Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Ethics and Politics of Nanotechnology

Click here to go to the UNESCO website for the report.

The Nanotechnology and Development News has summarized this report as follows:
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has released a report that advocates international action in the area of science and technology ethics in order to avoid disparate ethical standards between developed and developing countries on how nanotechnology is developed and used. The report says, 'Science and technology are often well developed and promoted in developed countries using resources from less developed countries, but the results and products generally do not return to these less developed countries.' The report says that collaboration between scientists has made nanotechnology an 'international science project' which, in combination with a lack of communication between experts and the poor in a given nation, increases the risk that inequalities of access to research will be greater within nations than between them. The report also says that developing countries without infrastructure could lack access to reliable scientific information needed to minimize potential nanotechnology hazard and exposure risks. The report says that these and other ethical issues should be identified, analyzed, and presented to the general public, specialized groups, and decision makers in order to raise their awareness. It also recommends that national governments require open-access to publicly funded research results.

The report was published as a brocure by UNESCO in 2006. (PDF, 26 pages.)

Read a critique of this report by David Berube in his NanoHype blog.

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