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Head of Bioethics Division

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1 Head of Bioethics Division
Experience of the Council of Europe Laurence Lwoff Head of Bioethics Division Global Challenges, Global Opportunities Institutions of international policy and governance The Tarrytown Meeting July 25-27, 2011

2 Council of Europe Intergovernmental organisations, 1949
47 member states Objectives: Protection of human rights, democracy and rule of law Bioethics activities since late 70’s Objective: protection of fundamental rights in the field of biomedicine 1997: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (Oviedo Convention)

3 Oviedo Convention First international legally binding instrument
Framework convention: provisions apply to daily medical practice and specific fields Reference value at national as well at international levels Re-examination in 2005: no need for changes Difficulties encountered: Legal standards and evolving field Cultural differences: autonomy vs. social norms Sensitive issues: research on persons not able to consent, embryo But agreement on the need for legally binding instrument Complemented by additional protocols: Prohibition of cloning of human beings - Transplantation - Biomedical research – Genetic Testing for Health Purposes

4 A regional instrument but…
Oviedo Convention European agreement Addressed issues faced by countries outside Europe Takes into account international dimension Based on values recognised and shared outside 47 member states Cooperation mechanism within Council of Europe : privileged framework Possible basis for initiative at global level?

5 Cooperation: essential
Cooperation outside Europe Integral part of working method Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, Mexico, USA Active participation in CoE activities The example of biobank International dimension Common concerns Cooperation with civil society Integral part of CoE working method Promotion of civil society participation in decision at national and international level Conference of NGO’s Particular emphasis in the field of bioethics Issues addressed concern all citizens Hearing, public consultation Promotion of public debate, in particular young people

6 Council of Europe and bioethics
Human rights perspective Reference work not intended to be restricted to European countries Importance of cooperation with: non member states – other intergovernmental organisations civil society partnership To address challenges faced by our societies

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