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The President of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations (WFUCA) Mr. George Christophides was received, on Tuesday, 28th of August 2012 by the Director-General of UNESCO Mrs. Irina Bokova in Paris.

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the World Environment Day    Green Economy: does it include you?, 5 June 2012

We know the future we want for all. We want a future where every girl and boy can fulfil their rights and capacities and make a rewarding contribution to society. We want a future where we can live in a healthy setting, with strong bonds to nature and a rich diversity of social relations. For this, we need a flourishing environment. We need to create green economies.

This is our message for the 2012 World Environment Day. This is the flag we will raise at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio.

Rio+20 must redraw the map of development and set new directions for sustainability -- building on new forms of agriculture, new sources and uses of energy, new ways of building and transportation. Reaching these goals requires new approaches to freshwater and the ocean, to lands and the climate. It calls for new thinking about the meaning of progress. It demands new sources of innovation and resilience that have deeper roots than material or economic assets. We must construct green economies on the foundations of green societies.

The agenda is steep. Education for sustainable development must foster the values and behaviours for a new culture of sustainability. Science, technology and engineering must be mobilized to find innovative answers to complex questions. Culture must be integrated into all development initiatives. The media must help build awareness and inform policy. We must promote social inclusion through integrated policies. Sustainability will only come from working on all of these levels. UNESCO is acting at each of them.

In science, technology, innovation and engineering, UNESCO is encouraging green solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow. The Organization is leading the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) to provide everyone with the tools and skills to make a difference. We are working to strengthen the interface between science and policy, and actively backing the recently established Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES).

Green economies must include everyone. No society, no man or woman can be left behind. We must all protect the planet for the future we want.

Tuesday, 05 June 2012 15:29

The Ethics Of Sustainable Living And The New, Emerging Global Ethics

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of the World Environment Day Green Economy: does it include you?

”We know the future we want for all. We want a future where every girl and boy can fulfil their rights and capacities and make a rewarding contribution to society. We want a future where we can live in a healthy setting, with strong bonds to nature and a rich diversity of social relations. For this, we need a flourishing environment. We need to create green economies.

In science, technology, innovation and engineering, UNESCO is encouraging green solutions to the challenges of today and tomorrow. The Organization is leading the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) to provide everyone with the tools and skills to make a difference. We are working to strengthen the interface between science and policy, and actively backing the recently established Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (IPBES).

Green economies must include everyone. No society, no man or woman can be left behind. We must all protect the planet for the future we want”.

The  UNESCO Club Vienna supports The Earth Charter as a starting point to reach agreement on a set of environmental. social and economic considerations to guide public policy towards an integration of principles to operationalize the principles of sustainable development.

National Interest Vs Global Responsibility

An interview with Donald Brown at the UNESCO Climate Change and Ethics Conference in Monaco in December 2010. Professor Brown discusses the importance of framing the climate change debate in an ethical discourse and talks about the importance of the Earth Charter as a tool for introducing ethical perspectives. (utube)

The Earth Charter is a universal expression of ethical principles to foster sustainable development.
The Earth Charter Initiative is the global network that embraces, uses and integrates the Earth Charter principles.

The Earth Charter (EC)

The Earth Charter Initiative (ECI)

The ECI Secretariat, which is based at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica, endeavours to promote the mission, vision, strategies and policies adopted by the ECI Council. It supports the work of the Council, assists with strategic planning and coordinates many Earth Charter activities. The Secretariat guides and liases with efforts to bring the Earth Charter to the fields of education, youth, business and religion, manages communications with the larger Earth Charter network, and promotes the use of the Earth Charter as an international soft law document.
Earth Charter International Secretariat and Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE

P.O. Box 138-6100 - San José, Costa Rica
Tel. (506) 2205 9000
Fax: (506) 2249 1929
Email: info[@]

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st Century The final version of the Earth Charter was approved and released by the Earth Charter Commission at a meeting in Paris in March, 2000.

“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the people of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life and to future generations.

