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National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and Activity of Local (Regional) Bioethics Committees: Shared Experience of Eastern and Central Europe

International Seminar
“National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and Activity of Local (Regional) Bioethics Committees: Shared Experience of Eastern and Central Europe”
 
INFORMATION REPORT
 
On 6-8 June 2006, “National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and Activity of Local (Regional) Bioethics Committees: Shared Experience of Eastern and Central Europe” International Seminar was held in Minsk, the Republic of Belarus, within the framework of the Moscow Bureau of UNESCO “Bioethical Education in the Republic of Belarus” project under the social and humanitarian studies programme.
 
The Seminar was held with the support of the Moscow Bureau of UNESCO, Belarusian UNESCO Commission and Ministry of Health Care of the Republic of Belarus.
 
Comprehensive support for establishing national bioethics committees and local ethics committees is one of the priorities of UNESCO activities in the area of social and humanitarian studies.  Establishment of National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus at the Ministry of Health Care (based at the Belarusian State Medical University) is currently being sponsored by the UNESCO Secretariat in Paris and Moscow Bureau of UNESCO.
 
The seminar was aimed at educating the Belarusian National Committee and local committees members in organising the committees’ activities and performing ethical expertise of bio-medical research within the framework of the experience gained by the Central and Eastern Europe states.
 
The Seminar was organised and held in partnership with:
·        Good Clinical Practice Alliance – Europe;
·        Ethics Committees Forum of CIS States (FECCIS/SIDCER);
·        Belarusian State Medical University;
·        Centre for Biomedical Research of the Ministry of Health Care of the Republic of Belarus;
·        Belarusian State Economic University (Institute of Social-and-Humanitarian Education);
·        Belarusian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education;
·        International State Ecological University Named After Prof A Sakharov.
 
The following international experts in bioethics took part in the Seminar:
·        Francis P. Crawley, Director General, Good Clinical Practice Alliance – Europe and Strategic Initiative for Developing Capacity in Ethical Review (SIDCER), Brussels, Belgium;
·        lga Kubar, PhD, Head of Forum Ethics Committees in the Confederation of the Independent States, Russia;
·        Prof Zbignew Szawarsky, PhD, Warsaw University, Institute of Philosophy, Committee for Ethics in Science, Poland;
·        Prof Nijole Vasiljeviene, Vilnius University, Kaunas Department of Humanitarian Studies, Head of Applied Ethics Centre, Lithuania;
·        Solvita Olsena, Director of Medical Law Institute, Riga, Latvia;
·        Prof Boris Yudin, PhD, Corresponding Member of RAS, Director of the Human Studies Department, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow;
·        Prof Pavel Tishchenko, PhD, Human Studies Department, Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow;
·        Elena Malysheva, PhD, Secretary of Ethics Committee, Russian State Medical University, Moscow;
·        Svitlana Pustovit, PhD, President Ukrainian Association on Bioethics, Kyiv, Ukraine;
·        Prof Valentin Kulinichenko, PhD, Head of Ethics Committee, Kyiv Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, Ukraine;
·        Nicolay Chashchin, National Scientific Centre for Medical and Biotechnical Research, National Academy of Sciences, Kyiv, Ukraine;
·        Petr Vitte, General Director of Information Centre on Bioethics, Institute of Occupational Health, Academy of Medical Sciences, Kyiv, Ukraine;
·        Luminica Drumia, PhD, Science Expert, Coordinator of UNESCO Departments, Republic of Moldova;
The Seminar was also attended by Mr Dendev Badarch, Director of the UNESCO Moscow Office; General Secretaries of UNESCO National Committees of the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Republic of Moldova, Republic of Belarus, and members of the National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and members of local and regional bioethics committees from Belarus.
Altogether, more than 70 participants were involved in the seminar activities.
 
