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* France Mexico*
Austria* Germany Namibia
Azerbaijan Guinea* Niger
Belgium* Hungary Oman*
Cameroon* India* Republic of Korea*
Colombia* Iran* Russian Federation*
Congo Japan* Singapore
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea* Kenya Sudan*
Democratic Republic of the Congo Libya* United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Dominican Republic* Lithuania Uruguay
Ecuador Malaysia*  
Finland* Mali*  

* States elected at the 38th session of the General Conference; members of the IGBC until the end of the 40th session (Autumn 2019).

The other States remain members until the end of the 42nd session (Autumn 2021).

** During the 39th session of the General Conference, Group I presented three candidates for four vacant seats and Group III presented two candidates for three vacant seats in their respective electoral groups. As a result, 14 members were proposed for election by the General Conference at its 39th session. The remaining seats will be open for election at the 40th session of the General Conference.

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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