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Ethics (bioethics)

Slovak Bioethics Committee

About bioethics in general:

Progress in the field of stem cell research, genetic testing, or even cloning, gives people new opportunities for the development of all living species. Concerns about the social, cultural, legal and ethical consequences of such a progress have resulted in one of the most important debates of the last century. All these contentious issues are summarized in one word – bioethics. UNESCO deals with the problem of bioethics since the 70s of the 20th century and reflects the international dimension of this debate.  UNESCO was founded on the belief that peace cannot exist without intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind as a whole, and therefore it is trying to involve all countries in this international, transcultural debate.

About the UNESCO Bioethics Programme


The UNESCO Bioethics Programme was established in 1993 and it falls under the UNESCO Programme on Ethics of Science and Technology.   This programme saw the first major success in 1997 when the UNESCO General Conferemnce adopted the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights – the only legal instrument on bioethics which was approved by the UN General Assembly (1998).

In today’s world, considering the constant scientific progress and its far-reaching consequences, it is necessary to ensure that the ethics is observed. This is also one of the UNESCO’s functions. Thanks to the UNESCO Bioethics Programme, UNESCO plays a leading role in bioethics on the international level (in particular with regard to the way of working, and to the multicultural and interdisciplinary environment interaction).

UNESCO Bioethics Programme is a part of the UNESCO Section for Social and Human Sciences. It has two advisory bodies: the International Bioethics Committee, IBC, and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee, IGBC. Each committee has 36 members, however, IBC consist of individual experts and IGBC is composed of representatives of the individual UNESCO Member States. Nevertheless, both of the committees mutually cooperate, they create recommendations and proposals which they submit individually to the UNESCO Director-General and subsequently to the relevant UNESCO bodies for further consideration.

More information on this matter may be found here: