SETAC Latin America: On the Way to Consolidation
Leónidas Carrasco-Letelier, SETAC Latin America President, and Gustavo Somoza, Immediate Past President
SETAC Latin America was established in 1999, and since then it has grown slowly but steadily. In 2003, the establishment of a board of directors, led by an annually rotating presidency, reinforced this geographic unit by allowing more participation. This downloadable flyer charts our growth and development over the past five years.
Regional Chapter Meetings
A strong contingent of SETAC members in Argentina (SETAC-ARG) held their inaugural meeting from 16–19 October 2012 in Buenos Aires. In 2013, SETAC-ARG organized a workshop, “Strengthening Links Between the Scientific and Social” at the University of Mar del Plata with an important participation of university students. The idea was to generate discussion on issues with social and environmental relevance with participation of the three sectors: academia, business and government.
The Brazilian Society of Ecotoxicology membership decided to affiliate with SETAC Latin America. The inclusion of this group will significantly boost the membership of SETAC in the region by several hundred and will add a major regional chapter meeting every two years. In 2013, the Brazilian Regional Chapter organized the Congresso Brasileiro de Toxicologia Aquatica from 4–8 November in Rio Grande, Brazil. The meeting had 25 platform presentations, seven round tables, three mini-courses and four workshops.
The Innaugural SETAC Meeting of Andean Countries was organized at the Universidad Nacional at Medellín, Colombia. The idea of this meeting was to set up a new regional chapter for the Andean countries. The meeting was held from 6-8 November 2013, and there were 80 participants from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Germany, three keynote presentations, one symposium and 24 platform presentations.
SETAC Latin America has experienced exciting developments in the last few years and has a lot of potential for continued growth. However, this new stage will impose new challenges:
Although SETAC membership from Latin America dropped in the past year, there is a potential for membership growth to around 600 members in the next four years.
- Sector balance
SETAC Latin America sectorial composition was traditionally dominated by academia, which currently represents almost 70% of the membership. An important goal for the upcoming years is to demonstrate to the Latin America government and business sectors the value that SETAC has to offer worldwide by supporting Environmental Quality Through Science®.
- Organized development
The efforts to set up an Andean Chapter will continue this year. Also, the SETAC Latin America Council has recently approved a proposal for the organization of the 2015 SETAC Latin America Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. More information is coming soon.
- Bottom-up participation
Once again, the main challenge ahead will be to change the way SETAC Latin America members see their own role inside the Society. Traditionally, members expect initiatives to come from council members. It is important to understand that it is exactly the opposite way. Members are the engine of SETAC Latin America, and member initiatives such as submitting proposals for organizing activities are essential for a successful Society.
In summary, SETAC Latin America experienced changes last year that promoted the geographic unit to a more dynamic and active organization. We look forward to facing several new and exciting challenges in the coming years.
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