The dominant patters of production and consumption are causing environmental devastation, the depletion of resources, and a massive extinction of species Communities are being undermined. The benefits of development are not shared equitably and the gap between rich and poor is widening. Injustice, poverty, ignorance and violent conflict are widespread and the cause of great suffering. An unprecedented rise in human population has overburdened ecological and social systems. The foundations of global security are threatened. These trends are perilous-but not inevitable…The choice is ours.” Preamble to The Earth Charter

The Earth Charter has been endorsed by UNESCO and used as a key reference document for the Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). A strong emphasis on education has been one of the missing elements in international strategies designed to promote the transition to sustainable development. The Decade provides a unique opportunity for schools, universities, businesses, local communities, NGOs, and governments to collaborate in integrating sustainable development theory and practice into both formal and non-formal educational programs and into the operation of the related institutions. With UNESCO’s emphasis on values, the Decade is also an opportunity for communities to focus attention on the ethics of sustainable living and the new, emerging global ethics.

The UNESCO Chair on ESD and the Earth Charter will help address the overall goal of the DESD to integrate the values inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of learning. In this sense, this UNESCO Chair will contribute in the implementation of UNESCO Resolution Reference 32C/17, which, "recognizing the Earth Charter as an important ethical framework for sustainable development", affirms member states' intention to "utilize the Earth Charter as an educational instrument, particularly in the framework of the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development".

To help fulfill its mission, Earth Charter Initiative established, in collaboration with the University for Peace in Costa Rica, the UNESCO Chair on ESD and the Earth Charter.

  • Mission

The mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace.

  • Vision

We envision individuals, organizations, businesses, governments, and multilateral institutions throughout the world, including the United Nations General Assembly and UN agencies, acknowledging the Earth Charter, embracing its values and principles, and working collaboratively to build just, sustainable, and peaceful societies.

  • Goals

To raise awareness worldwide of the Earth Charter and to promote understanding of its inclusive ethical vision.
To seek recognition and endorsement of the Earth Charter by individuals, organizations, and the United Nations.
To promote the use of the Earth Charter as an ethical guide and the implementation of its principles by civil society, business, and government.
To encourage and support the educational use of the Earth Charter in schools, universities, religious communities, local communities, and many other settings.
To promote recognition and use of the Earth Charter as a soft law document.


CALL FOR PAPERS – Climate Change, Sustainability and an Ethics of an Open Future; Netherlands
Climate Change, Sustainability and an Ethics of an Open Future

50th Societas Ethica Annual Conference
August 22 to 25, 2013
Kontakt der Kontinenten, Soesterberg, Netherlands

This will be the 50th Societas Ethica Annual Conference. It is realized in cooperation with the ESF Network “Rights to a Green Future” and the Ethics Institute in Utrecht. Climate change, dwindling resources, and growth of the global population have emerged as challenges for all areas of political action in modern societies. These challenges have been on the political agenda since the “Limits to Growth” report was released in 1972.

While the challenges are well known, and while there appears to be some form of consensus that sustainability is a goal worth striving for, there is little discussion of how the changes necessary to achieve this goal will affect our political institutions, our social relationships, our moral responsibilities, and our self-understanding in general. The more far-reaching the necessary changes are, the more pressing the following questions will become: To what extent are political and economic institutions – national as well as global - capable of realizing sustainable politics and what is its ethical basis? To what extent will personal liberties, such as freedom of movement, property rights, and reproductive autonomy, need to be limited in order to realize sustainable politics? How could we extend the current system of human rights to incorporate the rights of future generations? Can we expect human beings to take responsibility for the living conditions of future generations, and how do such responsibilities affect philosophical and eschatological theories? An ethics of an open future must develop criteria for moral action under conditions of uncertainty. A developed theory of the principle of precaution in ethics and law is, however, lacking.

Confirmed speakers

  • Docent Jeroen van de Sluis (GeoSciences, Utrecht): Scientific Scenarios for the Development of Climate Change
  • Professor Stephen Gardiner (Cornell University): Title pending
  • Professor Michael Northcott (Edinburgh University): Climate Change as a Moral Challenge
  • Professor Hille Haker (Loyola University Chicago): Energy and Ethics
  • Professor Marcus Düwell (Utrecht University): Rights to a Green Future


Paper channels:
1. Climate change and scarcity of resources as ethical challenges
2. Sustainability, future generations and human rights
3. Democracy, global governance and political ethics
4. An open future; philosophical and theological responses
5. Reflections from different cultural and religious perspectives
6. Open channel

Authors are invited to submit an abstract accompanied by a bibliography of max. 10 references. The maximum length of the abstract is 4,000 characters excluding bibliography. Abstracts should be suitable for blind review. We do not accept full papers.

