The Guide aims to assist member States in raising public awareness about biomedical developments by encouraging the circulation of information, views and opinions. The Guide also aims to help to develop, plan and promote exchanges between different people and actors with a view, where appropriate, to informing policy making based on shared values and respect for human rights. The Guide does this with reference to a selection of good practices and experiences in member states which illustrate aspects of public debate in action.
Public debate enables fundamental questions about developments in biology and medicine to be the subject of open and collective discussion and dialogue. As a potential source of important benefit for human health, such developments can also have implications which raise concerns related to inter alia autonomy, privacy, integrity and non-discrimination, as well as equity of access to health care. Such implications are questions not only for experts or authorities but for individuals, groups and society as a whole.
The Guide was developed by the Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) on the basis of Article 28 of the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (ETS No 164), the only international legally binding instrument addressing the protection of human rights in biomedicine.
The Guide is primarily addressed to government officials, public authorities, national ethics committees and other relevant educational and academic institutions and organisations.
The Guide highlights the need for public debate, how to prepare for it, ways to make it effective and meaningful.
High-Level Seminar : Public Debate as a tool for the governance of new technologies
Strasbourg, 4 June 2019
Organised by the Committee on Bioethics under the auspices of the French Presidency of the Committee of Ministers. The objective of the event was to explore why public debate on biomedicine and human rights is so important for policy makers in an era when emerging technologies have an increasing impact on our societies. It addressed how public debate can create opportunities to connect public interest with public policy and to develop new governance arrangements.