21st Session of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC)

Joint Session of the IBC and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC)

UNESCO Paris, France, 8-12 September 2014

The 21st (Ordinary) Session of the IBC and the Joint Session of the IBC and the IGBC attracted approximately 252 participants from 78 different countries, gathering representatives of Member States as well as representatives of international organizations and NGOs, and other external partners.

32 of the 36 IBC members attended the sessions, while 33 of the 36 IGBC Member States were represented as follows: Argentina, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mexico, New Zealand, Niger, Pakistan, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, and Zambia.

In order to streamline the work methods of the two Committees, the public meetings of the 21st Session of the IBC were held in conjunction with the Joint Session of the IBC and the IGBC on 9 and 10 September 2014.

Meetings reserved only for members of the IBC took place on 8, 11 and 12 September 2014.

Based on the IBC Work Programme for 2014-2015, and in consultation with the Chairpersons of the IBC and the IGBC, the two main topics discussed during these sessions were the elaboration of the principle of the sharing of benefits as set out in Article 15 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005), and the update of the IBC’s reflection on the human genome and human rights.

In addition, the revision of the Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers (1974) was also included as an item for discussion, so as to ensure that the feedback of the two Committees is taken into consideration in this process. The outcome of this reflection contributed into the discussion of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) on this item during its session in October 2014. This is intended as a first step towards closer collaboration of the IBC, the IGBC and COMEST.

Furthermore, an item was added about the current global reflection on addressing the ethical aspects of converging technologies. It should be pointed out that this item should not be considered part of the IBC Work Programme for 2014-2015, but rather as an opportunity for the IBC and the IGBC to be informed about and participate in an intellectually stimulating topic currently being discussed within the international community. It is envisioned that such global reflection items will be included in future sessions as a way of strengthening the sharing of information by UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations working in bioethics and ethics of science and technology, with the IBC and the IGBC.

Working documents of the meeting will be made available on this webpage prior to the Session.

Information Documents

Working Documents


International Bioethics Committee (IBC)
Division of Ethics, Youth and Sport
Tel.: + 33 (0)1 45 68 38 57 / 39 45
Fax: + 33 (0)1 45 68 55 15
E-mail: ibc(at)unesco.org

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