Please send in the following two documents as Word attachments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. :
Document 1: Your name, first name, email address, institutional address, the title of your abstract, the topic under which your abstract falls, and, if eligible, your application to participate in the Young Scholars’ Award competition (see information below).

Document 2: Your abstract including bibliography and title with all identifying references removed.
Deadline for submissions is March 31, 2013.

Call for papers:





Rockefeller Brothers Fund

Presented at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, 31 August 2004

I.    Interdependence and the Need for Global Ethics
II.    Critics and Skeptics
III.    The Emergence of a New Global Ethic & the Concept of Sustainability
IV.    The Earth Charter
V.    Global Ethics and the Religions

I would like to thank Professors Randy David, Cynthia Bautista, and the Ramon Magsaysay Awards Foundation for arranging this event and the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and Miriam College for making it possible. I also want to thank all of you here today for your interest and participation. I look forward to the comments of the respondents and to the dialogue that will follow.

What has brought me to the Philippines is the collaboration of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund over the past forty-seven years with the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, and therefore, at the outset I would like to tell you briefly about the mission and programs of the RBF. Our basic mission is to promote social change that helps to build a just, sustainable and peaceful world. We have programs in Democratic Practice, Sustainable Development, Peace and Security, and Human Advancement. The last includes arts and culture and initiatives like the Ramon Magsaysay Award. In addition, the RBF focuses special attention on what we call pivotal places which have a large influence on a region or the world. At present we have designated four pivotal places. They include New York City, our home base; Serbia and Montenegro in the Balkans; South Africa; and in Asia, Southern China. We endeavor to apply in a coordinated fashion three or four of our programs in each of these pivotal places. Some of our international grant making goes on outside these pivotal places—for example, we have a program that endeavors to promote mutual understanding between Western and Muslim societies. Some of our grant making addresses global issues such as climate change or the need for transparent and participatory forms of global governance.

The RBF identifies its grant making as “philanthropy for an interdependent world,” and this leads me to turn to the topic of my remarks “Interdependence and Global Ethics.” In what follows, I speak as an individual global citizen who is part of the international  global ethics movement. If you remember only one idea from what I have to say today, I hope it will be this: In our increasingly interdependent world, cross cultural agreement on shared values has become an evolutionary possibility and a social and ecological necessity.
I. Interdependence and the Need for Global Ethics

Under the impact of industrialization, modern technology, the information revolution, and economic globalization, the world we live in is ever more tightly interconnected. Often what happens locally has a significant global impact ecologically, economically, politically, or socially, and global trends and events influence local communities throughout the world. Increasingly our individual stories are part of one global story as never before. In this sense we are all living in a new age of global history.

In such an interconnected world, no society or nation—not even the most powerful—can effectively address the environmental, economic, and social problems it faces and ensure the security of its people by acting alone. These problems include global warming, the depletion of resources, ecological degradation, poverty, the growing gap between rich and poor, intolerance and discrimination, the spread of infectious disease, organized crime, terrorism, and war. Partnership, cooperation, and collaboration among nations and diverse cultures in the 21st century have become essential to survival and human development. Governments ignore this simple truth at their peril. Opinion surveys indicate that most of my fellow citizens in the United States understand and respect this principle and want a federal government in Washington that will act on it. The RBF is working to promote a constructive debate on this subject in the US, and it has become an important issue in the current US presidential election.

However, calls for cooperation are not sufficient to achieve it. The conditions for cooperation must be created. This requires mutual understanding and agreement on common goals and shared values. Only a joint commitment to common goals and values will create the trust and sense of shared purpose that makes partnership and collaborative actions possible and effective. In short, this means global ethics.

Community at any level depends upon the existence of shared values. Humanity has reached a stage in its development technologically and economically where a world community made up of a diversity of cultures and religions is both possible and necessary. Some would argue that it is humanity’s spiritual destiny to build a just, sustainable and peaceful world community. I believe that. However, to achieve this ideal a further development in the evolution of our ethical and spiritual consciousness must occur. This means working out through dialogue agreement on a core of fundamental values adequate to the issues that confront us. This is the spiritual challenge presented by industrial-technological civilization in the twenty-first century. It is doubtful whether humanity can find any lasting solution to the big problems it faces without taking this spiritual challenge to heart. We are globalizing the outer world, and I doubt we can stop the process even if we wanted to do so. We can, however, work to guide and shape the future.


