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Lake shore with jetty. © Fotolia,, BEANBOB

Joint Consultative Ethics Committee: INRA, CIRAD and IFREMER

Updated on 06/14/2018
Published on 04/07/2016
Keywords: ethics

This Committee examines ethical questions that may arise in research in France and abroad, in the fields of food, agriculture, the sea, the environment and sustainable development. In particular, the Committee addresses issues concerning the relationship between science and society at large.

After consultation with the boards of directors of INRA, CIRAD and IFREMER, the Joint Consultative Ethics Committee of INRA-CIRAD, created in 2007, was extended to include IFREMER. This new Committee came into effect on 11 April 2016. Operating at the level of the presidency of the three institutes, the Committee will serve as a forum for reflection, consultative services, and, when needed, alert.
View and download (in French) the decision signed by the three institutes

The members of the Committee are French and foreign, from outside of the three institutes, chosen on a strictly personal basis by virtue of their skills and recognised interest in ethical questions within the scope of the three institutes. Since 11 April 2016, Axel Kahn, Doctor of science and medicine, heads the Committee. Michel Badré, economic, social and environmental consultant, is the Committee Vice President.


Core principles and values of the INRA-CIRAD-IFREMER Ethics Committee

The INRA-CIRAD-IFREMER Ethics Committee subscribes to the same principles and values as those defined by the INRA-CIRAD Ethics Committee which it has taken over from.

1. The Joint Ethics Committee holds the recognition of human dignity as a fundamental value. It will strive to apply this value to its recommendations concretely, implementing the rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.
2. More generally, the Committee considers that the values of the corpus of declarations and conventions established several decades ago by the United Nations and specialised organisations such as UNESCO, are part of its reference framework. These include the protection and promotion of cultural expression, and biodiversity. This corpus is implemented by standard international agreements.

3. We have a duty to leave future generations a living environment that is intact and healthy. To that end, we must avoid draining natural resources or upsetting natural balances. This principle of sustainable development guarantees that the Committee stays focused on the long, and very long, term, and not only on the short term. However, the principle of total reversibility is utopic and unrealistic.
4. The world is a system. Any action on one of its parts has an impact on other parts: analysis must therefore examine the secondary and induced effects of one action and the dynamics and strategies it can incite or favour. Issues should therefore be dealt with on a worldwide scale, all the while guaranteeing compatibility between global and local needs, and by taking the realities of each place into account.
5. The Committee considers that the robustness and adaptability of a system are good things. Thus, even in an open society, a certain self-sufficiency of production systems is desirable at national and regional level.
6. Progress implies a society open to technical and social innovation. However, the impact of these innovations on established ways of life and their contributions to human development must be forecast and analysed.  Moreover, an equitable distribution of the benefits brought by these innovations must be ensured.


Joint Consultative Ethics Committee of INRA-CIRAD (2007-2015)

Presentation and accomplishments of this committee >