Emerging Issues in Ethics
New issues in ethics of science and technology have been studied by examining the literature. Special attention has been given to ethical issues that are particularly relevant for developing countries. Ethical assessments have been made of existing technologies; also the need to develop inexpensive, creative and effective technologies addressing the relevant needs of developing countries has been analysed. Finally new and emerging technologies are examined in order to determine the potential for international action (e.g. nano-technology, genetically modified organism). Publications have appeared in the International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care and The Hastings Center Report.
Explorative research has been carried out concerning the following topics:
- Nanotechnology and ethics. This issue has been studied. It was first explored in relation to the 3rd session of COMEST.
- Genetically Modified Organisms. A research proposal has been drafted for submission to the Flanders Science Trust Fund (FUST). A research team, in cooperation with the Science Sector, has been constituted and activities planned in Africa. However, the project was not funded.
- Technology assessment. Studies have been made of new and emerging technologies. However, many of these technologies are initially and primarily of interest to a limited number of countries. It is therefore necessary to study the ethical considerations of decision-making and science policy in regard to technology development. Ethical principles of justice, solidarity and benefit-sharing may require more emphasis on the development of low-tech, creative and low-cost technologies for the needs of the developing world.