Building peace in the minds of men and women

Discrimination related to scientific progress at the heart of the 20th Session of the International Bioethics Committee in Seoul

The new risks of discrimination and the new responsibilities induced by the advances in biomedicine (biobanks, access to drugs, transplant and organ trafficking, as well as tissue and cell trafficking, neuroscience, HIV/AIDS and nanotechnologies), will be the focus of discussions at the 20th Session of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) to be held from 19 to 21 June 2013, in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Indeed, during this session, which will mark the 20th anniversary of the creation of this consultative body established by UNESCO in 1993, a new IBC Draft Report on the principle of non-discrimination and non-stigmatization, as set out in Article 11 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005) will be examined and possibly finalized to be submitted to the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) to be held at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris, on 5 and 6 September 2013.

Amongst other issues on the agenda, this session will also offer participants the opportunity to exchange experiences, perspectives and new ethical challenges for bioethics in Asia and the Pacific. Bioethics in the post-2015 international sustainable development agenda will also be discussed.

Moreover, the IBC will be considering its work programme for 2014-2015 and elect a new Bureau for the coming two years during this Session.

Co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea, and organized in cooperation with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO, Yonsei University and the National Project for Personalized Genomic Medicine, this session is also sponsored by the Korea National Institute for Bioethics Policy, Yonsei University School of Public Health and Asian Institute for Bioethics and Health Law, Korean Foundation for International Healthcare and Asiana Airlines.

The IBC, the only body with international scope regarding bioethics, was created in 1993 and is composed of 36 independents experts appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO for a 4-year mandate. These experts in life sciences and social sciences release conclusions and recommendations on specific issues related to the application of scientific advancements while respecting the principle of dignity and freedom of the human being.

Created in 1998, the IGBC gathers 36 Member States elected by the General Conference of UNESCO for a 4-year mandate. It informs the IBC of its opinions and submits these opinions along with proposals for follow-up of the IBC's work to the Director-General of UNESCO for transmission to Member States, the Executive Board and the General Conference.