Assisting Bioethics Committees (ABC)

Assisting Bioethics Committees (ABC)

As part of each country’s efforts to establish transparent ways to respond to ethical issues, UNESCO encourages and assists the establishment of independent, multidisciplinary and pluralist ethics committees at national, regional, local or institutional levels. These Committees can take many forms, depending on the needs and local issues in each country.

UNESCO provides advice on the various options for establishing a committee, models of structures and terms of reference, and for Committees that enter an MOU with UNESCO, an in-depth training program to up-skills members and assists them to set up internal structures and processes for their operation.

Led by both UNESCO staff and international experts from among UNESCO’s partners, the content of the trainings rely on a series of guides that UNESCO has produced specifically for this aim, and also on the UNESCO Bioethics Core Curriculum, which is primarily designed around the internationally-agreed ethics standards but also around internationally-agreed human rights standards, while it acknowledges and invites local variation.

Special consideration is given to promoting gender equality in terms of the content of materials used for training and the development of the agendas and plans of the National Bioethics Committees.

Practical information to support national bioethics committees have been assembled in a series of UNESCO guides:

Guide N°1: Establishing Bioethics Committees

Guide N°2: Bioethics Committees at Work: Procedures and Policies

Guide N°3: Educating Bioethics Committees

The Guides are available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Russian.

The UNESCO office in Jakarta is leading work on ABC in the region. Please consult the Jakarta website for further information.