Global health ethics

Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics


WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics (CCs) are key institutions with relevant expertise distributed throughout the world. They represent a valuable resource as an extended and integral arm of WHO's capacity to implement its ethics mandate.

The scientific validity of WHO's work on ethics is enhanced by ongoing collaboration and dialogue with academic centres. In this respect, WHO encourages connections and synergies between its CCs to achieve enhanced results, to facilitate resource mobilization and to strengthen (institutional) capacity, in particular at regional level.

WHO is committed to the development of CCs for Bioethics in low and middle income countries and encourages active partnership between CCs in high- and low resource settings. The Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics has been created to advance these aims.

Chairmanship (as of 8 December 2018): Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore

The Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBmE) at the National University of Singapore is a thriving centre for learning, teaching and research relating to ethical and associated legal and social aspects of healthcare and biomedical sciences. CBmE staff study issues of broad international significance with a particular interest in learning for and from Singapore and Asia. The Centre’s responsibilities of chairing the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics will be shared by Dr Calvin HO and Professor Vikki ENTWISTLE.

Calvin joined CBmE in July 2011 as Assistant Professor and was previously Senior Research Associate with the national bioethics advisory committee in Singapore. His research relates primarily to the governance of health systems and emergent technologies. Vikki joined the Centre for Biomedical Ethics in July 2018 as Director and Professor of Bioethics. She was previously Professor of Health Services Research and Ethics at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. Much of her research focuses on the intersections between healthcare quality and ethics.

CBmE will be facilitating the development of network activities in various areas, including ethical issues in: ageing; big data and AI; biobanking; preparedness in disease outbreaks; non-communicable diseases; and universal health coverage.

List of members

Past events

Network meetings

  • 10th meeting, Bangalore, India, 8 December 2018
  • 9th meeting: Miami, USA, 11 October 2017
  • 8th meeting: Edinburgh, UK, 13 June 2016
  • 7th meeting: Prato, Italy, 11 July 2015
  • 6th meeting: Geneva, Switzerland, 28 May 2014
  • 5th meeting: Toronto, Canada, 15-16 July 2013
  • 4th meeting: New York City, USA, 14-15 June 2012
  • 3rd meeting: Zurich, Switzerland, 18-19 August 2011
  • 2nd meeting: Toronto, Canada, 26 May 2010
  • 1st meeting: Santiago de Chile, 26 April 2009

Inaugural events

25 April 2018: Inaugural ceremony for the designation of the Centre of Biomedical Ethics and Culture, SIUT, Karachi, Pakistan.

20 April 2015: Inaugural event for the designation of the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

13 March 2014: Designation of NUS:Centre for Biomedical Ethics (CBmE), Singapore as a collaborating centre. The inaugural event was held 2nd April 2014.

25-26 October 2010: Designation of the Institute of Biomedical Ethics in Zurich, Switzerland as a WHO collaborating centre. Inaugural event.

Terms of reference

They were adopted on 26 May 2010. They specify the vision, mission, membership, structure and roles and responsibilities.


The Annual Report provides an overview of Network activities in its inaugural year, including network development and collaborative projects in public health ethics and research ethics.

Book cover image.

The Brochure of the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Bioethics encourages applications from programs in low- and middle-income countries.