12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Bioethics : an export product? Reflections on h...
View graph of relations

« Back

Bioethics : an export product? Reflections on hands-on involvement in exploring the “External” validity of international bioethical declarations.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date09/2009
JournalJournal of Bioethical Inquiry
Journal number3
Volume6
Number of pages11
Pages367-377
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

As the technosciences, including genomics, develop into a worldwide, global phenomenon, the question inevitably emerges whether and to what extent bioethics can and should become a globalised phenomenon as well. Could we somehow articulate a set of core principles or values that ought to be respected worldwide and that could serve as a universal guide or blueprint for bioethical regulations for embedding biotechnologies in various countries? This article considers one universal declaration, the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005), to which a special issue of Developing World Bioethics was dedicated. General criticisms made there are that the concepts used in the Declaration are too general and vague to generate real commitment; that the so-called universal values are not universal; and, that UNESCO should not be engaged in producing such declarations which are the domain of professional bioethicists. This article considers these and other criticisms in detail and presents an example of an event in which the Declaration was used: the request by the Republic of Sakha, in Siberia, for a UNESCO delegation to advise on the initiation of a bioethics programme. The Declaration was intended to provide an adequate “framework of principles and procedures to guide states in the formulation of their legislation, policies and other instruments in the field of bioethics” (article 2a) The Declaration was produced, and principles agreed upon, in an interactive and deliberative manner with world-wide ‘expert’ participation. We argue that the key issue is not whether the general principles can be exported worldwide (in principle they can), but rather how processes of implementation and institutionalisation should take shape in different social and cultural contexts. In particular broader publics are not routinely involved in bioethical debate and policy-making processes worldwide.