United Nations and Global Governance Archives - Earth Charter

Book on Sustainable Development Goal 15 – Life on Land

Book SDG15 Earth CHarterA Better World – Actions and Commitments to the Sustainable Goals, Goal 15: Life on Land, is a joint publication of Tudor Rose, a prominent UK book publisher, and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).  Earth Charter International (ECI) made a contribution to this publication in collaboration with FUNDECOR, a Costa Rican NGO and ECI Affiliate that works on land degradation and ecosystems recovery programs.

This year, governments reported on their achievements related to several SDGs, among them SDG15-Life on Land.  That is one of the reasons why publishing this book, which was shared electronically during the High Level Political Forum in July 2018.  Hard copies will be available in September during the United Nations General Assembly.

A digital version of this book is available in this link.

This is the link to the article that FUNDECOR and ECI wrote, related to an experience in Costa Rica.

The book shows why it is smart and strategic to focus on the land degradation neutrality target of avoiding, reducing and reversing land degradation in the race to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. First, it offers solutions to most of the Goals and, therefore, would help to accelerate the achievement the Goals. Second, it brings together different actors and sectors, saving money and effort.

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International Earth Trusteeship Gathering in The Netherlands

INTERNATIONAL EARTH TRUSTEESHIP GATHERING
Governance, law, advocacy and practice
22 and 23 June 2018 in The Hague, The Netherlands

IMG_2340From all parts of the world, more than 80 people gathered in The Hague, The Netherlands for the International Earth Trusteeship Gathering. The gathering served as a welcome space for different initiatives, which share an interest in governance, law and legal structures, Earth practices and advocacy with the aim to heal the relationship between humanity and ecosystem Earth and fulfill our responsibilities as Trustees of the Earth.

“The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity and beauty is a sacred trust.” – Preamble, Earth Charter

The gathering took place on 22 and 23 June, as a follow-up to the Earth Trusteeship Roundtable organized by Hans van Willenswaard (School of Wellbeing, Thailand) on 13 July 2017, in Utrecht, the Netherlands in the context of the international conference “Practicing the Commons”. This Roundtable brought together academics, lawyers, politicians, activists, farmers, researchers and others sharing a variety of initiatives and ideas. Keynote speaker Prof. Klaus Bosselmann presented an initiative of the Planetary Integrity Project, supported by the Common Home of Humanity project, to establish an Earth Trusteeship Council that would focus on maintaining or restoring ecological integrity on a United Nations / planetary scale. He also mentioned other ideas, such as a Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Responsibilities, which could be presented on 10 December 2018, the 70 years Celebration Day of UDHR. Klaus Bosselmann and Hans van Willenswaard initiated the Gathering to discuss these themes and prepare for 10 December 2018. The Earth Charter International acted as one of the organising partners, thanks to the active participation of Alide Roerink, member of the ECI Council and coordinator of Earth Charter The Netherlands. Rick Clugston, former member of the ECI Council and member of the Earth Charter Associates board took part in the Gathering.

IMG_2342The call for an International Gathering further stems from an e-mail discussion of January 2018 with several key persons of different nature rights organizations on the need and opportunity to present a draft Additional Protocol on Nature Rights to the UDHR at the next UN General Assembly. In this e-mail discussion, a proposal was made to organize a gathering that would bring together many closely related initiatives and ideas that exist around the world and have been raising the global awareness of the urgent need to restore our relationship with nature.

Another reason for an International Gathering was to create an opportunity for Dutch human rights, environmental and sustainable development organizations to have an exchange with these international initiatives.

On Friday 22 June, six thematic sessions took place to share ideas and explore ways of working together. Different initiatives were presented, such as the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth and the Rights of Nature Europe.

The meaning of the term Earth Trusteeship was discussed and a draft joint proclamation was presented by Klaus Bosselmann. This draft document will be edited and a next version will be distributed among participants to prepare for an event on 10 December 2018 in The Peace Palace in The Hague, in the context of the 70th anniversary of UDHR.

20180623_092504-1The Gathering was accompanied by a fire ceremony and the SGI-ECI Seeds of Hope Exhibition. Also, the new film “The Rights of Nature: A Global Movement” was screened and an interesting conversation emerged with one of the filmmakers. Click here for more information on the film.

