II. The need for public debate
Developments in biomedicine potentially affect everyone, and their effects can be profound, implicitly engaging questions of public interest. Public debate In this document and in Article 28 of the Oviedo Convention the overarching concept of ‘public debate’ is used to describe discursive interactions in the public sphere (that is, not in a professional context) through which individuals and groups may identify, explore and resolve their different interests in matters that affect (or potentially affect) them all. can be an important source of information and views when setting appropriate standards and a point of reference for the development of governance In this guide ‘governance’ means the accountable use of power or authority to set, monitor, and enforce standards and behaviours within systems or organisations. It can mean both steering people’s behaviour and ensuring that they are held to account. Governance can be given effect through compulsory and non-compulsory measures (legal provision, licensing systems, professional norms, codes of conduct, recommendations etc.,). Governance can be a function of both public and private actors.. Public debate can usefully broaden the basis for the appraisal of new developments, the consequences of which are uncertain.
The norms and common principles that emerge from such involvement are also the source of public morality. Well-grounded norms are more apt to increase the public’s trust in governance. A key function of public debate is to bring forward a more robust basis for decision making while helping to identify issues of concern that may warrant a public policy response.
Public debate can strengthen the role of citizens A natural person subject to the laws and policies of a state and enjoying legal rights protected by that state. In compound terms such as ‘citizens’ assembly’, for example, the meaning of ‘citizen’ is broader than just those having nationality or entitled to vote in that state. in the governance of their society. We may say that public debate is therefore debate that is in public, with the public and for the public.
Public debate is important for public trust in governance and policy making.
Public debate increases legitimacy and support for ethically difficult decision-making.