Over the past decades, medical and biotechnological developments and their implications for social and human development have called for a position on which applications of the new technologies suit humanity.
These advances have the power to give rise to a different view of life and of each individual, opening the way to profound social changes, with a global impact that will extend to future generations.
The election and appointment of members of the CNECV is the responsibility of different entities, either sovereign bodies or those under their jurisdiction, or from professional associations, academia or various areas of civil society, in order to give the Council a diversified character and representative of a balanced involvement of Portuguese society, as well as of its main professional areas and ethical currents. The President and Vice-President are elected from among their peers.
Mission: to examine the ethical problems raised by scientific advances, in permanent dialogue with decision-makers and civil society.
Vision: to be the reference entity for ethical deliberation in Portugal, within the framework of an enlightened society and participatory democracy
Institutional values: Independence, Rigour and Multi/Transdisciplinarity.
Created in 1990 and operating in the Portuguese Parliament since 2009, the National Council of Ethics for the Life Sciences (CNECV) is an independent consultative body whose mission is to analyse the ethical issues raised by scientific progress in the fields of biology, medicine or health in general and the life sciences.
The CNECV produces opinions, reports, position papers and other documents for study and reflection. It organises and participates in working groups, seminars, conferences and meetings at national and international level and seeks to raise awareness and ethical reflection and dialogue with civil society by presenting publicly the matters submitted for its analysis.
Scientific and technological advances in recent decades have made it technically possible to interfere with the very core of human and non-human life. Examples include genetic engineering, gene therapy, medically assisted procreation or, more recently, the complete sequencing of the human genome and that of other species.
These and other advances represent new powers, with repercussions in areas such as the environment, the family, society, security, legislation and policies, as well as in their psychological, philosophical and religious frameworks.
Faced with their responsibility, with such far-reaching consequences, it was scientists themselves who, in the 1970s, alerted society to the need to take a stand on the advances in science and the applications of new technologies.
This reflection is transdisciplinary and requires the contribution of various fields of knowledge: philosophers, psychologists, sociologists, political scientists, jurists and humanists from various sectors, in dialogues that are open to the public, impartial and plural, which can guide towards prudent decisions. The aim of Bioethics is in no way to hinder the progress of science and technology. On the contrary, it aims to raise the quality of the knowledge generated, promoting the self-realization of the human person and the sustainability of life on Earth.