Working Procedures


4. Meeting participants

Five categories of participant can be present at a Handbook meeting:

  1. The Working Group is responsible for the critical reviews and evaluations. The tasks of Working Group Members are described in detail below. Working Group Members are selected on the basis of: (i) knowledge and experience; and (ii) absence of real or apparent conflicts of interests. They have often published significant research related to the intervention being reviewed, and IARC uses literature searches to identify such experts. Experts in the general subject matter or methodology who have not published on the subject of the evaluation may also be included. Consideration is also given to demographic diversity and balance of scientific findings and views.

  2. Invited Specialists are experts who also have important knowledge and experience, but have a real or apparent conflict of interests. These experts are invited when necessary to assist the Working Group by contributing technical knowledge and experience during subgroup and plenary discussions. They may also review text prepared by the Working Group and contribute text on issues that do not influence the final evaluation, for example, description of the agent evaluated (for chemicals) or techniques (for screening) (see Part B, Section 2). Invited Specialists do not serve as meeting chair or subgroup chair, and do not participate in the evaluations.

  3. Representatives of national and international health agencies often attend meetings because their agencies are sponsors of the 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.

  4. Observers with relevant scientific credentials may be admitted to a 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. At the meeting, the meeting chair and subgroup chairs may grant Observers an opportunity to speak, generally after they have observed a discussion. Observers agree to respect the Guidelines for Observers at Meetings of the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention (available at

  5. The IARC Secretariat consists of IARC scientists who have relevant expertise. They serve as rapporteurs and participate in all discussions. When requested by the meeting chair or subgroup chair, they may also draft text or prepare tables and analyses.

Before an invitation is extended, each potential participant, including the IARC Secretariat, completes the “Declaration of Interests for IARC/WHO Experts” form to report financial interests, employment and consulting, and individual and institutional research support related to the subject of the meeting. IARC assesses these interests to determine whether there is a real or apparent 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.

The names and principal affiliations of participants are available on the website of the IARC Handbooks of Cancer Prevention ( 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.

All participants are listed, with their principal affiliations, at the beginning of each volume. Each participant who is a Working Group Member serves as an individual scientist and not as a representative of any organization, government, or industry.


Posted 27 May 2014