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Bioethics - More ...
The Programme develops four main action areas:

Intellectual forum

The Programme provides an intellectual forum for multidisciplinary, pluralistic and multicultural reflection on bioethics, in particular through the IBC and the IGBC and by organizing and participating in conferences, symposiums, etc.

UNESCO intends in this way to foster both national and international debate on the major ethical issues arising from recent developments in the life sciences and their applications in order to work out ethical guidelines for the international community and Member States.

Standard-setting action

The Programme aims to define and promote a common ethical standard-setting framework that States can use in formulating and putting into practice their own policies in the field of bioethics. The Programme’s first major success in this area was the adoption of the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights by the General Conference in 1997. Recently, the International Declaration on Human Genetic Data, which is a sequel of the Universal Declaration and a modality of its implementation, was adopted unanimously and by acclamation by the General Conference at its 32nd Session, on 16 October 2003.

Advisory role and capacity-building

The Programme acts as an adviser to Member States wishing to promote reflection and debate on bioethics, to set up national ethics committees and to define national standards and/or legislation in the field. The Programme also contributes to national and regional capacity building by facilitating the establishment of networks of institutions and specialists concerned with bioethics, and encourages the establishment or strengthening of regional bioethics information and documentation centres.

The Programme endeavours to identify ethical issues for specific regions in an effort to define and implement appropriate strategies for the promotion and development of ethical reflection in these areas.

Education and awareness raising

The Programme takes part in education and awareness raising of bioethics among specialists (researchers, jurists, journalists, etc.), decision-makers, the general public and specific target groups. At university level, the UNESCO Chairs in Bioethics facilitate regional cooperation between universities and UNESCO in bioethics education. UNESCO also identifies universities that offer bioethics education in order to foster exchanges, in particular by connecting them with the Network of Institutions for Medical Ethics Education (NIMED).



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