Nanotechnology: balancing benefits and risks to public health and the environment
Reply to Recommendation
| Doc. 13377
| 18 December 2013
- Committee of Ministers
at the 1187th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies (11 December 2013). 2014 - First part-session
- Reply to Recommendation
- : Recommendation 2017
The Committee of Ministers has examined
with interest Parliamentary Assembly Recommendation 2017 (2013)
on “Nanotechnology: balancing benefits and risks to public health
and the environment”, which was referred to a number of intergovernmental
committees for comments.Note
agrees that, as with most emerging technologies, nanotechnology
has potential benefits, in particular for the development of “Nanomedicine”,
but it also carries risks of serious harm, both to human health
and to eco-systems and the environment.
2 The Committee of Ministers has noted with interest the Assembly’s
proposal that the Committee on Bioethics (DH-BIO) prepare a feasibility
study with a view to “the elaboration of possible standards in this
area”. It would signal, however, that the proposals of the Parliamentary
Assembly cover fields such as the environment, going beyond the
DH-BIO’s field of competence.
3 The Committee of Ministers recalls that the role of progress
in sciences and technologies in the biological and medical field
in the improvement of human health and quality of life is widely
acknowledged in the work of the Council of Europe. However, the
implications for human beings of a misuse of such knowledge and technologies
are also stressed and, as stated in the preamble of the Convention
on Human Rights and Biomedicine, the need to use this progress for
the benefit of present and future generations.
4 The Committee of Ministers recalls that the objective of the
work carried out by the DH-BIO is to protect human dignity and individual
rights in the field of biomedicine, in particular with respect to
new scientific and technological advances. To that end, it follows
developments in the biomedical field to assess the ethical challenges.
5 Against this background, the Committee of Ministers would
inform the Assembly that, in the Programme of Activities for the
biennium 2014-2015, it is proposed to examine the scientific and
ethical challenges raised by emerging technologies, including nanotechnology.
This would encompass the preparation of studies to analyse the implications
for human rights of these technologies and their applications in
the biomedical field with a view to drafting a possible white paper.
6 Furthermore, the applications of nanotechnology outside the
field of biomedicine may have indirect effects on human health.
Their bioethical implications could be identified in the studies
7 The Committee of Ministers considers that this work brings
a first response to the issues raised by the Assembly.