You are viewing an archived web page, collected at the request of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) using Archive-It. This page was captured on 02:52:22 Nov 30, 2016, and is part of the UNESCO collection. The information on this web page may be out of date. See All versions of this archived page.
Loading media information hide
Print this page
Stem cell research, genetic testing, cloning: progress in the life sciences is giving human beings new power to improve our health and control the development processes of all living species. Concerns about the social, cultural, legal and ethical implications of such progress have led to one of the most significant debates of the past century. A new word has been coined to encompass these concerns: bioethics.

International Bioethics Committee (IBC):Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC):

European Commission-UNESCO Conference: Joint Action for Capacity-building in Bioethics (JACOB), Mexico City, Mexico, 26-28 November 2009

Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights
The General Conference, at its 33rd session, adopted by acclamation the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, on 19 October 2005.

Brochure of the Declaration
English | Español | Français | Русский | العربية | 中文

Also available in Hebrew | Português | Norsk

(available upon request from the Division of Ethics of Science and Technology)

> Text of the Declaration
English | Français | Español | العربية | 中文 | Русский

> More ...

More about Bioethics

Since the 1970s, UNESCO's involvement in the field of bioethics has reflected the international dimensions of this debate. Founded on the belief that there can be no peace without the intellectual and moral solidarity of humankind, UNESCO tries to involve all countries in this international and transcultural discussion.

The UNESCO Bioethics Programme was created in 1993. Bioethics belongs to ethics of science and technology, one of the five principal priorities of UNESCO. The first major success of the Bioethics Programme occurred in 1997, when the General Conference adopted the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, the only international instrument in the field of bioethics, which was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1998.

UNESCO's ethical watch mandate justifies itself day by day and is becoming increasingly necessary in light of recent scientific developments and their far-reaching implications for society. With its standard-setting work and unique multicultural and multidisciplinary intellectual forums, the Programme has confirmed UNESCO’s leading role in bioethics at the international level.

The Bioethics Programme is part of UNESCO’s Division of the Ethics of Science and Technology in the Social and Human Sciences Sector. It is primarily responsible for the Secretariat of two advisory bodies: the International Bioethics Committee (IBC), composed of 36 independent experts, and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC), composed of representatives of 36 Member States. These Committees cooperate to produce advice, recommendations and proposals that each submits to the Director-General for consideration by UNESCO’s governing bodies.

The Programme develops four main action areas:


NewsBioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology: A Regional Documentation Centre to be inaugurated in Cairo  2010-03-25 2:40 pm UNESCO
A Regional Documentation and Information Centre for Bioethics and Ethics of Science and Technology (RDIC-BEST) will be inaugurated on 29 March 2010 in Cairo, Egypt, at the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology of Egypt.
NewsEthics Teacher Training Course in Croatia 2010-03-10 9:00 am UNESCO
Ethics Teacher Training Courses are set up in order to provide training to ethics teachers with the purpose to enhance their skills and abilities. They aim particularly on training a younger generation of teachers so that ethics teaching programs in the near future can expand and improve in all Member States of UNESCO. The next course will take place at the Inter University Centre in Dubrovnik (Republic of Croatia) from 28 June to 2 July 2010.
NewsProfessor Renzong Qiu receives the 2009 Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science at UNESCO  2009-12-11 5:00 pm UNESCO
The Director-General of UNESCO has awarded the 2009 Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science to Professor Renzong Qiu (People’s Republic of China). The laureate was honoured formally by the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Mr Marcio Barbosa, on behalf of the Director-General, at a ceremony that took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 18 December 2009.
NewsJust published: "Report of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee on consent" 2008-12-05 1:00 pm
The Report of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee (IBC) has just been published as the first issue of a new series. The latter intends to effectively and broadly disseminate IBC’s reflection and deliberations on specific principles of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005). Thus, it aims to foster reflection and facilitate action of stakeholders concerned.

Have feedback? Email the SHS Webmaster