Virtual Roundtable Discussion. Governing Technological Change: New Challenges or Old Wine in New Bottles?


Date: 4th of November 2020, 11.00 to 12.30 Central European Time / 12.00 to 13.30 Lithuanian local time

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New technologies in areas from artificial intelligence over nanotechnology up to the life sciences are often seen as game-changing challenges in search of political solutions. As their associated risks supposedly go beyond those of legacy technologies, existing  regulatory frameworks are accordingly considered as inadequate. Only comprehensive regulation, so the argument goes, will thus prevent or mitigate negative consequences for human health, the environment or social equity. This roundtable will critically probe the linkages between technological change, associated risks as well as regulatory responses. The guiding question will be in how far new technologies create new, distinct and substantial challenges that require deeper, broader or alternative forms of regulation for their effective resolution. This roundtable is organized within the context of the research project “Institutional Adaptation to Technological Change“ (ADAPT), funded by the Research Council of Lithuania (LMT).


  1. EGLĖ BUTKEVIČIENĖ (Kaunas University of Technology, Research Group Civil Society and Sustainability), “Mining Near-Earth Asteroids and Deep-sea Minerals: Opportunities, Barriers and Regulatory Frameworks”.
  2. ELSA TSIOUMANI (International Institute for Sustainable Development), “Bioinformatics and Genetic Resources: Addressing new Challenges for Fairness and Equity in Biodiversity Governance”.
  3. JESSE REYNOLDS (University of California, Los Angeles School of Law), “Changing Nature in Order to Protect It? Earth System Interventions as Technological Transformations in the Anthropocene”.


FLORIAN RABITZ (Kaunas University of Technology, Research Group Civil Society and Sustainability)


Biographical notes:

EGLĖ BUTKEVIČIENĖ is a full professor and vice-dean of Science at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Kaunas University of Technology (Lithuania). She lectures and researches on civil society issues, civic participation, social innovations, social entrepreneurship, community development and social inclusion, citizen science, environmental activism, social networks, and the social impacts of technologies. She currently leads a team under the Horizon 2020 project “Democratic Efficacy and the Varieties of Populism in Europe” and regularly serves in an expert capacity under Horizon 2020, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the Centre for Quality Assessment in Higher Education as well as the Research Council of Lithuania.

JESSE REYNOLDS is Emmett / Frankel Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law. He researches and teaches how society can develop norms, rules, procedures, and institutions to manage environmental opportunities and challenges, particularly those involving new technologies. His book The Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Managing Climate Change in the Anthropocene was published with Cambridge University Press in 2019. J. L. Reynolds is also currently exploring the roles of new biotechnologies, such as gene drives and artificial intelligence in the conservation of biodiversity and facilitating sustainability.

ELSA TSIOUMANI is an international lawyer based in Thessaloniki, Greece. A writer for Earth Negotiations Bulletin since December 1999 with focus on biodiversity-related matters, she has witnessed the negotiation and adoption of instruments such as the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing. E. Tsioumani has held research positions in academia, and has served as a legal consultant for several international and non-governmental organizations. She has authored extensively on international environmental law and policy, particularly with regard to biodiversity, genetic resource governance, indigenous peoples’ rights, governance of emerging technologies, and land, food and agriculture. Her most recent publication is Fair and Equitable Benefit-sharing in Agriculture: Reinventing Agrarian Justice (Routledge 2020).

FLORIAN RABITZ is a political scientist specializing in international environmental institutions, with a specific focus on technological questions. He has published widely on the governance of genetic resources, biotechnology as well as geoengineering. F. Rabitz currently leads the LRC-funded project “Institutional Adaptation to Technological Change (ADAPT)” as well as the project “A Topic-network Approach to the Mass Media Representation of Pandemic Threats”, funded by Kaunas University of Technology’s Special Research and Innovation Fund. Recent publications have appeared in Climate Policy, International Environmental Agreements and Environmental Politics.


4 lapkričio d., 2020 12:00 - 13:30


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