Tuesday, June 4, 2013

UNESCO urged to explore guidelines on 'nano-ethics'

David Dickson in SciDev.net: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been urged to set up an expert group to seek a consensus of both developed and developing countries on how to tackle the ethical aspects of nanotechnology.

The proposal was made by speakers at a workshop in Bratislava, Slovakia, last week (27–29 May) organised by the Slovakian National Commission for UNESCO and the World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology (COMEST).

"All countries in the world will become involved in nanotechnology over the next ten or 20 years, and it is important to establish collaboration between North and South in developing an ethical roadmap on how the issues raised by this technology should be handled," said Ali Beitollahi, director of international relations for the Iran Nanotechnology Initiative Council (INIC).

The Bratislava meeting heard that the potential applications of nanotechnology — particularly in water treatment but also in fields such as health, agriculture and energy — could transform prospects for developing countries in ways similar to the wide-scale adoption of mobile phones.

"Nanoscience and nanotechnology are giving us new ways of thinking about development, and can play an important role in helping developing countries move towards sustainability," said COMEST member Abdoulaye Sene, an environmental sociologist at Senegal's Cheikh Anta Diop University....

A nano-whatsis, shot by Aydin4ik, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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