The major goal of the project is to develop bioethical standards for optimizing humans’ relationships towards their own health as well as towards animals, plants and the environment. These standards will be based on the principles and theory of European bioethics combined with the experiences and realistic ambitions of local communities (e.g., local governments and non-governmental organisations).
Pilot research will take place in three northern Adriatic communities: Kršan and Bakar, which were recently seriously jeopardised by industry, and Mali Lošinj, a careful but fragile community. Bioethical standards will be formulated through workshops, negotiations, talks and conferences by participating local stakeholders (including civil society) and an interdisciplinary collection of scientists from Croatia, Serbia and Germany.
Bioethics is a discipline which might instigate multi-perspective approaches to complex environmental issues. By applying the results of scientific and philosophical research to concrete problems of endangered communities, the research itself is supposed to gain volume and sense. If the work on forming bioethical standards results in increasing local consciousness of issues, this might become a good practice worthy of repeating and disseminating.
Implementation of bioethical standards may reduce certain health risks and increase tourism. By taking into account both scientific and non-scientific (e.g., religious, artistic, cultural) perspectives, the integrative bioethics methodology helps create solutions through the accumulation of ‘orientational knowledge’.
Workshops will promote dialogue between stakeholders regarding quality of life issues and major problems in environmental protection. Once bioethical standards are implemented, they may become instruments of mutual monitoring between communities and politicians. Future workshops can revise standards as external factors change.
To date, the project has successfully promoted public and institutional engagement in local issues, using ethically acceptable and socially desirable R&I practices. Bioethical standards developed in the pilot communities could potentially be applied at other localities and regions in Europe, and even abroad, with modifications appropriate to the particular issues in a given area.
This project shows how bioethical theory can be practically applied. It is also an example of how RRI standards can help establish partnerships between academic communities and local authorities, develop environmental awareness in local communities and potentially benefit local economies through increased tourism.