The Earth Charter and the Green Economy

By ECI Secretariat
March 2011


This document discusses a potential synergy of goals and efforts between two major attempts at solving the environmental, social and economic challenges facing humanity today: the Earth Charter

– an ethical framework for sustainable development; and efforts to promote a green economy – a
practical approach to managing the economic change towards sustainability.

  • Crossroads

1. As humanity struggles to find its path in the new century, our growth – in both numbers and capacities – causes an exponential increase of crises and challenges. Environmental disasters of  mounting  magnitude,   unsustainable  patterns  of  production  and  consumption,  and  social inequalities worldwide continue to breed violent conflicts, destabilizing national and global social systems. Human inability to demonstrate a concerted effort to “protect and restore the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems,”1  on which our entire infrastructure is dependent, renders maintaining our current lifestyles into the future impossible.

2. At  the  same  time,  green  technology,  greatly  underestimated  and  underfunded  by  the world's governments and businesses, is not being developed quickly enough. To a certain extent, a retroactive approach to environmental challenges cannot bring success, no matter how advanced the  technology  may  become.  A   comprehensive  shift  in  development  policies,  including  the introduction of a strong ethical component, is urgent and required.

3.    Consequently, the previous century has witnessed both an unparalleled rise in the power of human beings, and also a rising interest in the challenges caused by the mishandling of that power. From Rachel Carson's Silent Spring and the first Earth Day celebrations, through to the 1992 Rio Summit, there have been a number of efforts  to address human-made environmental and social problems.  These  alarming  signals,  coming  from  different  actors  and  on  different  scales,  have mostly addressed a very limited set of challenges.

4.    The Earth Charter offers an integrated approach to the multiple challenges threatening our common  future.  Efforts  to  develop  policies  and  plans  on  a  green  economy  will  need  to  be articulated with an integrated approach and guided by an ethical framework composed of broadly shared values and principles.
II    Green economy and the Earth Charter

5.    According to UNEP, the concept of green economy is identified as, “resulting in improved human   well-being   and  social  equity,  while  significantly  reducing  environmental  risks  and ecological  scarcities.”2    “It  implies  realizing  growth  and  employment  opportunities  from  less polluting  and  more  resource  efficient  activities,  including  in  energy,  water,  waste,  buildings, agriculture and forests.”3   This approach requires a  fundamental shift in thinking – instead of treating the natural environment as a storehouse for commodities, the green economy proposal affirms the inclusion and valuation of ecosystem services into the economy as a  fundamental variable. The international community should consider if efforts should be focused on purely economic growth, or on humanity and the long-term well being of the community of life.

6. The call to change this unsustainable development paradigm lies at the heart of the Earth Charter, as  highlighted in its principles. The four opening principles of the Earth Charter4  could help define the ultimate vision or purpose of a green economy. As an example, the first part of the Earth Charter articulates principles related to “Respect and Care for the Community of Life.” How would an economy look like if it takes this principle seriously in its policies and decision making processes? The Charter’s Principle 1a asserts that “all beings are interdependent,” while Principle
5a motivates us to “adopt at all levels sustainable development plans and regulations that make environmental conservation and rehabilitation integral to all development initiatives.”

7. The green economy proposal must place human well-being at the core of its activities, and recognize the  impossibility of reaching such a goal without the active protection of Earth's ecosystems.  The  concept  of  the  green  economy  could  offer  a  wide  range  of  solutions  to  the environmental challenges from an economic perspective if it is well conceived. Entire new green sectors of development will have to be introduced, while the current 'brown economy' should be redesigned in order to align with the integrated vision of sustainability. This  includes, among other  shifts,  the  move  towards  renewable  energy,  which  should  generate  major  changes  in transportation systems, as well as the promotion of energy-efficient buildings and 'smart' cities.

