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Global Summit of National Bioethics Advisory Bodies

An increasing number of nations have created official bodies to provide advice to their executive and legislative branches and often to the general about bioethics. Termed "National Commissions," "Advisory Committees," and the like, they are appointed by chief executives, ministers of health, and legislatures, to analyze, and to offer conclusions and recommendations about current issues in bioethics and the ethics of health more generally, especially as such issues bear on the possible need to develop national policies and even to adopt legislation. In a few countries, the bodies that serve this function are appointed outside formal governmental structures, and in some the functions are fulfilled by several advisory bodies.

In November 1996, the then-existing national bioethics commissions met in a "International Summit" in San Francisco for two days at the invitation of the U.S. National Bioethics Advisory Commission and the French Comité Consultatif National d'Ethique pour les Sciences de la Vie et de la Santé. Subsequent meetings of the Global Summit of national bioethics advisory bodies, with ever-larger numbers of national committees and international organizations represented, were held in:

Tokyo 3-4 November 1998
London, 20-21 September 2000
Brasilia, 3-4 November 2002
href="/entity/ethics/globalsummit/summits/en/index.html#canberra">Brasilia, November 2002

The next meeting of the Global Summit of National Bioethics Commissions is scheduled to take place in the Chinese capital, Beijing, Canberra, in November 2004, under the auspices of the Australian Health Ethics Committee, in cooperation with the Nuffield Council on Bioethics (one of the local hosts for the 2000 Summit), and the National Bioethics Commission of Brazil (one of the local hosts for the 2002 Summit).

Members of national ethics advisory bodies should read the latest newsletter [pdf 149kb] for the Canberra meeting, and fill out the questionnaire, which seeks their views about the meeting.

The Ethics and Health Unit at WHO provides the permanent secretariat for the Global Summit. Invitations to the Fifth Global Summit have been sent to national commissions and international groups represented at the last two sessions in London and Brasilia. Any government or national commission wishing to attend the next Global Summit or to be added to the list of organizations maintained by the secretariat, should please contact WHO/SDE/ETH.


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