International Bioethics Committee to Meet in TokyoThe 12th session of the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) will be held in Tokyo (Japan) from 15 to 17 December. The session will focus on the various standard-setting instruments adopted by UNESCO in the field of bioethics and on the outlook of bioethics research and activities in Asia.
The meeting, IBC’s first in Asia, follows the adoption last October of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights. This is why much of the session will focus on the implementation of the principles contained in the Declaration (notably on Thursday, 15 December, 4 to 7 p.m.). Speakers at the session - presided by Judge Patrick Robinson and Professor Saku Machino - will include: Ryuichi Ida, former IBC Chairperson; Michčle Jean, outgoing IBC Chairperson; and Michael Kirby, Chairperson of the IBC Drafting Group for the Declaration.
The following session, on the morning of 16 December, will review UNESCO’s various declarations on bioethics with an emphasis on the challenges of cultural diversity. It will feature addresses by, among others, Professor Tsuchida Tomoaki, of Waseda University. The afternoon session will be presided by Professors Claude Huriet and Kiyoshi Aoki. With the participation of Sheila McLean, of the University of Glasgow, debates will first examine the principle of “informed consent”, followed, in the late afternoon, by an examination of Social Responsibility: Public Health and Health Care.
Debates on 17 December will particularly focus on Asia and one session will centre on the bioethics issues that have given rise to most public debate on the continent, such as antenatal diagnostics and cloning. Speakers from China, Korea, Japan and Singapore are scheduled to take the floor. A second session will examine prospects for bioethics in Asia.
The IBC will elect a new President and a new Bureau during the meeting, which will also undertake an in-depth review of the IBC’s work schedule for the coming years.
Created in 1993, the International Bioethics Committee (IBC) is a body of 36 independent experts that follows progress in the life sciences and their applications to ensure respect for human dignity and freedom. It promotes a better understanding of the ethical issues linked to progress in science and technology, allowing states to obtain guidance in formulating national policies in the field of bioethics.