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The Realization of the Ethical Mandate of UNESCO in 2015 and in 2016

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UNESCO has fulfilled its ethical mandate in 2015 and in 2016 foremost by standard-setting activities within its various ethics committees. The IBC’ and IGBC’S work focused on the principle of benefit sharing, on the update of IBC’S reflection on the issues of the human genome and human rights as well as on big data in health care and health research and on bioethical questions arising from conditions of refugees and migrants. In the meantime, COMEST has concentrated its efforts on climate change and on elaborating on a post-2015 agenda for the context of science, technology and society as well as on the ethics of water and oceans and the ethics of robotics. Common feature of the standard-setting work of these bodies in 2015 and 2016 remains that UNESCO establishes a strong link between bioethical principles and the human rights framework. However, the developed global principles in different areas have again not resulted in a declaratory standard-setting and thus remain beyond any factual binding force of the already established three international and universal declarations of UNESCO in the field of bioethics. Although an intensified cooperation between the different bodies can be observed, it remains to be seen, which results the external auditing of the work of UNESCO brings about on the issue of governance within the organization.


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