This proposal aims to build the professional and administrative capacities of the newly established National Bioethics Committees in the developing countries and countries in transition through a Joint EC-UNESCO Conference on Bioethics Capacity-Building. Overall, the Conference is designed to facilitate and promote an international ethics network that brings together newly created National Bioethics Committees (NBCs) from Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean regions and the experienced Committees from Europe, as well as various other parts of the world for experience-sharing and mutual capacity-building in the framework of South-South and North-South-South triangular cooperation. Experts invited to the Conference will share knowledge about the best practices in running the national bioethics committees, including the establishment of relevant procedures and policies for bioethics committees, and ensuring effective engagement in policy making, priority setting and policy advice. The Conference will provide an opportunity to exchange ideas about the needs, the challenges, and the lessons learned by the national bioethics committees in various regions of the world. In selecting the participants of the Conference, special attention will be paid to the balance between the experienced and the newly-established committees, to make sure that the newly established committees fully benefit from the experiences older NBCs have accrued in terms of the substance of their work, the working methods and processes, the problems identified and lessons learned. The capacity building conference includes a thematic debate on the principle of social responsibility and health, and the role that National Bioethics Committees can play in advising the national government on the moral and legal obligations of guaranteeing the highest attainable standards of health to their populations, as well as in raising the general awareness on health issues.
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