Letter from the Presidents of the ABA and the IAB

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 13 (2003), 106.


We the undersigned met in Cape Town on 20 March to discuss the recent open correspondence between us as Presidents of our respective associations. We reviewed the issues that led up to that correspondence and agreed to move forward rather than to reflect on any shortcomings of these organisations or on their communications with each other. We had no difficulty in agreeing to the following:

1. Bioethics is an important and highly valued endeavour within countries/regions and globally.

2. All of us who work in Bioethics through national bodies and international organisations have similar aspirations for improving human life and relationships.

3. While we may have different perspectives on many issues we also have much in common and we could all benefit from mutually respectful collegial interactions

4. The current constitution of the IAB is intended to allow for representation from all regions in the world and the constitution of the ABA allows for representation from all regions in Asia. These constitutions should be mutually respected and, if necessary, changed through appropriate processes.

5. Controversies between different regions or different bioethics associations on specific issues should be resolved through dialogue and negotiation that seeks common ground while preserving independence and diversity.

6. Over the past decade successful IAB World Congresses on Bioethics have been held in Amsterdam, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Japan, London and Brasilia. The 7th World Congress on Bioethics is scheduled to be held in the Sydney in the Pacific region. The ABA has also held many very successful Congresses in China, Japan and Korea.

7. Ongoing efforts should be made to support the work of both the Asian Bioethics Association and the International Association of Bioethics and to arrange jointly sponsored meetings in locations that promote our international aspirations for bioethics.

8. We look forward to close co-operation in taking forward the bioethics endeavour at international and global levels.

Solomon R Benatar, President, International Association
Ren-Zong Qiu, President, Asian Bioethics Association of Bioethics


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