Science and technology for development

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The Global Community has embraced a rapidly accelerating process of scientific and technological change that can benefit the majority of humankind or, on the contrary, only benefit the few. This program explores the politics and economics of efforts to ensure that new technologies are used in socially responsible ways.

In market economies, where the uses of technology are heavily determined by decisions made in private research institutions and companies, there is a constant tension between the desire of the private sector to maximize profits, and the expectation on the part of the public that new products and techniques will meet (perhaps less profitable) social needs. This gives rise to various forms of public regulation and to a continuing test of strength between public interest groups, the scientific research community and the corporations whose use of new technologies has direct effects on the economy, society and natural environment.

This Global Community program explores ways of encouraging a more socially responsible use of science and technology in a number of fields, including information technology, biotechnology and genetic engineering. It also explores corporate responsibility, often generated in relation to social and environmental issues.

The Global Community has come to realize that peoples live in a world of increasing interdependence and our faith is intrinsically related to the preservation of the global life-support systems for the survival of humanity and all forms of life. The Global Community is calling upon scientists, tehnologists, technicians, engineers and all professionals to:

a) create positive actions in their own fields to use the knowledge of science in a responsible manner, and
b) find sound solutions to human needs and to fulfill aspirations without misusing human knowledge.

Science gives a person a set of rules, a way of thinking, a philosophy to look at the physical universe, to observe and analyze it, and to discover its making, its functioning, and its structure. The scientific method is very reassuring to oneself. It gives us the basic reasoning we need in order to make informed and sound policy and management decisions.

Science has a responsibility for the well-being of humanity. Science is found everywhere in our societies. Because of science, new technologies and techniques were developed and used in the market place. The products of science take important places in all aspects of our lives and actually save lives every second. They make our lives manageable in a million difeerent ways. Science has also played a destructive role in our history and is continuing to do so today. Science, technology and engineering are directly or indirectly responsible for threats to our environment, for wasteful uses of the Earth's resources and for wars and conflicts in the world.

Science, technology and engineering are major forces of socio-economic change. They cause humanity and its social and natural environment to evolve rapidly and, therefore, they carry serious responsibility and accountability. They are no longer regarded as benefactors of humanity. Ethical integrity has declined. In several parts of the world people have become suspicious and are questioning abuses of various kinds. Many scientists and other professionals have shown little regard to ethical problems arising from their work and must become responsible and accountable just like everyone else. There are no exception. We are all asked in helping humanity and all life on Earth from complete extinction. It is a common goal.

Researchers and other professionals receive public funding for finding solutions to problems in society. Public funding should be directed towards very specific research projects related to the life-support system of the planet and to a more sustainable biosphere.

Science, technology and engineering must regain public trust, state ethical responsibilties and become a voice to present and future generations. Between now and Global Dialogue 2006, there is an active discussion roundtable on the ethical issues related to science, technology and engineering, their practices and ideologies. The public is invited to debate the issue.

The public should be informed about research projects and their wider implications. All parties involved should collaborate with the public. Strong legal and moral safeguards must be implemented to discourage unethical practice and the wrongly use of science, technology and engineering for the development and manufacturing of mass destruction weapons, and for experiments which do not respect the dignity of human persons and animals.

Just as for human rights, the respect of the dignity of the human person is at the root of the ethics of science, technology and engineering. The Scale of Human Rights is aimed at prohibiting all acts, research projects, technology development, which do not conform to the ideas of humanity.

There are many aspects of science, technology and engineering that must be discussed with respect to the Scale of Human and Earth Rights. For instances: cloning of human beings, and prohibiting the making of the human body and its products as a source of financial gain.




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