Working Procedures


5. Meeting participants

Five categories of participant can be present at meetingsof the IARC Handbooks:

(a) Member of the Working Group

The Working Group is responsible for the critical reviews and evaluations that are developed during the meeting. The tasks of members of the Working Group are: (i) to ascertain that all appropriate data have been collected; (ii) to select the data relevant for the evaluation on the basis of scientific merit; (iii) to prepare accurate summaries of the data to enable the reader to follow the reasoning of the Working Group; (iv) to evaluate the results of epidemiological and experimental studies on cancer-preventive effects; (v) to evaluate data relevant to the understanding of mechanisms of cancer prevention; and (vi) to make an overall evaluation of the cancer-preventive effect of the intervention in humans. Members of the Working Group are selected on the basis of (a) knowledge and experience; and (b) absence of real or perceived conflicts of interests. Members of the Working Group generally have published significant research related to the cancer-preventive effects of the interventions being reviewed, and have in most cases been identified as experts by IARC on the basis of literature searches. Consideration is also given to demographic diversity and balance of scientific findings and views. Each member of the Working Group serves as an individual scientist and not as a representative of any organization, government, or industry.

(b) Invited Specialist

Invited Specialists are experts who have knowledge and experience that is critical to consideration of the intervention being evaluated, but who also have a real or perceived conflict of interests. These experts are invited when necessary to assist the Working Group by contributing their unique knowledge and experience during subgroup and plenary discussions. They may also contribute text on non-influential issues, e.g. for the general description of the intervention or for the exposure (see Part B, Section 1). Invited Specialists do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, do not draft text that pertains to the description or interpretation of data directly relevant to the evaluations, and do not participate in the evaluations.

(c) Representative

Representatives of national and international health agencies may attend meetings because such agencies sponsor the IARC Handbooks programme or are interested in the subject of a meeting. Representatives do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, do not draft any part of a Handbook, and do not participate in the evaluations.

(d) Observer

Observers with relevant scientific credentials are admitted to an IARC Handbook meeting in limited numbers. Attention will be given to achieving a balance of Observers from constituencies with differing perspectives. They are invited to observe the meeting and should not attempt to influence it. Observers do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, do not draft any part of a Handbook, and do not participate in the evaluations. At the meeting, the meeting chair and subgroup chairs may grant Observers an opportunity to speak, generally after a discussion has been completed by the Working Group. Observers agree to respect the Guidelines for Observers at IARC Handbooks meetings (available from

(e) The IARC Secretariat

The Secretariat consists of IARC scientific staff who have relevant expertise. They serve as rapporteurs and participate in discussions. When requested by the meeting chair or subgroup chair, they may also draft text, or prepare tables and analyses. Members of the Secretariat do not participate in the evaluations.

(f) Declaration of Interests

Before an invitation is extended, each potential participant, including the IARC Secretariat, completes the WHO Declaration of Interests to report financial interests, employment and consulting, and individual and institutional research support related to the subject of the meeting or any tobacco-related interests. IARC assesses these interests to determine whether there is a conflict that warrants some limitation on participation. The declarations are updated and reviewed again at the opening of the meeting. Interests related to the subject of the meeting are disclosed to the meeting participants and in the published volume (Cogliano et al., 2004).

The names and principal affiliations of participants are published on the website of the IARC Handbooks programme ( approximately two months before each meeting. It is not acceptable for Observers or third parties to contact other participants before a meeting or to lobby them at any time. Meeting participants are asked to report all such contacts to IARC (Cogliano et al., 2005). The names and principal affiliations of all meeting participants are also listed at the beginning of the corresponding volume of the Handbooks.


Posted 5 July 2016