Extraordinary Session of COMEST
At the kind invitation of the Government of Quebec, the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) will hold its Extraordinary Session from 1 to 2 October 2014 in Quebec, Canada. The meeting is jointly organized by UNESCO and the Science and Technology Ethics Commission of Quebec and will be hosted by Laval University. It will be an opportunity for COMEST to extend the ethical issues concerning science and technology and to enlarge the debates that the Commission will hold for the first time on the continent of North America. The Extraordinary Session of COMEST is organized with support of the Canadian National Commission for UNESCO and a number of governmental and non-governmental organizations in Quebec.
Given the importance of COMEST’s work in the areas of science ethics and ethical challenges relating to new technologies, key areas that will be discussed at the meeting are:
- Presentation of new COMEST members, review of work programme since the Eighth Ordinary Session of COMEST (Bratislava, Slovakia, 27-29 May 2013), workplans for 2014-2015, objectives, and future directions for COMEST, including the relation between COMEST and the International Bioethics Committee (IBC), the composition and management of Working Groups, and the preparation of the 2015 Ordinary Session.
- Issues relating to the revision of the 1974 Recommendation on the Status of Scientific Researchers in the light of the decision of the General Conference of UNESCO, adopted at its 37th session held in November 2013 to engage in the process of the revision of this Recommendation for a period of four years, which will start with an informal public consultation, followed by a formal consultation of all UNESCO Member States, as well as of the debates which were held by the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) at its 21st session and by the joint IBC and Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) session held from 9 to 10 September 2014 at UNESCO Headquarters.
- Ethics of converging technologies: global reflection on the contribution to the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.
After the Extraordinary Session of COMEST, an International Symposium entitled « Addressing Water Security Challenges: Policy, Technical and Ethical Responses » will be organized, on 3 October 2014, by the "Institut Hydro-Québec en environnement, développement et société" (Hydro-Québec Institution on Environment, Development and Society) of Laval University and UNESCO in partnership with the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, the Government of Quebec, Hydro Quebec and “Fondation de la faune du Québec” (Wildlife Foundation of Quebec) with the participation of the members of COMEST. The meeting will be an excellent opportunity to exchange views between the Canadian and international experts on urgent policy issues relating to water and the emerging issues in water ethics based on COMEST’s earlier work and its 2004 report on “Best Ethical Practice in Water Use”.