The members of COGEM are appointed in a personal capacity and they do not represent organizations or institutions. However, due to the fact that COGEM is a scientific advisory body, it is inevitable that members of COGEM are active within the field of genetic modification. This is a potential source for conflicts of interest. To avert this, rules have been established.
Firstly, transparency has to be observed concerning potential conflicts of interests. All members have to fill in declarations of interests. These declarations are updated annually. The chairman of COGEM discusses the interests of a member at the start of the membership and later on if there are reasons for concern. If necessary the chair makes specific arrangements with relevant members to avoid conflicts of interests. Furthermore, the declarations of interest are circulated among the members of each subcommittee and the Executive board so that they are all aware of each others interests. The forms are held by the secretariat and the register is open to inspection by the ministry of IandM.
Secondly, to prevent any possible conflicts of interest, members refrain from taking part in decision making on advice given by COGEM on subjects relating to their own interests. This applies to both the considerations in meetings of subcommittees and the completion of the advice in writing. This is supervised by the COGEM chair and chairman of the subcommittee, supported by the secretary of COGEM. Recently, it was decided that in the advices will be clearly stated which members have refrained from taking part in the decision making process.
Thirdly, COGEM members have to fill in a declaration of integrity, to raise their awareness of potential pitfalls.