Many participants of the gathering referred to the Earth Charter document as the ethical foundation to build on, also for efforts to acknowledge the rights of nature. In addition, the Earth Charter Initiative was considered as the movement, which could serve as an important partner in the follow-up of the gathering.

Dialogue on rights of nature movement, also brought to light that indigenous peoples do not need to redefine their relationship with nature. Mother Earth exists in her own right. Who are we humans to ‘give’ her rights? The rights based vision in some dialogues was considered relevant in a western context. With respect to the term Earth Trusteeship, a few participants stated that they rather use the term ‘Earth stewardship’.

Click here to see the complete report on the gathering.

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The Global Pact for the Environment and the Earth Charter

Earth Charter International Secretariat has published an article called “The Global Pact for the Environment as a Next Step on the Way Forward for the Earth Charter”.

The article assesses the possible contribution of the Global Pact for the Environment, an initiative of the Government of France that is being promoted as a new legally binding instrument, into the process of further implementation of the principles of the Earth Charter as an ethical foundation of the global community.

The article presents an assessment of the relevance of the Global Pact to the Earth Charter in general. Then, an analysis of the Global Pact is done through the lenses of three criteria based on the Earth Charter’s Way Forward. The article concludes with an observation of the Global Pact’s possible role in the implementation of values and principles of the Earth Charter.

Download this article here.

 

Earth Charter and Global Pact

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Article on the Regional Agreements on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration and the Earth Charter

On 4 March 2018 representatives of Latin American and Caribbean countries concluded the negotiations for a new legally binding agreement on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration – Regional agreement on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (the Escazú Agreement) in Escazú, Costa Rica. This agreement will be open for signature by Latin American and Caribbean countries in September 2018 and it requires ratifications or other forms of approval by 11 countries of the region in order to enter into force.

There are only two regional agreements for the implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration:  the Aarhus Convention (1998) and the Escazu Agreement (2018).

In order to support the ratification of this Agreement, ECI Secretariat has produced an article that gives an opportunity for people from different sectors to learn about the relevance of this legal instrument for environmental justice.

You can download this article in this link.

This article provides an analysis of the linkages between Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration with the Earth Charter and the two regional treaties on access rights that evolved out of that: the Aarhus Convention (Europe) and the Escazú Agreement (Latin America and the Caribbean). The article claims that regional treaties on access rights not only contribute to the implementation of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration, but also are complementary to the broader approach of governance expressed in the Earth Charter.

Rio Principle 10 - EC and treaties

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Reflect and Respond on World Environment Day

As we approach the 2018 World Environment Day (WED) on Tuesday, 5 June, we invite you to adopt a sustainable lifestyle by consuming ethically, sustainably, and responsibly. As you consider ways to respond to this year´s WED theme “Beat Plastic Pollution”, we encourage you to use two mobile phone apps to help you deeply reflect on our Earth and positively respond with sustainable actions.dtw

The Deep Time Walk enables you to enter a deep experience by walking through a dramatized history of the living Earth. Sensitively designed by a team of experts using appropriate technology, the app encourages a shift away from the smartphone screen to instead connect with the natural world around you. Walk through 4.6 billion years of earth history, learn about humanity’s ancestral heritage with all life, experience what you are a part of and comprehend our geological impact. Download the Deep Time Walk on any Android or iOS device, available at 1/3rd off the usual price until the end of World Environment Day.mapting

We also invite you to download the Mapting app to share with others activities and projects you are involved with and that help in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Earth Charter Principles. Anyone can respond in creative ways to this year’s call for the international community to collectively “Beat Plastic Pollution”. We would like to see a wave of activities shown in Mapting.

 

“Adopt patterns of production, consumption and reproduction that safeguard Earth’s regenerative capacities, human rights and community well-being.” – Earth Charter Principle 7

“SDG 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.”

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UNGA Resolution moves ahead France proposal for a Global Pact for the Environment

IMG_9425On June 2017, the government of France introduced a draft of a Global Pact for the Environment as a proposal for a new legally binding instrument on the principles of international environmental law. It took less than a year after that for the United Nations General Assembly to agree to move forward on a process to develop and agree on such a Pact. This demonstrates an exceptional leadership and diplomatic skills of the French government.

