Around 120 representatives of companies, research and administration from the Baltic countries met in Kiel between the 3rd and 5th of March in this conference, organised by the Peace Research Unit Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-University, and INES. A background for the theme of the conference is the fact that expenditure on military production will decline by 40-50% between the end of the 1980's and the year 2000. The conversion problem in the East is intimately connected with the transition to a market economy. In the former Soviet Union, the military production has been reduced more than the civilian production. Programs for diversification and conversion exist both in the former Soviet Union and in the European Union (EU). In Russia, 0.4% of the state budget is given to conversion, and in the EU 500 million ECU will be spent during the period 1994-97 in the program KONVER II for conversion with a regional emphasis.
The conference was very well organised, according to the unanimous opinion of the participants. The credit for this goes mainly to the local organisers, among whom Martin Grundmann of the Peace Research Unit Kiel bore the heaviest burden.
The program contained two plenary sessions and five parallel working groups. Many highly interesting papers were presented, and some of these will be published in future issues of this Newsletter, as lack of support has led to the cessation of the publication of the INESCO Newsletter, at least for the time being.
The next meeting of the INES Council will take place in Budapest, Hungary, between the 30th of June and 2nd of July this year. The venue of the meeting is the Hotel Ventura on the Buda side). If you wish to receive further information about the meeting, contact the INES Network office as soon as possible.
The INES Standing Committee on Ethical Questions has worked out a revised draft of an INES appeal to scientists. Feedback from INES members on the previous draft has been included. The Committee asks all individual members and member organisations to take a second careful look at the draft. The eventual goal is to have the appeal distributed as widely as possible by all INES member organisations and by other means. Signatures of the pledges will be received and kept by the Centre for Research Ethics, Goteborg, Sweden.
In as far as science produces technology and technology produces industry, both exert a formative influence on the social and political development of industrial civilization throughout the world. In many respects science has made our life easier, richer and safer. In its origins science is a most human venture in search of truth about our world. But nevertheless science, as it is, suffers from a deep ambivalence. Its results can be used for good and misused for evil. Technological consequences are now so ramified and interconnected, so sweeping in unforeseen results, that they endanger basic requirements for sustaining life on earth.
There is no doubt that without generally accepted ethical guide- lines science and technology can damage the future of society. The greatest challenge of our time is to enable a life in human dignity to all members of the still growing world population in a manner, which is sustainable for humankind and nature. In meeting this challenge, science and technology - if used in the right way - play a decisive role either by providing the necessary means or by analyzing the various consequences of human activities.
There is no doubt that, in this situation, the interests of humanity and life as a whole have absolute precedence over particular interests. Knowledge gives power, power may corrupt and can be used for dangerous and destructive purposes. Therefore social systems and institutions on the national and international level are urgently needed for securing the ethical determination of science and technology.
Science and technology are decisive factors in the unlimited economic growth which is threatening the ecological stability of the biosphere. Secrecy of scientific-technological research allows its misuse. One of the worst misuses is the development of weapons of mass destruction. Therefore secrecy and the development of weapons are morally most dubious.
Our desire and our vision is a science which seeks to approach the truth in an open discourse between its disciplines. Science must respect human rights and human dignity unconditionally and not degrade people into objects.
In the last decades several initiatives promoting ethical pledges of scientists have been launched. The values underlying these pledges could be the foundation of a worldwide community of responsibility.
In an endeavour to harmonize existing pledges we propose the following code of ethics in science in accordance with the UNESCO declaration for scientific professionals of November 1974:
Pledge of scientists
1. I acknowledge that in my function as a scientist I have a special responsibility for the future of humankind and the sustaining of life as a whole. Therefore I am willing to reflect upon my scientific work and its possible consequences in advance and to judge it according to ethical standards. I will do this even though it is very difficult to foresee all possible consequences and even if I have no direct influence on them. I will do my best to ensure that my work is not misused for morally reprehensible purposes such as threatening human life or destroying the environment. In particular I pledge not to take part in the development and production weapons of mass destruction and of weapons which are banned by international conventions. I'm aware that even conventional weapons like guns and mines can contribute to mass destruction. I will work towards bringing the arms trade and the transfer of military technology under strict international control.
2. I wish to use my knowledge and ability primarily for the protection and enrichment of life. I will respect the dignity of human life and pay reverence to all forms of life in their interconnection.
Neither curiosity nor pressure to succeed shall tempt me to put life at risk or to damage it. If there are indications that my work could produce serious dangers, I am willing to abstain until its harmlessness is carefully assessed. If necessary and appropriate I will inform the public.
3. In addition I pledge to oppose the utilization of all discoveries made by others which, I believe, are life-threa- tenening or disturbing natural balances.
4. As a scientist I pledge to be truthful. I am willing to subject the assumptions, methods, findings and goals of my work, including its possible impact on humanity and on the environment, to a free and critical discussion. To the best of my ability I shall contribute to public understanding of science. I shall support public participation in a critical discussion of ethical problems of science. I am willing to carefully consider the arguments from such discussions which might question my work or its impact.
5. I will enhance the awareness of ethical principles and the resulting obligations among scientists. I will join fellow scientists willing to take responsibility . I shall support colleagues who might experience professional disadvantages in attempting to live up to the principles of this pledge. I will support the creation and work of institutions that enable scientists to exercise their responsibility according to this pledge more effectively.
6. To the best of my ability I will support research projects dealing with the solution of vital problems of humankind while at the same time regognizing the need for basic science. Special attention must be payed to the problems of the disadvantaged as well as to disarmament and to the peace- ful solution of conflicts.
7. Since the results of scientific research ultimately belong to the whole humankind I will stand up for their publication in general. The participation in secret research projects which serve particular economic or military interests requires my conscientious decision. Prejudices with respect to gender, religion, ethnic origin, race, culture or colour, as well as material advantages and political, national or economic loyalties will not influence my duty to the present and future generations.
Please send your suggestions and comments before 15 June 1995 to
IANUS, in cooperation with UNIDIR and INESAP, is arranging a workshop with the above title in Geneva (Palais des Nations), on the 29th and 30th June, 1995. The aim of the workshop is to advance scientific and technical understanding of the scope and verification of a cutoff agreement, as well as establishing a tight science-politics interface. Attendance is by invitation only, so those interested in attending or in receiving further information should contact:
Return to INES Home Page