Extraordinary session of world commission on the ethics of scientific knowledge and technologyUNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) will meet May 14 and 15 at Organization Headquarters (Room III) for an extraordinary session focused on its new work methods and schedule of activities for 2004 and 2005.
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, will welcome (May 14, 3 p.m.) six new members of the Commission, which was formed in 1998 to respond to ethical challenges presented by the latest scientific and technological discoveries. During its last session (Rio de Janeiro, December 2003), COMEST added new themes to its agenda: environmental ethics and the ethics of sustainable development; ethics of nanotechnology; and teaching ethics of science and technology.
Methods and work plans for the next two years will be examined in light of recent proposals by UNESCO’s Executive Board notably encouraging COMEST to study possibilities for elaborating an international instrument on space ethics, to make recommendations on environmental ethics, and to consider the creation of an ethical code of conduct for scientists. Launching a programme for teaching ethics, starting in Latin America and Central and Eastern Europe, and setting up a world ethics observatory are also on the COMEST agenda.
Currently chaired by Jens Erik Fenstad (Norway), COMEST is composed of 18 members, appointed by UNESCO’s Director-General. They are selected from the fields of science, technology, law, philosophy, culture, religion and politics, and serve in their own name for four years. The new members are: Ruben G. Apressyan (Russia); Diego Garcia (Spain); Johan Hattingh (South Africa); Luiz Hildebrando Pereira da Silva (Brazil); Sang-yong Song (Republic of Korea), and Nadja Tollemache (New Zealand).
Journalists wishing to cover the COMEST session must be accredited by the Press Relations Section. tel: 01 45 68 17 48; fax: 01 45 68 56 52.