On 10 May 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment” (document A/72/L.51) with 143 votes in favor for the document, while just six countries voted against and six others abstained.  This effort received an almost unanimous support. The resolution opens the way for the negotiation of this new Pact and establishes an ad hoc working group to identify gaps in international environmental law. The sessions of the ad hoc working group will be open for all member states and relevant NGOs.

While French representative F. Delattre, claims that it is time to take on new responsibilities, the representatives of the countries voting against the resolution believed that there are enough agreements and policies and the need is to focus on the implementation and better articulation of existing instruments.

IMG_9424Thus, Russia and Philippines highlighted the role of the 2030 Agenda as already existing comprehensive framework. Russian representative, S. Kononuchenko, pointed out that we already have more than 1,000 instruments to protect the environment and the focus should be on their implementation instead of creation of new ones. The representative of the United States, M. Simonoff, claimed that this initiative should not disrupt existing environment commitments and the wording of the document should not prejudice the discussions.

As stated in the Earth Charter, “In order to build a sustainable global community, the nations of the world must renew their commitment to the United Nations, fulfill their obligations under existing international agreements, and support the implementation of Earth Charter principles with an international legally binding instrument on environment and development.”

In this context, creation of the working group for the identification of gaps and challenges in current regime for the protection of the environment is a welcome development. Nevertheless, the task should combine the work under the new resolution with the aim to enhance mechanisms of implementation (and better coordination) of existing instruments.

This effort builds on the outstanding work IUCN has developed over the years in drafting the IUCN Covenant on Environment and Development, the 2004 IUCN Resolution on the Earth Charter and the 2016 IUCN World Declaration on the Environmental Rule of Law.

There is no doubt there are synergies between the Global Pact and the Earth Charter. Hopefully, the Global Pact process will adopt explicit language on ecological integrity and strong sustainability. In 2012, a study was conducted to find the links between principles of the Earth Charter and International Law instruments. This publication was the basis of a doctoral research developed by Maria Elisa Febres. This document can be found by clicking here.

Click here for more information on the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted last week.

See the resolution adopted here.

See previous article on the Global Pact for the Environment and Its Overlap with the Earth Charter.

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Latin America agrees on a treaty on access to information and environmental justice

LAC P10 CEPAL CeremonyRepresentatives of Latin American and Caribbean countries have concluded the negotiations for a new legally binding agreement on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration – Regional agreement on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (the Escazú Agreement) in Escazú, Costa Rica.

The conclusion of the negotiations and drafting process and agreement on the final version of the treaty took place on 4 March – the day of birth of Berta Cáceres – human rights and environmental defender who was killed in 2016 for her activism.

The Escazú Agreement will be open for signature by Latin American and Caribbean countries in September 2018 and it requires ratifications or other forms of approval by 11 countries of the region in order to enter into force.

In case of entering into force, the document becomes a legal instrument for:

  • Protection of human right defenders in environmental matters;
  • Better access of every person to information concerning the environment including dissemination of information about imminent threat to public health or the environment;
  • Participation in decision-making concerning the environment;
  • Access to justice in environmental matters with the procedures that are not prohibitively expensive;
  • Considering the interests of persons or groups in vulnerable situations, including indigenous people.

LAC P10 CEPAL GroupThe Escazú Agreement strongly correlates to the principles of the Earth Charter including its Principle 13 on democratic institutions, transparency, accountability, inclusive participation and access to justice.

Such a connection makes Earth Charter International believe that civil society will support the document and will cooperate with the governments of Latin America and Caribbean countries in order to turn the provisions of the Escazú Agreement into reality in the region.

There are several actions that organizations and individuals can do to promote the Escazú Agreement in their countries:

  • Organize round tables and conferences on the Agreement;
  • Include information on the Agreement in educational programmes, courses and workshops;
  • Organize contests of scientific papers and Media events on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters (access rights);
  • Organize special events to commemorate the life and achievements of human right defenders in environmental matters.

