Background: IUBS Ethics Commission

The 2007-2009 triennium has seen the true establishment of International Centre for Environmental and Bioethics (ICEB), since its inception in 2004. At the beginning of 2007, D Jessica Reeves was appointed (0.1 FTE) by Prof. Buckeridge to administer the ICEB website and act as Secretariat for the programme. This has enabled more regular correspondence with the membership of ICEB.

Through the latter part of 2007-2008, ICEB actively sought to increase its membership and broaden its representation (nationality, gender) and successfully recruited three new members of a newly established Advisory Committee to ICEB (Dr Jane Mainschien, Dr Rachel Ankeny and Dr Mary McIntyre) who have all published extensively on environmental and bioethics. Each of these members have made a substantial contribution to the new direction of ICEB.

Through 2008 the ICEB revised its objectives to be more focussed on environmental ethics education and outreach. The aims were also altered accordingly. To this end, the website ( has been updated and now includes peer-reviewed research from its members.

An attempt was made to implement an online survey system, whereby viewers could respond to scenarios being posed on the site, by tick-a-box type questions. This met with minimal success.

Throughout 2009 new steps were made towards education and outreach with the development of a Environmental and Bioethics wikiversity course (, linked to the ICEB website.

This course is presented in a case-study based manner, posing a scenario and series of questions to consider at the end. Four modules of the course are currently uploaded. The wiki material is free and available to all. The material stored here may be used by educators for implementation in their courses, or be explored by the interested public.

Throughout the triennium, lectures and seminars on environmental ethics were presented by members at a number of international meetings in Australia, Brasil, China, France, Germany, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, UK and USA.

In line with the new direction of ICEB, a formal link was established in early 2009 between this programme and BioEd (the IUBS Commission of Biological Education).

At the IUBS General Assembly in Cape Town (Ocober 2009), this commission was renamed as
"The International Union of Biological Sciences Ethics Commission". The rebranding is to strengthen the broader outlook of the commission to include professional  development and ethics education.