The Earth Charter and International Law

Discover correlations between the principles of the Earth Charter and articles and segments of more than 70 international and 183 European law instruments. Click here for the list of international law instruments.

The content of this document is the result of a research project conducted under the framework of the UNESCO Chair for Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter. The project was carried out in collaboration with the University for Peace, Simon Bolivar University, and the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development.

The Earth Charter and International Law

About the Law Library

This document contains the results of a research project, whose general objective was to establish relationships and coincidences between the Earth Charter principles and the principles contained in different instruments of International Law.
In a second stage, the project included instruments of European Law.
The specific objectives are the following:

  1. Identify and analyze International Law instruments, with emphasis on Environmental Law, which have served as a source, base, origin, or inspiration to each of the Earth Charter principles.
  2. Identify and analyze International Law instruments issued after the Earth Charter that include similar principles that serve to legitimize, reinforce, and support the Earth Charter.
  3. Analyze and systematize the principles within the identified documents with the purpose of establishing its concordances with the Earth Charter principles.

Scope of the research
Regarding methodology and scope it is important to make the following clarifications:

  1. Global international legal instruments were included in addition to European Union and European Council legal instruments.
  2. Hard law instruments were included (covenants, conventions, protocols) as well as soft law instruments (declarations and similar). Nevertheless, only the normative part (articles) of these instruments was included, meaning that preambles were excluded.
  3. Regarding the European Union instruments, Treaties were prioritized, followed by directives and regulations of secondary sources. Other instruments were included such as preparatory acts and international agreements of the European Union.
  4. Instruments that are commonly used in environmental law and sustainable development studies were revised, as well as instruments of other specific fields (human rights, anticorruption, and labor, for example), which are present in the Earth Charter principles.
  5. It is worth mentioning that the inclusion of particular covenants or instruments does not necessarily imply that the whole instrument is in agreement with the Earth Charter vision but that there is a connection with certain themes or specific approaches. In this respect, coincidences are presented between extracts of specific international instruments and the Earth Charter principles and sub principles. Additionally, not only exact coincidences were analyzed in this research, but linkages between Earth Charter principles with similar or related ideas, which could be derivation, consequence, or application of the principles.

The analysis of International Law instruments was developed by Maria Elisa Febres, PhD student of the Simon Bolivar University. The analysis of the European Law instruments was done by Yanïnti del Castillo and Jeanne Robert, Master students of the French – Latin American Comparative Public Law program of the University of Costa Rica. Both efforts were supported by Professor Juan Carlos Sainz-Borgo from the UPEACE International Law Department, Mirian Vilela, and Alicia Jimenez from the Earth Charter Center of Education for Sustainable Development/Earth Charter International.
This is not intended as a finished product; therefore we invite people to make suggestions and contributions with the intention of complementing and enriching this work. If you wish to contribute, please send messages to: [email protected]

Treaties List

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