UNESCO fosters debate on code of ethics for scientists
29 June - A collection of essays published this month by UNESCO’s Regional Bureau for Science in Latin America and the Caribbean analyses the role of science in fostering peace and development. Science for Peace and Development: the Case of the Hippocratic Oath for Scientists summarizes an ongoing debate as to whether or not a code of ethics should be drawn up for scientists along the lines of the Hippocratic Oath for medical doctors. This question was debated by scholars attending a workshop organized by UNESCO at the University of Buenos Aires in 2008 on World Science Day for Peace and Development, 10 November. World Science Day was instigated by UNESCO in 2001 as part of follow-up to the World Conference on Science organized in 1999 by UNESCO and the International Council for Science. The Science Agenda – Framework for Action adopted by the conference stated that ‘governments and non-governmental organizations, in particular scientific and scholarly organizations, should organize debates, including public debates, on the ethical implications of scientific work’. It went on to say that ‘scientific associations should define a code of ethics for their members.’ Edited by Guillermo Lemarchand and published in the UNESCO series of Documents and Studies on Science Policy in Latin America and the Caribbean, the monograph may be downloaded (in Spanish) here.