For further information see:LAC P10 Civil society

The full text of the Escazú Agreement 

Official site – Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN agency that led the drafting process of the Escazú Agreement)

The Access Initiative the largest civil society network on access rights.

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Developments on the “Global Pact for the Environment” and Its Overlap with the Earth Charter

pact 2 IUCNOn June 23, politicians, experts and jurists met to take part in a drafting committee to finalize the “Global Pact for the Environment,” which was publically presented the following day to an audience that included Ban Ki-moon, Arnold Schwarzennegger, Laurent Fabius, Zhang Xinsheng, and many others.

French President Emmanuel Macron closed the discussions, pledging to play an active role in the process and take the Pact to the UN General Assembly for consideration. It is meant to go alongside the 1966 United Nations Covenants on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and on Civil and Political Rights, providing a global reference instrument that could become part of the foundation of international environmental law.

This initiative is historic not only because of its environmental message, but because the Pact is intended to become a binding international treaty, unlike previous efforts such as the Rio Declaration of 1992, which had only declaratory impact.

Many of the principles in the Pact are familiar, i.e. the polluter pays principle and the precautionary principle. This is not surprising, as it builds on existing soft law documents like the Stockholm Declaration of the United Nations Conference` on the Human Environment, the World Charter for Nature, the Rio Declaration of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the Earth Charter. One of the goals of the Pact is to create a unifying treaty that is specifically on environmental protection, bringing coherence to the hundreds of existing international treaties that deal with this topic. Meant to capitalize on the momentum of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the pact also would work in tandem with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. If successful, the Pact would be an enforceable treaty that could solidify many fundamental principles of conservation and sustainable development.

Justice Antonio Benjamin (Brazil), Professor Nicholas Robinson (U.S.A.), Professor Christina Voight (Norway), Professor Nilufer Oral (Turkey), and Dr. Parvez Hassan (Pakistan)

Justice Antonio Benjamin (Brazil), Professor Nicholas Robinson (U.S.A.), Professor Christina Voight (Norway), Professor Nilufer Oral (Turkey), and Dr. Parvez Hassan (Pakistan)

This process has been enriched with the outstanding participation of Professor Nick Robinson, Judge Antonio Herman Benjamin and Dr. Parvez Hassan, who have been spearheading the evolving efforts of international environmental law and in the IUCN World Commission of Environmental Law.  The three of them were also part of the drafting of the Earth Charter. Senior judges from multiple countries participated, marking the first time that judges have been part of the preparation of a treaty. Lord Robert Carnwath from the British Supreme Court, Luc Lavrysen of the Belgian Constitutional Court, and Swatanter Kumar, the Chairperson of the National Green Tribunal in India were all involved.

Although the Earth Charter is not focused solely on the environment, unlike the Global Pact for the Environment, ecological protection is still a major theme. The ecological integrity principles of the Charter can be seen in the articles of the new pact, along with the necessary inclusions for a future legal document. The Earth Charter is very specific in its ecological principles, calling for nature and biosphere reserves, endangered species recovery, the control of GMOs, the build-up of toxic substances, etc.

The Pact for the Environment faces a difficult road towards becoming an enforced treaty, and its articles are written with that consideration. It calls for necessary measures to prevent environmental harm and to ensure remediation of environmental damages, but without the specificities of the Earth Charter.

pact_coverIn addition to referencing issues of environmental concern such as biodiversity and Earth’s carrying capacity, the preamble to the new pact also touches on some of the broader social considerations that are part of the Earth Charter, such as gender equality and the role of women, the importance of education, and the rights of indigenous peoples. The drafters of the Pact integrated the message of the new Sustainable Development Goals – as true positive progress involves an integrated and global approach.

Since the Earth Charter was written as an ethical framework and not as an international treaty, it had more latitude to include unambiguous actions for environmental change. The drafters of the Global Pact for the Environment are hoping it will become a cornerstone of international environmental law, and wrote it as such. Consequently, its ecological goals are broader and more general than many of the Earth Charter principles, and accompanied by crucial considerations for its future. Regardless of their phrasing, there is no doubt that if the Global Pact can keep its core goals through the process towards implementation, many of the Earth Charter principles will be much closer to being fulfilled and it will become a milestone in the global environment governance efforts.

