Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC)

The Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) was created in 1998, under Article 11 of the Statutes of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC). It is comprised of 36 Member States whose representatives meet at least once every two years to examine the advice and recommendations of the IBC. It informs the IBC of its opinions and submits these opinions along with proposals for follow-up of the IBC's work to UNESCO's Director-General for transmission to Member States, the Executive Board and the General Conference.

What States are members of the IGBC?

Algeria Germany* Mali
Austria Greece* Mexico
Belgium Guatemala* Nicaragua*
Brazil* Guinea Niger*
Cameroon India Oman
Colombia Iran Republic of Korea
Côte d’Ivoire* Japan Russian Federation
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Kenya* Singapore*
Dominican Republic Libya Slovakia*
France* Lithuania* Sudan
Finland Madagascar* Togo*
Georgia* Malaysia Turkey*

* States elected at the 37th session of the General Conference; members of the IGBC until the end of the 39th session (Autumn 2017).

The other States remain members until the end of the 40th session (Autumn 2019).

How are the IGBC members chosen?

The 36 Member States are elected by UNESCO's General Conference taking into account cultural diversity and balanced geographical representation. Members serve for terms of about four years, from the end of the ordinary session of the General Conference in which they are elected until the end of the second subsequent ordinary session.

Who can participate in IGBC sessions?

  • Member States, Associate Members of UNESCO may take part as official observers in the meetings of the IGBC, while non-Member States that have set up a permanent observer mission may do so at the invitation of the Director-General.
  • The United Nations and the other organizations of the United Nations system that have an agreement with UNESCO for reciprocal representation may also take part as observers in the meetings of the IGBC.
  • International governmental or non-governmental organizations with similar objectives to those of the IGBC may be invited to take part as observers in the meetings of the IGBC.
  • Specialists or other relevant persons or groups may be consulted on matters within the competence of the IGBC.
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