UNESCO – as the lead UN agency in bioethics - has been promoting universal bioethical norms and principles, and assisted countries in the translation of those principles to concrete policy outcomes for their citizens.
Stem cell research, genetic testing, cloning: progress in the life sciences is giving human beings new power to improve our health and control the development processes of all living species. Concerns about the social, cultural, legal and ethical implications of such progress have led to one of the most significant debates of the past century. The term coined to encompass these various concerns is bioethics.
By joining forces with UNESCO, partners can help:
- Ensure support for the establishment and consolidation of the National Bioethics Committees
- Develop the Ethics Education Programme which includes:
a) Core Curriculum in Bioethics – promoting the core bioethics curriculum developed by UNESCO to be introduced in Universities across a given region;
b) Ethics Teachers Training Course – training a new generation of young scientists and professionals in the teaching of ethics at the University and School levels.
c) Establish and link networks to promote the teaching of ethics.
The UNESCO Bioethics Programme ties together three key areas of work:
(1) standard-setting: the three declarations in this field, which have served as the blueprint for many regional and national legal instruments;
(2) global reflection: the International Bioethics Committee that guides policymakers through a complex maze of ethical principles; and
(3) capacity-building: using education and technical assistance for bioethics committees to build robust national bioethics infrastructures around the world.