Ethical issues in biotechnology and biosafety to be debated in China

1 March 2001 - Just weeks after completion of the mapping of the human genome, a two-day workshop is to open in Hangzhou (China) on the theme of Ethical Issues related to Biotechnology and Biosafety.

The workshop is being organized later this month by the Institute of Genetics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, in close co-operation with the UNESCO Beijing Office, the Qingdao-based Biotechnology Education and Training Centre (Betcen) and Microbiological Resources Centre (Mircen) in Bejing. A number of non-governmental organizations will be represented among the international participants and one member of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee is travelling to the event.

The workshop follows up the recommendation from the World Conference on Science that ‘research institutions foster the study of ethical aspects of scientific work’ (para.72, Science Agenda).

Taking the Universal Declaration on Human Genome and Human Rights as a starting point, the workshop will focus on: free access to the human genome sequences; benefit-sharing of genetic resources in developing countries; ethics, intellectual property and genomics; application of genetic information and genetic measures; biotechnology, biodiversity and biosafety; embryonic stem cells and reproductive cloning; education and dissemination of bio-ethical principles.

Besides providing an opportunity for participants to exchange views and experiences, the workshop should give public awareness of these important topics ‘a great boost’, particuarly in China.

Source: For further information, please contact UNESCO Beijing Office: y.shao@unesco.org