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An introduction to the issue of human cloning in the united states

Copyright notice This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4. To view a copy of this license, visit http: Feelings run strong on both sides. It received only ambivalent support from UN member states.

  • The lack of enforcement power of the 2005 declaration, as a non-binding instrument, has also been noted;
  • We cannot know in which direction caution lies without having some rational basis for establishing the scale of likely dangers from pursuing particular programmes of research and innovation and comparing those with the on-going costs of failing to pursue that research to a conclusion;
  • Reinforcement of multilevel governance dynamics;
  • If deliberations were to emulate recent innovations in other intergovernmental fora, they might be improved further;
  • Journal of Legal Medicine; 35 2:

It found that the lack of clarity in international law is unhelpful for those states yet to formulate national regulations or policies on human cloning. This changed in 2015, but there has been no practical progress on the issue.

Drawing on official records and first-hand observations at bioethics meetings, this article examines the human cloning debate at UNESCO from 2008 onwards, thus building on and advancing current scholarship by applying recent ideas on global governance to an empirical case. It concludes that, although human reproductive cloning is a challenging subject, establishing a robust global governance framework in this area may be possible via an alternative deliberative format, based on knowledge sharing and feasibility testing rather than the interest-based bargaining that is common to intergovernmental organizations and involving a wide range of stakeholders.

This article is published as part of a collection on global governance. Its Bioethics Programme began in 1993.

The global governance of human cloning: the case of UNESCO

The organization deems itself uniquely placed to lead the way in setting bioethical standards, as the only UN agency with a mandate for both the human and social sciences UNESCO, 2016e. To this end, it has adopted three declarations on bioethics: Before long, however, it started to consider a fourth bioethics instrument, an international convention on human cloning. From 2008 to 2011 it investigated whether an international convention to ban human reproductive cloning is warranted.

As member states could not agree on a way forward, the issue was dropped in 2011 without a firm decision being made on the need or otherwise for a convention. This can be seen as a global governance failure. In 2014, the Bioethics Programme began to revisit the issue. This time there was greater consensus on the need for a ban on human reproductive cloning, but no practical progress has been made.

This article takes a traditional global governance scenario—a debate within a UN agency about whether to draft an international convention—and asks why the outcome was unsatisfactory. After a brief introduction to a developments in global governance and b the science and ethics of human cloning, the article charts the progress and ultimate collapse of the UNESCO cloning debate from 2008 to 2011 and developments from 2014 onwards.

It concludes that, although human reproductive cloning is a challenging subject, establishing a global governance framework in this area may be possible via an alternative deliberative format. Global governance Ruggie 2014: The old, hierarchical model of multilateral governance is considered too rigid Pauwelyn et al. Traditional intergovernmental organizations have not adapted to the increasing complexity of society and the ensuing need for flexible regulatory mechanisms that can keep pace with scientific development Pauwelyn et al.

  • Procreative liberty, enhancement and commodification in the human cloning debate;
  • Second Biennium of the 2014-2017 Quadrennium;
  • Ultimately, with consensus within and between the two committees proving elusive, the idea of a cloning convention dropped from their agendas in 2012.

These problems have led to changes and innovations in both the theory and practice of global governance Ruggie, 2014 ; Weiss and Wilkinson, 2014 ; Pegram and Acuto, 2015: As Pauwelyn et al. The international system is becoming more pluralist and less dominated by sovereign states pursuing narrow interests. There has been movement towards voluntary rather than binding regulation, as well as capacity building Pauwelyn et al.

Particularly for emerging areas, such as the internet, regulation has been informal, with no discussion of a legally binding treaty Pauwelyn et al. Human cloning and its current international regulation Although the idea of human cloning excites strong views, there is much confusion about what it would actually entail.

Cloning can take two forms: These terms are not scientifically accurate, but are commonly used nevertheless.

They stem from the process of somatic cell nuclear transfer, whereby an enucleated egg receives a nucleus from a somatic body cell. In reproductive cloning, the embryo is implanted into a female for gestation. Through this method, Dolly the Sheep became the first mammal to be cloned in July 1996. In therapeutic cloning, an embryo is harvested for stem cells rather than brought to term Wilmut et al. Although therapeutic cloning is held by many to have great potential medically, as a source of compatible tissue and organs for those who need transplants, it generates considerable controversy.

