International Panel “Philosophy and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits of Science”

©Ruedi Baur
Poster for the Celebration of World Philosophy Day 2011 at UNESCO

In terms of knowledge sharing, our “knowledge society” seems to be characterized by some kind of democratization of knowledge, made possible by globalization, free circulation of ideas and development of new technologies. In terms of benefit sharing in the field of science, the current ethical perspective is that those who contribute to science ought to share in its benefits; otherwise, the advancement of science can be considered exploitative.

In terms of rights, the “right to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” found its place already in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and guaranteed a place in the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). In 2005, the right to share the benefits of scientific progress was firmly placed within the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights.

However, from a pragmatic perspective, one may ask: Would the holders of scientific knowledge, hence of the power that derives from it, be willing to share the whole or part of it with the rest of humankind? What is the equation between peace, justice, science and power? This opens a whole range of philosophical, ethical and legal questions, requiring us to revisit the concepts of “knowledge sharing” and of “benefit sharing”. Moreover, how can the existing international normative framework of human rights help to address the sensitive issue of equitable sharing as a condition of peace and social justice?


Type of Event Category 8-Symposium
Start 17.11.2011 09:00 local time
End 17.11.2011 12:00 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Goucha, Moufida
Organizer UNESCO
Contact Philosophy and Democracy Section,, +33 (0)1 45 68 45 52
Country France
City Paris
Venue UNESCO Headquarters
Street 7, place de Fontenoy
Room Room XI
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event English, French
Estimated number of participants 200
Official Website Philosophy Day at UNESCO
Link 1 Programme [PDF, 30 KB]
Link 2 World Philosophy Day 2011
Link 3
Link 4