Programme / An Arab Charter of Ethics for Human-Centered Science and Technology in the Arab Region

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Day 3

Thursday / 9 nov

11:30 - 13:00

Special session:
An Arab Charter of Ethics for Human-Centered Science and Technology in the Arab Region
Organised by:  UNESCO - Regional Bureau for Sciences in the Arab States / LAS / ASRT / RSS / CNRS-L / IPT
Venue: King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre, Wadi Rum 2 - Ground Floor

The Arab region can achieve better development outcomes if it invests in research and development and develops its research capacities. As clearly articulated in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, science and technology are important “means of implementation”. The power of science should/can be leveraged to accelerate the achievement of development goals in the region. Unfortunately, the Arab region continues to lag behind developed - and even several developing - countries in terms of science and technology indicators and knowledge at large. There is a dire need in the Arab region for an ethical framework that promotes and guides the quality, integrity, and independence of research activities, supports multi-disciplinarity, and protects the individual and society from the possible negative implications of science and technology; an ethical framework that ensures that science serves society in the region.


Conscious of the above-mentioned challenges, Arab experts in the field of ethics, science and technology gathered in Beirut from 11 to 12 July 2017 in a regional meeting on “Ethics in Scientific Research and Technology Applications in the Arab Region”. Organized by UNESCO (Cairo and Beirut offices), the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research, the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology of Egypt, and ESCWA Technology Center, the meeting reviewed relevant regional experiences  towards learning and exploring the value and possibility of elaborating a regional charter of research ethics. The personal participation of Her Royal Highness Pincess Sumaya bint el Hassan in the meeting gave a great impetus to this initiative


As a result of the meeting, participants agreed regarding the need to develop an “Arab Charter of Ethics for Scientific Research and Technology Applications.” UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science in the Arab States was entrusted by all participants to lead and coordinate the process of drafting the Arab Charter, in collaboration with the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research and other organizing parties.


The Arab Charter of Ethics will:

  • be comprehensive, covering research in all fields of science, including the social and human sciences;
  • build on global and regional experiences in the area of ethics, be of high standard, and have as its ultimate objective to serve people in the Arab region;
  • reflect the specificities of the region, notably the particular challenges affecting scientific research and technology development activities (including those facing researchers, research subjects and other stakeholders);
  • be elaborated following an inclusive consultation process involving a wide range of stakeholders


In order to achieve the above, a Working Group was established to collaboratively formulate the Arab Charter. The Working Group members are distinguished experts from the region, specializing in ethics, science and technology and law. At least three rounds of consultations are foreseen: a) with Experts who participated in the Regional Consultation that took place in Beirut, July 2017; b) with participants at the World Science Forum; c) with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders through a public debate.


The primary objective of this parallel session is to present, and stimulate discussion around a first draft of the Arab Charter of Ethics for Scientific Research and Technology Applications. The session will benefit from the presence of high-caliber researchers, scientists and political figures to gather views regarding the relevance of the Charter to the challenges facing research in the region, and its appropriateness for the task it was formulated for. The session will also contribute to highlighting the issue of ethics in science and technology in developing countries and the world.


As a result of this session, ideas will be generated and inputs will be collected that will support the Working Group in refining the first draft of the Charter into a solid, legally-sound, and region-specific document. It is expected that the final Charter would be submitted to the League of Arab States for possible adoption by the Arab Ministers of Higher Education and Scientific Research, and implementation across the region.


Event video