Ethics and philosophy

UNESCO is also committed to concrete and successful work for ethical and philosophical questions.

The pace of progress in the life sciences today requires intensive international consultation on values ​​and norms of bioethics. To this end, UNESCO has set up the International Committee on Bioethics (IBC) and the Intergovernmental Committee on Bioethics (IGBC). Germany is a very active member of these committees, with IBC membership of Prof Dr med Christiane Woopen 2010 to 2017, and before Prof Dr Regine Kollek from 2001 to 2009. Germany has been a member of the IGBC for many years. Thus, Germany has contributed to the adoptions of three UNESCO declarations on bioethics in 1997, 2003 and 2005. All declarations are translated into German.

Similarly, there has been repeated German participation in UNESCO’s World Commission on Ethics in Science and Technology (COMEST). The German philosopher Prof Dr Jürgen Mittelstraß was a member of COMEST from 2010 to 2017, preceded by Prof Dr Dagmar Schipanski from 1998 to 2003. The second COMEST conference was organized by UNESCO in December 2001 in Berlin together with the German Commission for UNESCO. Germany has also consistently supported the drafting and adoption of one of COMEST’s most recent results, the UNESCO Declaration on Ethical Issues of Climate Change.

World Philosophy Day on the third Thursday in November has been consistently celebrated in Germany since its adoption in 2005. Typically, up to 30 specialized events are celebrated across Germany. The German Commission for UNESCO invites participation together with the German Society for Philosophy and the German Adult Education Association. The German Commission for UNESCO also published an adapted version of the UNESCO publication "Philosophy - A School of Freedom" and organized conferences on “philosophizing with children”.