France was the first country to create a National Consultative Ethics Committee. Its role is to encourage and feed the debate within society on the progress of scientific knowledge in the area of life.
On February 23, 1983, after the research summit Assises de la recherche, President François Mitterrand issued a decree creating the first National Consultative Ethics Committee on Health and Life Sciences.
The issues of medically assisted procreation and experiments on humans were the first addressed by the CCNE. But its scope of investigation soon extended to other topics, like research on human embryos, access to genetic information and the notion of consent.