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Joint statement on the Ebola virus epidemic by UNESCO bioethics committees

On 10 september 2014, the joint session of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC) made the following statement on the ebola virus epidemic:

1. Fully endorsing the actions carried out by the United Nations, and particularly, the leading role of the WHO,

2. Reaffirming the role of UNESCO in the field of bioethics and the mobilization against some scourges and neglected diseases,

3. Emphasizing the principles of social responsibility and solidarity; personal dignity, equality, justice, non-discrimination, and the other relevant principles included in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights,

4. The International Bioethics Committee (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC), gathered on the 9th and 10th of September 2014 in joint session, solemnly call upon the international community and States to:

i. Define and implement strategies to fight the epidemic that involve local populations and which take into account the particular context within the affected countries, including their ethical, social and cultural dimensions,

ii. Reinforce the capacities of the health systems of the States affected by this epidemic so that they may face the epidemic financially, materially and from an organizational and human point of view, as well as to prevent its spread and to control it now and in the future,

iii. Encourage, in accordance with the level of the seriousness of this public health crisis, the efforts carried out in the field of scientific research,

iv. Encourage the efforts of the scientific community, with a view to the development of adequate treatments and efforts for assessing the effectiveness of treatments in the framework of ethical management of epidemics,

v. Reinforce, to this end, the mechanisms of coordination among researchers.