Professor Carter Snead is in Paris this week serving in his new role as a member of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Culture Organization’s (UNESCO) International Committee on Bioethics (IBC). The IBC is a 36-member body of independent experts appointed for four-year terms by the Director-General of UNESCO. The IBC members work together to produce opinions, recommendations and proposals on the ethical challenges linked to scientific and technological advances, which are submitted to the Director-General for consideration by UNESCO’s representative bodies and transmission to Member States. The IBC is the only forum within the UN system dedicated to ethical reflection on developments in the life sciences.
Two main topics will be discussed during the meetings this week: the principle of social responsibility and health, as set forth in the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (2005) (Professor Snead led the U.S. Delegation in the negotiations that culminated in this instrument), and the issue of human cloning and international governance. At the request of UNESCO’s Director-General, an IBC working group has been examining this issue to determine whether the latest scientific, ethical, social, political and legal advances warrant a new international initiative on human cloning. The session will provide the opportunity to assess the situation and hear different viewpoints.
For more on the IBC meeting see: