Extra-ordinary Session of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)


One week after the closure of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), the extraordinary session of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) will offer an opportunity for experts, governments and international communities to discuss if we are going in the right direction and, if not, what we should do to build an inclusive, equitable and sustainable future.

As indicated in Rio+20, the rapid development of science and technology has brought unprecedented prosperity, but also challenges to societies, sometimes resulting in serious threats to the sustainability of humanity. However, what we have to understand is that science and technology itself is neither good nor bad. It is us, human beings, who drive science and technology in the right or wrong direction. Therefore, the search for a solution to the current and emerging challenges we are facing should begin with questioning the way we think and live. For this we need ethics, which is what the COMEST meeting is about.

The three-day meeting will focus on four domains; 1) Ethics and Climate Change; 2) Science Ethics; 3) Development Ethics; and 4) Ethics of Nanotechnologies and Converging Technologies. It will bring together 18 individual members from all around the world, along with the representatives of the UNESCO's international science programmes and global science communities including the International Bioethics Committee (IBC), the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs and delegates from UNESCO’s Member States who are invited as observers.

The meeting is open to the public, except for the private session on the first day. On 2 and 3 July, the meeting will take place in UNESCO Headquarters, and on 4 July it will be hosted at the French Academy of Sciences (23 quai de Conti 75006 Paris).

The meeting was made possible by the generous financial support of the Foundation Bettencourt Schueller.


Type of Event Category 5-Advisory Committee
Start 02.07.2012 08:00 local time
End 04.07.2012 16:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Crowley, John
Organizer UNESCO
Contact j.crowley@unesco.org
Country France
City Paris
Venue UNESCO Headquarters
Street 7, place de Fontenoy
Room Room XIV
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event
Estimated number of participants
Official Website World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST)
Link 1 Preliminary Agenda
Link 2
Link 3
Link 4