Bioethics and genetics stretch beyond national borders in several ways. Multi-centre research projects are increasingly common and require a coordinated system of ethical review. Tissue samples and genetic data frequently traverse national boundaries. Inequalities of health are considered a global injustice. The human genome has been designated the ‘heritage of humanity’ and so should be of benefi t to all. As such issues are inherently global, they cannot be dealt with effectively at national level alone. Hence UNESCO’s efforts to provide an international framework for their governance. Pablo Sader, Chair of the government experts charged with fi nalizing the draft UDBHR, made the following statement at their last meeting in June 2005:

A bioethics-related event makes the international headlines nearly every week. It is a diffi cult topic. As we have all seen, there have been deep divisions in other meetings on specifi c bioethics issues. There are points of divergence within individual countries too. For this reason, it is doubly important for us to give a clear signal that we are capable of reaching agreement on important issues. If we do so, the declaration will be proof that multilateralism works, and that will be a boon to our Organization.