(Article by: Lorna Battista)

Continue Reading on the Global Pact for the Environment:

https://www.iucn.org/commissions/world-commission-environmental-law/events/23-24-june-2017-global-pact-environment-introduced-world 

http://legal-planet.org/2017/06/27/france-pushes-for-global-pact-on-the-environment/

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-world-climatechange-macron-idUSKBN19F0LG

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/trump-macron-arnold-schwarzeneggar-climate-change-make-planet-great-again-a7806491.html

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Earth Charter Affiliate speaks in UN General Assembly Dialogue on Harmony with Nature

Photo 3The Seventh Interactive Dialogue of the United Nations General Assembly on Harmony with Nature took place on Friday, 21 April 2017 under the Theme: Earth Jurisprudence.

The event counted with the participation of Professor Klaus Bosselmann, ECI Affiliate from New Zealand and Director, New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law, University of Auckland, who, as an Earth Jurisprudence expert, made a presentation on “The Next Step: Earth trusteeship”.

In Professor Bosselmann´s speach he made a proposal to “accompany the current SDG process with high-level ethical dialogue and promote the idea of nation-states as trustees for the Earth and that the UN should provide a forum for achieving that.”

Below you can find Professor Bosselmann´s intervention:

Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony With Photo 5Nature

Friday, 21 Apr 2017

Trusteeship Council, UN Secretariat Building, New York

Theme: Earth Jurisprudence

¨An Earth-centred worldview recognizes the intrinsic value of Nature; understands humans as fundamentally part of the natural world, that is, one life-form among many evolved from the same natural processes. It further recognizes that there are biophysical limits to human activity and that our socioeconomic systems are embedded in natural systems. In this worldview, human-Earth relationships are based on a symbiotic connection, are interconnected and are subject to the natural laws of the Universe.

Photo 4Indigenous peoples’ philosophies, spiritualities and traditional forms of knowledge worldwide express the understanding that human governance systems must be derived from the laws of the Earth and comply with them.

Experts from around the world working in the natural and social sciences similarly recognize the need for an evolved, holistic worldview that must be rooted in respect for Nature and in the interdependence of the well-being of humankind and of the Earth.

In order to forge a balanced, healthy relationship between human activity and the Earth, there is an urgent need for society to reconsider how it perceives and interacts with the natural world.

Photo 2Earth Jurisprudence recognizes that the Earth is the source of laws that govern life. It provides a cohesive framework reflecting the integrated nature of the world in which we live. And, as the source of laws that govern the community of life, Earth Jurisprudence also provides a cohesive framework underpinning many disciplines, weaving them together to create a more effective, holistic governance approach, one that reflects the integrated nature of the world in which we live.¨

In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 22 April as International Mother Earth Day. In so doing, Member States acknowledged that the Earth and its ecosystems are our common home, and expressed their conviction that it is necessary to promote Harmony with Nature in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations. The same year, the General Assembly adopted its first resolution on Harmony with Nature.

Click here for more information

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10-week Youth Online Training Course: Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics to Start 19 June, Deadline to Apply 17 May!

Don’t miss the deadline to sign up for our next 10-week youth online training programme in Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics. The course will begin on 19 June and participants will need to apply by programaWednesday 17 May! This course is designed to train young people around the world, from the ages of 18-30, on how to become active leaders in their community towards a more just, sustainable, and ethical world.

The course will offer you an opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills on certain themes such as leadership, ethics, sustainability, Earth Charter principles, Eco literacy, Systems Thinking, and how to successfully design and implement a workshop in your community.

Our goal at the end of the course is to successfully strengthen your knowledge and skills on leadership in sustainability, enhance your consciousness to contribute to the greater good, inspire like-minded individuals to collaborate across borders and to carry out your work in your communities, and develop the confidence to use your voice as a leader!

Alumni of this course have the opportunity to become an Earth Charter Young Leader (ECYL). This programme is a year-long leadership opportunity to serve as a focal point in the Earth Charter Youth Network to mobilize and engage other young people around the Earth Charter vision and principles.

Register now by visiting our site:  http://earthcharter.org/events/leadership-sustainability-ethics-june-2017/

 

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