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"Since its creation immediately after the Second World War, UNESCO has been designated the conscience of the United Nations," and this is reflected in UNESCO's ethics programs. UNESCO’s Programme on the Ethics of Science and Technology aims to place scientific and technological progress in "a context of ethical reflection rooted in the cultural, legal, philosophical and religious heritage of the various human communities."
The Program includes the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). It deals with areas such as ethics of the environment, the Precautionary Principle, ethics of outer space, science ethics and the teaching of ethics.
Through its Bioethics Program, UNESCO addresses the ethical, legal and social concerns stemming from advances in the life sciences, particularly in genetics. Through the Program, UNESCO supports the International Bioethics Committee and the Intergovernmental Bioethics Committee, the only international bodies that address bioethics issues. The Program’s first major success was the adoption in 1997 by the General Conference of the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights, subsequently endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1998.