8. Along  these  lines,  a  number  of  Earth  Charter  principles  directly  address  the  need  for redesigning existing energy and city systems. Principle 7, for instance, articulates that humanity needs  to,  “Adopt  patterns  of  production,  consumption  and  reproduction  that  safeguard  Earth's regenerative capacities, human rights and community well-being,” and it continues in more detail with principle 7b stating, “Act with restraint and efficiency when using energy, and rely increasingly on renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.”

9. In practical terms, a real green economy will require new technology in different fields. This makes the notion of transfer of technology essential. This concern is articulated in a number of United Nations policies, and in the Earth Charter it reads as follows: “Promote the development, adoption, and equitable transfer of environmentally  sound technologies”5. This can be reinforced with principle 2b of the Earth Charter, which says, “Affirm that with increased freedom, knowledge, and power comes increased responsibility to promote the common good,” reaffirming the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility,” expressed in the Rio Principles.

10. Apart from a wide range of regulatory and information-based measures, the transition to a green economy requires a strong ethical framework that articulates shared values and principles essential in the outreach to societies, as well as in reaching a political consensus on the costs and benefits of such shift. This includes changing the current erroneous view of the economy as an end in itself, to instead considering it as a sphere of human activity that can help ensure the building of a sustainable, just, bountiful and peaceful world. A number of efforts are being  undertaken to clarify this.

11. The Earth Charter is a document that offers the necessary scope and integrated approach to function as  this  type of ethical platform, declaring our need to “join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and  a  culture  of  peace.”6    It  can  also  reinforce  the  concepts  and  understanding  of  the  green economy, contributing to the wider acceptance and implementation of its policies and solutions.

III. Ethical framework and practical tools

12. An ethical framework offers a set of values and principles that should help decision makers in taking the right path towards the common good.  This constant concern regarding what is right and wrong, or good and bad, in human decisions and conduct should be present when policies are being developed and implemented at all levels. Here lies the need for such ethical guidelines, to serve as an inspiration and guide to sustainability and the green economy policies, strategies and implementation.

13. The vision of a green economy proposes several steps to be implemented on a regulatory level.  These  include  the  integration  of  ecosystems  in  the  business framework  and  plans  (the internalization  of  environmental  and  social  costs),  payments  for  environmental  services,  and increased accountability and taxation linked to environmental pollution (an improved version of the polluter-pays principle).

14. These  policy  instruments  and  guidelines  correspond  well  with  the  vision  of  the  Earth Charter. As an  example, Principle 7d emphasizes the need to: “internalize the full environmental and social costs of goods and services in the selling price, and enable consumers to identify products that meet the highest social and environmental standards.” This notion and many others in the green economy can find inspiration in Earth Charter principles such as Principle 2a “Accept that with the right to own, manage, and use natural resources comes the duty to prevent environmental harm and to protect the rights of people”.

15. The Earth Charter, as a comprehensive framework, goes more into detail on the following supporting  principles  that  are  relevant  to  the  policies  and  implementations  related  to  green economy.  Principle  6   highlights  the  importance  to,  “Prevent  harm  as  the  best  method  of environmental protection and, when knowledge is limited, apply a precautionary approach.”

Principle 6b, c and d states:
b. Place the burden of proof on those who argue that a proposed activity will not cause significant harm, and make the responsible parties liable for environmental harm.

c. Ensure that decision making addresses the cumulative, long-term, indirect, long distance, and global consequences of human activities.

d. Prevent pollution of any part of the environment and allow no build-up of radioactive, toxic, or other hazardous substances.

16. Supporting principle 7a offers basic guidelines for a green economy reinforcing the need to, “Reduce, reuse, and recycle the materials used in production and consumption systems, and ensure that  residual  waste  can  be   assimilated  by  ecological  systems.”  This  concept  should  also  be considered when policies and strategies on the green economy are being developed.

17. The  development  community,  in  collaboration  with  other  partners,  should  evaluate ecosystem services by a broad variety of indicators, as well as by the indicators of sustainability and ethics applied to  decisions and practices made by public and private organizations. Ideally, these indicators would offer prompt feedback to the decision-makers using them, as well as to the general public. They could be based on the Earth Charter ethical framework,7  while at the same time containing practical recommendations from the green economy applicable to each sector and actor.

