'soft law.'
The agro-food sector represents a strategic domain for innovation in the legal field. In fact, if agriculture, food production and distribution are rooted in the history of humankind, they have been radically and jointly reshaped by techno-science, policy, and the law. In the recent legal landscape brought together at the confluence of new knowledge and emerging technologies in agriculture and food, new visions of individual and social life, and the joint needs of sustained development processes, new legal instruments have been framed and implemented.
Food issues have become a major international political concern, largely framed within institutions such as FAO/WHO (the Codex Alimentarius), and WTO (the Trade agreement on sanitary and Phytosanitary measures). Food laws often tend to be negotiated and discussed at supranational levels and elaborated by technical expert bodies (such as FDA and EFSA, respectively in the US and in the EU).
Exploration of recent legal instruments in the agro-food sector provides many useful insights into the more general relationships between science, society, and the law. Concepts and procedures such as labelling, traceability, precaution and risk and public involvement in science-based policies are relevant both to agro-food regulations and governance and to improving the existing connections between science and democracy.
Also, food law requires a comparative approach capable of highlighting and making sense of different cultures, traditions, and forms of life.
From the epistemic assumptions underlying regulatory instruments to the ethical and political assessments to the specific forms of implementation of food law, the whole agro-food normative system represents a valuable case of innovation, worthy of a multilevel, interdisciplinary and comparative dialogue.
In this landscape of co-production between traditional and techno-scientific knowledge, practices, law and policy, the Conference will provide an overview of three major areas of interest.


Emilia-Pavese, 84