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7, Place de Fontenoy
75352 PARIS 07 SP, France


Nurturing the democratic debate.  
28-11-2002 11:00 pm Paris - Prominent scientists, legal experts, philosophers, and legislators from all parts of the world will discuss ethical issues pertaining to the information society and to the environment during a two-day working meeting at UNESCO Headquarters on December 2 and 3 by UNESCO's World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST).
The 18-member Commission is a multidisciplinary body that serves as an intellectual forum which makes recommendations to UNESCO on issues pertaining to the ethics of science and technology, with a special emphasis on water, energy, outer space and information society. It also aims to facilitate dialogue between scientists and society. Its members are appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO for a period of four years. The COMEST is currently chaired by Professor Jens Erik Fernstad of Norway.

One session (December 2, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) will focus on the ethics of the information society, featuring several presentations, including one by UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information Waheed Khan on the Organization's activities and preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) which will take place in Geneva and Tunis in 2003 and 2005.

Another session (December 3, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.) will focus on ethics of the environment and new initiatives on the ethics of sustainable development. It will feature a presentation by UNESCO Assistant Director-General for the Natural Sciences, Walter Erdelen.

The COMEST works closely with the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (ICPHS), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), and specialized UNESCO committees and programmes: the International Bioethics Committee (IBC), the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee (IGBC), the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), the Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB), Management of Social Transformations Programme (MOST), the International Hydrological Programme (IHP), and the International Geological Correlation Programme (IGCP).

During the meeting, two separate related events will take place: A Youth Forum will bring together some 200 scientists in their mid-20s from Norway, Sweden and France to discuss the subject of trust in science and scientific freedom. The Youth Forum will take place at the Palais de la Découverte in Paris (December 3, 2 to 4 p.m.).

Also, during the meeting, Professor Fenstad will open, in the presence of the artists, a collective exhibition entitled Art and Ethics at UNESCO Headquarters (December 2, 1 p.m.).

Contact: Monique Perrot-Lanaud
Bureau of Public Information, Editorial Section
Tel.: +33 (0)1456 81714
Email: m.perrot@unesco.org

Source Media Advisory No.2002-59


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