The participants discussed:
·        setting up and activities of National Bioethics Committees in light of UNESCO General Declaration in Bioethics and Human Rights 2005;
·        prospects of organising and setting up The National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus; its main aims, tasks, and functions;
·        coordination of its activities with the Centre of Expertise and Tests in the Belarusian health-care system and republican local ethical committees in the context of experience gained by ethics committees of Central and Eastern Europe states;
 
In particular, seminar discussions focused on the following issues:
·        functions, rights, and obligations of the National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus;
·        options for its influence over and assisting and supporting the activities of local committees;
·        independent status and funding of the National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus; and
·        challenges of bioethical education of specialists and bioethical education of the population.
 
The following presentations were of particular interest and importance to the Seminar participants:
·        F.P. Crowley “Development of Clinical Practice Ethics and Biomedical Research in the Context of European Globalisation: Expected Belarusian Contribution”
·        O.I. Kubar “Recognition SIDCER/WHO Programme: principles, process of recognition, Study Modules”
·        V.L. Kulinichenko “National Ethics Committee: Activities, Problems, Solutions”

 

Reports by Y.S.Yaskevich, F.I.Vismont, G.V.Godovalnikov focused on organisational issues and prospects of activities of the National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus.
 

The Seminar participants also discussed reports on general principles and regional features of SOP in Russia (Olga Kubar), Ukraine (Nicolay Chashchin), Belarus (G.V. Godovalnikov).

 

A special session discussed and shared the experience of developing bioethics and activities of ethics committees in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.  This session was characterised by the presentation and discussion of challenging issues by experts from Russia (B.G. Yudin, P.D. Tishchenko), Ukraine (S.V. Pustovit, N.A. Chashchin, P.N. Vitte), Moldova (L. Drumya), Poland (Z. Szawarsky), Latvia (S. Olsena), Lithuania (N. Vasilyevene).
 
The Seminar participants discussed vital issues of continuous bioethical education.  The reports were presented by P.D. Tishchenko (Russia), T.V. Mishatkina (Belarus), S.D. Denisov (Belarus), G.Y. Hulup and T.V. Kalinina (Belarus), A.I. Yegorenkov (Ukraine).
 
The seminar featured a special session focusing on reports of Belarusian existing local ethics committees, with reports presented by Chairs of respective committees from the Belarusian State Medical University, Belarusian Medical Academy of Postgraduate Education, IGC NAC RB, Clinical Committees of Gomel and Grodno Regions.
 
The Seminar Final Session centred on discussions of prospects and goals of bioethics committees in Belarus.  It adopted Recommendations and Final Document on Potential Guidelines for the National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and local committees.
 
Based on the results of the Seminar, the Seminar Materials Compendium is being planned.  It will include:
·        UNESCO General Declaration in Bioethics and Human Rights 2005;
·        documents on establishing the National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus;
·        Final Document on Potential Guidelines for the National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and local committees;
·        Seminar abstracts;
·        some materials on the ethics committees in Central and Eastern Europe states.
 
Within the framework of “Recognition” FECCIS/SIDCER/ IEC/IRB Programme, Ethical Committees Forum of the CIS members states organised special study session for Chairs of Belarusian regional ethics committees and all participants.  The session was presented by international bioethics experts O. Kubar, B. Yudin, P. Tishchenko, Y. Malysheva, N. Chashchin.  The participants were awarded relevant Certificates.
 
As part of the cultural programme, the participants toured the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, “Mir” palace complex, and the Radzivills’ former residence in Nesvizh (the latter two being on the UNESCO International List of Cultural Heritage Objects).

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National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and Activity of Local (Regional) Bioethics Committees: Shared Experience of Eastern and Central Europe
6-8 June 2006
National Bioethics Committee of the Republic of Belarus and Activity of Local (Regional) Bioethics Committees: Shared Experience of Eastern and Central Europe International Seminar was held in Minsk, the Republic of Belarus, within the framework of the Moscow Bureau of UNESCO Bioethical Education in the Republic of Belarus project under the social and humanitarian studies programme.
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