ECh used as a reference in a conflict between India and The Netherlands

 In a very delicate case of conflict of interest between the governments of India and The Netherlands, where Ruud Lubbers and Ashok Khosla acted as “mediators” since mid December 2007 until the end of January 2008, the Earth Charter was used as a reference and they finally came to the following conclusion: in consultation with local Indian organizations and unions, an ombudsperson in Bangalore will be appointed.


The Earth Charter was strengthened as a soft law instrument and this story achieved good results and outcomes.


Lubbers was assisted by Mr. Khosla, who has worked for the Indian government as well as the UN. Khosla is the chair of NGO Development Alternatives and co-chairing the Club of Rome. Lubbers and Khosla are closely involved with the Earth Charter Initiative. Khosla has requested to propose a suitable candidate to act as ombudsperson. The ombudsperson shall act within the framework of Indian law and international standards including the Earth Charter.


The constitution of India 1949 guarantees the freedom of speech and the freedom of association. The Indian Trade Union Law 1926 functions adequately: unions represent employees in labour issues. Khosla and Lubbers shall be available to act as a sounding board for the ombudsperson, but shall also continue to safeguard this agreement as ‘Custodians’.