Human Cloning and International Governance

Subsequent to the publication in 2007 by the Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), United Nations University of the report entitled Is Human Reproductive Cloning Inevitable: Future options for UN Governance, the Director-General of UNESCO expressed his wish that the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) add the examination of this report to its agenda.

The issue of human cloning and international governance was therefore added to the work programme of IBC for 2008-2009 and a working group was established under the chairmanship of Professor (Mr) Toivo MAIMETS (Estonia).

On the basis of the deliberations of the IBC working group, discussions held during the fifteenth session of IBC and the joint session of IBC and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) in October 2008, IBC finalized its Report on Human Cloning and International Governance [PDF, 297 KB] and transmitted it to the Director-General of UNESCO on 9 June 2009.

At its 16th session (Mexico, November 2009), IBC organized a working session on this issue during which it held a first reflection on the follow up to be given to its report on this issue and explore the best modalities to pursue the debate.

Based on these findings, the Bureau of IBC decided to continue the work on the issue of human cloning and international governance in 2010-2011, by confirming and expanding the working group on this topic under the chairmanship of Professor (Mr) Toivo Maimets, Vice-chairperson of IBC.  The working group is focusing on three main areas:  terminology and its ethical impact (including reviewing the Report on the use of embryonic stem cells in therapeutic research, Ref. BIO-7/00/GT-1/2 (Rev. 3) of 6 April 2001); different options for legal regulation of human reproductive cloning (including the possibility of a moratorium); and proposals for dissemination activities concerning the issue of human cloning and its governance.

Based on the Report of the IBC working group on human cloning and international governance, the 17th session of IBC and the joint session of IBC and IGBC (October 2010) focused on these three major issues.

IBC will strive to finalize its follow up report on the issue for its next session in 2011, giving an opportunity for IGBC to thoroughly examine the issue at its next session in July 2011.

Relevant documents

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