Brussels, 01 Sep 2004
Some 68 science academies are lobbying the United Nations to reject a US bid to impose a worldwide ban on all types of human cloning.
The Inter Academy Panel, the umbrella body for the world's national science academies, first released a statement in September 2003 objecting to the proposed ban, and has now asked members to send the statement to their national government ahead of the UN debate on the issue scheduled for October.
The Inter Academy Panel statement, endorsed by 13 EU Member States, reads: 'Cloning for research and therapeutic purposes [...] has considerable potential from a scientific perspective, and should be excluded from the ban on human cloning. Both policies should be reviewed periodically in the light of scientific and social developments.'
If the UN were to agree to a complete ban on cloning, members would not be compelled to sign up. However, researchers fear that such a treaty would nonetheless curb stem cell research, which many believe could lead to treatments for degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
'It is clear that if the convention bans all human cloning, the UK, and other countries which permit carefully regulated therapeutic cloning, will not sign up to it,' said Richard Gardner, from the UK's Royal Society. 'To effectively stop cowboy cloners claiming their work on human reproductive cloning is acceptable, because it is not outlawed throughout the world, a UN convention must be passed that all countries are willing to endorse,' he added. To access the Inter Academy Panel statement, please visit: http://www4.nationalacademies.org/iap/ia phome.nsf/weblinks/WWWW-5RHFLT?OpenDocum ent