IV. Noticing ecosystems

18. An  essential element of the green economy,  as well as the  first principle of the Earth Charter, is the 'noticing of ecosystems,' and the interdependence of all of Earth’s life forms. This requires a fundamental shift in thinking: in economic terms, ecosystem services – the indirect and direct contributions of ecosystems to human well-being and a healthy economy - must be included into business models, possibly seen as the 'dividend' that society receives from natural capital.

19. Nature and its life support systems are invaluable, considering that without the systems that exist within the soil, the air and the water, among many others, life could not exist, let alone any  economic  system.  There  is  no  possible  monetary  value  that  could  express  the  essential importance   of  these   ecosystem  services.   Nonetheless,   considering  the  current  production patterns, environmental services must be acknowledged. This means that they can, and should, be somehow measured and valuated.  On a deeper level, noticing the ecosystems, proposed as part of the green economy vision, represents the Earth Charter’s prime goal of rediscovering humanity's dependency on nature.

20. Valuation of the most conspicuous ecosystem services should help to internalize the costs of  nature  into  economic  decision-making  through  the  use  of  specially  crafted  indicators.  The indicators and mechanisms  formed  as part of the green economy ought to meet this goal. The policies on green economy should be seen as an opportunity for making the natural environment really meaningful to economics and finance.

V.    Addressing poverty – the social dimension

21. Although “the concept of green economy focuses primarily on the intersection between environment and economy,9” addressing many social dilemmas remains crucial in the successful transition  to  a  sustainable  future.  Improving  human  well-being  and  social  equity  within  the carrying capacity of the Earth, with a deep sense of respect and care for all its life systems, should be considered one of the basic tenets of the green economy efforts. It is therefore appropriate that the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development has set as a key theme “green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty alleviation,” to stress that poverty reduction ought to be a major goal for the development of green economy policies and strategies. The importance of extreme poverty eradication is also emphasized in Goal 1 of the UN Millennium Development Goals.  This makes clear that the attempt of green economy policies should not be focused on economic growth alone.

22. The strong social dimension required in all decision-making processes is expressed by the Charter’s second pillar on Social and Economic Justice and the principles articulated in this section. Principle  9  of  the  Earth  Charter  affirms  the  much-needed  ethical  commitment  to  “eradicate poverty as an ethical, social and environmental imperative.” The consequent sub-principles urge us to “guarantee the right to potable water, clean air, food security, uncontaminated soil, shelter, and safe sanitation, allocating the national and international resources required.10” As the poorest of the world are at the same time the most affected by, and vulnerable to such challenges as climate change, food scarcity and economic crises, the ensuring of their development rights should take priority in the  efforts to mainstream the notion of green economy. As indicated in the United Nations Secretary General Report of March 2011, “poverty eradication and enhancement of the livelihoods  of  the  most  vulnerable  deserve  priority  in  measures  promoting  a  green  economy transition.”11

23. The social dimension and tackling poverty is also stressed by the United Nations Secretary General   March   2011   report   on   the   UN   Conference   on   Sustainable   Development   which recommends the following seven  track approach under this theme: a green stimulus package, increasing  the  eco-efficiency,  greening  of  markets  and  public  procurement,  investment  in  green infrastructure, restoration and enhancement of natural capital, better accounting for external ities, and the eco-taxation reform.12 Each of these tracks finds an equivalent supporting principles in the Earth Charter. As an example, principle 10 suggests in general terms the importance to “ Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.”

24. At the same time, it is essential for green economy not to be used nor seen as a new form of trade barriers, aimed at maintaining the current status quo of developed countries dominating the global geopolitical and economic situation. Rather, green economy efforts should follow the Earth Charter concept, also found in a number of international policies to promote equitable distribution of wealth within nations and among nations, empowering people around the world to contribute to the wellbeing of their families, communities, and their planet. As green economy is not an end in itself, but a path towards sustainable development, its policies should reflect all three  pillars of sustainability.

VI. Education for sustainability

25. The existing common misconception asserts that there is an inevitable trade-off between economic  development and environmental stewardship. This approach, deeply ingrained within the current unsustainable economic model, originates from insufficient and inadequate education on  sustainability  issues.  While  humanity,   thanks  to  modern  technology,  is  becoming  more powerful in modeling our environments, our outlook on ecosystems remains as a continuation of the outdated, 18th  century view of nature as something to be conquered,  or at best selectively conserved, for the benefit of the society.

