Bioethics in UNESCO

Ethical principles, which should rule scientific progress, have been a constant concern for UNESCO, both at micro (concerning/regarding individual interventions) and macro levels, since they entail consequences on humanity and the entire planet.

It was the first United Nations organization to take a particular interest in bioethics, creating a Programme and a Bioethics Division in 1993 that belongs to the Social and Human Sciences sector, by the hand of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC).

The IBC is composed of experts from all countries, who deliver various documents which have made a fundamental contribution to the convergence of thoughts/converging thoughts from different fields and regional cultures of the world. Nevertheless, bioethics is rooted in the core principles that gave birth to UNESCO, closely observing/analyzing respect for human rights, democratization of knowledge, promoting the ethics of joint liability and values like peace, to establish the conditions that make human life on earth possible.

Bioethics and Human Rights have, in this way, a clear and indivisible link, and from there tackle the different issues emerging together with scientific development and technical application, with opportunities for a future life on earth and social conditions for human beings.

UNESCO has drawn up three declarations that bring a normative framework for the development of various scientific and biotechnological practices. These have an impact on life and human health, but at the same time (they) must address the ethical issues that emerge from conditions of inequity and injustice, of marginality, social exclusion, poverty and other factors seriously violating human rights.

In addition to these/those influential statements, UNESCO also has a programme of action within the Social and Human Sciences Sector and the Division of Ethics of Science and Technology.

At regional level, since February 2008 the Bioethics and Science Ethics Programme was implemented in the UNESCO Montevideo Office. Not only does it offer to carry out the main bioethics lines of action, it also establishes collaboration/cooperation with the other SHS programmes as well as with other external programmes, in particular with the Natural Sciences sector. It thus creates a line of action which is/that is clearly interdisciplinary/ a clear interdisciplinary line of action inclined/which tends to promote ethical values for human development in a world currently going through/experiencing scientific and technological progress, but also injustice and inequity conditions. It is necessary to have a bioethics for/in Latin America and the Caribbean that cares/to care about those aspects.

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