For people who see human life as beginning at fertilization, therapeutic cloning is also reproductive Isasi et al. Since the cloning of Dolly the Sheep, ethicists, lawyers and scientists have argued vigorously both for and against developing this technology for use in humans.

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Those in favour draw on liberal values, citing reproductive freedom, or hope that cloning will provide a new means to tackle infertility. Those against fear for the psychological health of the clone, who would be unable to enjoy what they see as the inherently human quality of having a unique identity.

Those on both sides mostly agree that, based on the poor success rate in animal cloning and the potential health risks to mother and child, on safety grounds it would be unethical to attempt human cloning currently Kass, 1998: In most cases, their laws refer to somatic cell nuclear transfer rather than cloning more generally and thus newer technologies are not covered Lo et al.

Several international and regional measures also prohibit human reproductive cloning: Hence, at the request of France and Germany, in 2001 the UN General Assembly began to deliberate on a binding treaty to prohibit human reproductive cloning.

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Four years of dispute and discord followed. Some states were concerned that an embargo on reproductive cloning specifically would implicitly endorse therapeutic or research cloning, whilst those wishing to pursue therapeutic cloning could not support a holistic ban.

With agreement on a binding convention seemingly elusive, the General Assembly opted for a non-binding declaration. It is considered too weak an instrument to either thwart rogue research or promote legitimate scientific endeavour Isasi and Annas, 2006: Each committee has 36 members.

Regular joint meetings of the two committees are also held. The IBC has various functions, including promoting bioethics education and reflection on ethical issues. The IBC works on the basis of 2-year Work Programmes human cloning, for example, featured in the 2008—2009 and 2010—2011 programmeswith reflections on particular topics being drafted by specially appointed Working Groups, comprising a small number of IBC members, over the 2-year cycle.

Each Group presents their work-in-progress at IBC and IGBC meetings and takes the views expressed at these meetings into account in their final reports.

Scholars from both within and without the Bioethics Programme have analysed its efficacy as a forum for ethical debate and standard-setting. The interest-based bargaining often seen within intergovernmental organizations led to vague wording on beginning and end of life issues and risk assessment, while controversial issues such as sex selection, gene therapy and stem cell research were left out entirely, as states could not reach a consensus on these Schmidt, 2007 ; Langlois, 2013.

However, there has been a lack of buy-in from the global bioethics community, particularly academics, who have questioned the expertise and representativeness of the IBC Cameron 2014: The lack of enforcement power of the 2005 declaration, as a non-binding instrument, has also been noted. Future Options for UN Governance. Many participants did not believe there had been sufficient change in national positions to avoid a repetition of the fractious debate and unsatisfactory outcome at the UN General Assembly a few years before.

On the other hand, some delegates underlined the potential utility of a convention for those developing countries yet to legislate on cloning UNESCO, 2010a: In response to these discussions, the Working Group was more cautious in its final report of June 2009.

Judging that the introduction of a new international normative instrument would be premature, it recommended increased global dialogue as an alternative UNESCO, 2009a: The cloning mandate continued into the next Work Programme of 2010—2011. On options for regulation, it found that a more robust instrument on human reproductive cloning than existed currently was needed, such as an international convention or moratorium UNESCO, 2010b: IBC members were unequivocal in expressing concern that the recent scientific developments have raised a need for a binding international legal instrument.

  • Thus better global governance in this area is needed;
  • Many participants did not believe there had been sufficient change in national positions to avoid a repetition of the fractious debate and unsatisfactory outcome at the UN General Assembly a few years before;
  • Global governance in the interregnum.

However, feedback by Member States of IGBC was indicative that the political hurdles that have prevented the realization of such instrument in the past are still in place.

It advocated ongoing dialogue instead, alongside support for states developing national regulations on cloning. Germany and Brazil also backed the status quo, prompting one IBC member to ask why in 2010 they believed a convention to be premature, when in 2001, the year the idea was first put to the UN, they had thought one timely. Meanwhile, some developing countries stated their desire for a convention on cloning but not necessarily a prohibitive one personal observations, Joint Session of the IBC and IGBC, October 2010.

