ECOPA: The European Consensus Platform on Three Rs Alternatives
ECOPA, the European Consensus Platform on Alternatives, is an international not-forprofit organisation, based in Belgium and complying with Belgium law. It is the only quadripartite organisation that is promoting the Three Rs at the European level. ECOPA brings together the National Consensus Platforms on alternative methods in Europe. Consensus means that all parties concerned are represented, including animal welfare, industry, academia and governmental institutions. Ecopa actually comprises 14 Member State (or future Member State) National Platforms (eight full members: the platforms of Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK; and six associate members: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Italy, Norway, Poland and Sweden), and has three working groups. The fields of interest of these working groups change according to the needs and actually are concerned with a) the Sixth Framework Programme of the European Commission (EC) for Research, Technological Development and Demonstration Activities, b) the EC White Paper on a Strategy for a Future Chemicals Policy, and c) the formation of educational programmes on alternative methods within the EU. ECOPA is thus uniquely placed and has huge expertise to offer to the debate around scientific and politically linked topics. It has to be considered a key stakeholder by the European Commission and Parliament. News and views of ECOPA can be found on the ECOPA website (http://www.ecopa.tsx.org/), which is regularly updated.