Global Bioethics Initiative (GBI) is dedicated to fostering public awareness and understanding of bioethical issues, and to exploring solutions to bioethical challenges.
GBI has established four goals to achieve its mission:
- To promote interdisciplinary research and provide the public with information pertaining to bioethical issues
- To engage a broader audience in public debates on emerging medical technologies and their potential impact
- To collaborate with policy makers, including those at the United Nations (UN) and its agencies to identify solutions to global health problems
- To encourage international debates at the intersection of health, biotechnology and medicine
GBI is a member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in furthering the realization of the purposes and mandate of the organization through activities and research in shared culture of intellectual social responsibility.
GBI has been associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) since December 2014. DPI aims at facilitating the exchange of information and the development of partnerships within the United Nations as well as with nonprofit organizations around the world. Many of the issues addressed by GBI, including reproductive rights, human organ trafficking, and the ethics of population aging, are important to other United Nations and United Nations-affiliated agencies.
The Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations nominated Global Bioethics Initiative for Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the United Nation’s central platform for debate, reflection, and innovative thinking on sustainable development. GBI is one of only a few organizations to receive such a status. In this capacity, GBI will be able to offer policy recommendations directly to those who craft and initiate legislation and participate in intergovernmental meetings of the United Nations.
- GBI organizes panel discussions, conferences, and summer school programs to facilitate public understanding of current bioethical issues. For information about events click here.
- GBI leverages the knowledge and experience of experts and other professionals in government, academia, and private industry, as well as its Board and Advisory Board members.
With offices at 777 UN Plaza, Unit 3D, New York, New York, 10017, GBI overlooks the United Nations headquarters in New York City.
The participation of human subjects in research raises important and often complex ethical issues. Protecting the rights of human subjects, e.g. ensuring that subjects’ participation in research is free and appropriately informed, that confidentiality of data and the privacy of participants is adequately safeguarded, and that the burdens and benefits of research are distributed in just ways, is an essential objective of research ethics. Research ethics is also concerned with ensuring that the research conducted is ethically sound and socially valuable, and that it benefits society and not simply particular individuals or powerful groups. GBI’s Research Ethics Project focuses on developing strategies that contribute to the protection of human subjects, the development of biomedical interventions that increase people’s well-being, and the promotion of public trust in science.
Neuroscience and Mental Health
Neuroethics concerns the ethical, legal and social impact of basic and clinical neuroscience, including neurotechnology and its possibilities of altering or predicting human behavior. Examples of this are the ethics of neurocognitive enhancement, the use of drugs and other brain interventions to increase normal people’s capacities, new applications of brain imaging as a putative means of establishing correlations between brain activity and intentional deception, the ethics of stem cell therapy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, and ethical implications concerning the treatment of comatose or minimally conscious patients. Related to the field of neuroethics are ethical considerations in mental health care. People with mental illness, intellectual disabilities or other cognitive impairment, as well as traumatized refugee and prison populations present with special needs and specific ethical implications for their treatment. GBI provides a platform to discuss these topics based on the latest neuroscientific facts.
Ethics of Organ Transplantation
End-of-Life and Health Care
The term euthanasia comes from the Greek word “good” death. Euthanasia is now commonly understood as helping to end the life of persons suffering of incurable illnesses paralleled by pain and debilitating complications. Generally, people discuss “active” euthanasia, in which death is brought about by direct intervention, and “passive” euthanasia, which involves the removal of life-prolonging/sustaining technologies. Active euthanasia involves both “voluntary” euthanasia, in which a patient requests a lethal dose from a physician and then self-administers, and “physician-assisted suicide,” (PAS), in which the doctor, at the request of the patient, administers a lethal injection. According to polls the vast majority of Americans continue to support ‘right-to-die’ laws for terminally ill patients. GBI is concerned with organizing debates to consider legal, public, and policy-related measures aiming at compassionately supporting those faced with the decision whether or not to end their lives.
Ethical Issues Related to Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART)
Working With the United Nations
Member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI)
Associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI)
Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)