This statement repeated the recommendations of the 2010 draft report, emphasizing that developing countries that do not have national regulations on human reproductive cloning are in particular need of a binding international convention or moratorium. At the ethical level, some members were not convinced that the potential for detrimental genetic determinism was a strong enough argument against reproductive cloning, whilst at the political level, some felt the committee could make little progress while consensus among states remained elusive personal observations, Eighteenth Session of the IBC, May—June 2011.

He also expressed his belief that consensus on a ban will always be impossible to achieve, because at its core the issue is philosophical rather than scientific, concerning the status of the early embryo. The June 2015 draft report of the Working Group appointed to this task reiterated the need for a ban on human reproductive cloning. The report addresses several issues that fall under the banner of the human genome and human rights, not just cloning.

Nevertheless, cloning is prominent. The first item is: The main text expands on this, to state that such experiments should be discouraged by not being allocated public funds, for instance and in some cases prohibited, where there is no medical justification and a risk to safety.

That this refers to cloning is made explicit, as follows: As shown above, some members of the IBC and IGBC believed that the reason why they failed to reach consensus during the first 4 years of debate on human cloning 2008—2011 was the inherently irresolvable nature of the problem itself.

  1. There has been movement towards voluntary rather than binding regulation, as well as capacity building Pauwelyn et al.
  2. It received only ambivalent support from UN member states.
  3. Acknowledgements The research for this article was funded by The Wellcome Trust grant ref 096024. It could be that, since the first human therapeutic or research cloning via somatic cell nuclear transfer took place in 2013 Tachibana et al.

But other controversial areas, such as business and human rights, have not proved immune to recent efforts towards policy and norm convergence Ruggie, 2014: Another possible explanation for the failure, then, is that the legal and organizational structures directing the deliberation did not lend themselves to consensual decision-making.

In the early 2000s the UN General Assembly had found that the old model of state-based treaty negotiation did not work for human cloning, when it failed to agree on a convention and chose a non-binding declaration instead.

In raising the possibility of a convention in 2008, UNESCO was going against the emerging trend within global governance towards voluntary rather than binding regulation, combined with capacity building. Germany, for example, which was one of the states that originally espoused the idea of a human cloning convention at the UN in 2001, now looks for other, less rigid means by which the goals of a proposed treaty can be reached Pauwelyn et al.

  1. Why we should ban the cloning of humans.
  2. EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Those on both sides mostly agree that, based on the poor success rate in animal cloning and the potential health risks to mother and child, on safety grounds it would be unethical to attempt human cloning currently Kass, 1998.
  3. Similarly, after the UN failed to adopt both a code of conduct and a set of norms on business and human rights after several years of trying, it piloted a different standard-setting method.

Within UNESCO, as in other intergovernmental organizations, it is states that make the final decisions, so even if in 2011 the IBC made up of independent experts had continued to insist on the desirability of a convention, it would only have had the power to recommend to member states that they take the idea forward.

As a treaty could be based on back-room deals between undemocratic states and yet be recognized as international law, they argue that formality is no guarantee of legitimacy, if the latter is assessed in terms of inclusiveness and effectiveness rather than tradition. Rather, the process by which agreement is reached is crucial, as well as the outcome. Careful, open and expert deliberation can lead to high quality outputs, which may or may not be legally binding Pauwelyn et al.

By sticking to a rigid definition of consensus at its 2011 meeting, the IBC effectively gave each member a veto.

One problem the Bioethics Programme has faced consistently is lack of time for in-depth discussion. At the IBC meeting in May—June 2011, for instance, the public session devoted to cloning lasted little more than an hour although the committee later continued its discussions in a private meeting. This was not unusual. The Bioethics Programme has already started to implement such changes. If deliberations were to emulate recent innovations in other intergovernmental fora, they might be improved further.

After its disappointing Copenhagen round in 2009, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has moved from formal treaty negotiations that encouraged bargaining and confrontation to workshops and roundtables designed to foster knowledge exchange.

Other stakeholders have also been given a stronger voice; the Paris conference of 2015 made space for NGOs, businesses and cities to share best practices. Furthermore, the Paris Agreement of December 2015 takes a bottom-up approach, in that it is based on Intended Nationally Determined Contributions pledged targets and actions by individual states Busby, 2016: Similarly, after the UN failed to adopt both a code of conduct and a set of norms on business and human rights after several years of trying, it piloted a different standard-setting method.