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.

 Public debate is important for public trust in governance and policy making.

 Public debate increases legitimacy and support for ethically difficult decision-making.


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