26. At the same time, any contribution to nature's conservation is seen by many as a loss of human progress and liberty, and a waste of business opportunity. In order to change this biased and wrong perception, knowledge  of issues related to sustainable development must become a major part of inter-disciplinary education at all levels.  Efforts such as these should also aim at tackling the failure of many who still do not see the interconnections  between human activities and the natural and social environment.

27. Within this context the United Nations declared the 2005 – 2014 Decade of Education for Sustainable  Development  (DESD),  with  the  overall  goal  “to  integrate  the  values  inherent  in sustainable development into all aspects of learning to encourage changes in behavior that allow for a more sustainable and just society for all.” Following this, in October 2003, UNESCO adopted a resolution  "recognizing  the  Earth Charter  as  an  important   ethical  framework  for  sustainable development." The resolution affirms Member States' intention to, "utilize the Earth Charter as an educational instrument, particularly in the framework of the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD).”13    There is much potential to forge collaboration in this area.

28. The education effort should not only address youth, seen as the future policy-makers, but also  other   sectors  of  society:  business  leaders,  government  officials  and  others.  The  most prevailing  misconceptions   about  the  trade-offs  between  environmental  protection  and  the progress  of  economic  development  have  to  be  addressed,  securing  public  commitment  to  a sustainability vision. This emphasis on continuous learning as a life-long process is expressed by Earth Charter principle 14.14

VII.    Hopes for the future

29. As never before, humanity is facing a choice of its future. While the threat of politically- motivated conflicts between states still exists, the basis of such clashes will increasingly be shaped by the scarcity of resources and worsened by the decline of ecosystems pushed far beyond their carrying capacity. As the natural infrastructure fails, the global human infrastructure, dependent on it, will follow, unable to survive without the ecosystem services sustaining its existence.

30. In order to prevent this, a tremendous effort aimed at redefining most of human systems and behavior is needed. The effort to build a global sustainable community requires a worldwide inclusive  cooperation  and  coordination  of  activities  on  a  scale  unparalleled  in  the  history  of humanity. The ethical framework articulated by the Earth Charter principles offers the necessary foundation and guide to the wide range of practical solutions for policies and practices offered by the   green   economy   effort.   Having   green   economy   policies   developed   based   on   such   a comprehensive ethical foundation is crucial in contributing to the transition to a sustainable way of life, and ultimately the preservation of humankind on Earth.

Prepared by ECI Secretariat team: Wiktor Zaremba, Alicia Jimenez, Marina Bakhnova, Mirian Vilela

Proposal to WFUCA for an International Day on Global Ethics

Annex VII - Establishment of the International Day of Global Ethics

2012 Urgent Appeal from the Japan Society for Global System and Ethics March 11, 2012
A Plea for Making 3.11 an International Day of Global Ethics

Professor Eiji Hattori, President The Japan Society for Global System and Ethics

Fukushima has awakened the whole world to the fact that nuclear accidents bring about horrible disasters that neither human beings nor the earth can endure. The Japan Society for Global System and Ethics deeply deplores the present situation in which the world has not yet launched on a new future by learning from the lessons of the dreadful accident that could become the first step toward the collapse of our civilization.

The first lesson is, that we should not use any scientific technology susceptible of causing such damage that nobody can take responsibility any more, irrespective of the figures of probability of accident, unless the risk is completely zero. The second lesson is, that we should realize that the most serious problem of our time consists in the lack of ethics, which is symbolized by increasing nuclear waste, of which no final solution has been found as yet.

Any conduct that permits radioactive contamination would create incalculable harm to mankind and the earth almost permanently. We must know that such a conduct clearly violates the 'Declaration on the Responsibilities of the Present Generations towards Future Generations' adopted by all the nations of the world at the General Conference of UNESCO in 1997. This declaration states that the present generation has the responsibility to leave behind us the beautiful planet for future generations to enjoy.

Japan, alas, has been the victim of both military and civil use of nuclear energy. Japan is not only suffering from radioactive contamination, but also is inflicting it worldwide. Japan has been calling upon the International Community to pursue military denuclearization, which has been agreed by most nations, including the United States and European countries .The nuclear power generation to which nuclear weapons have given birth, however, has been spreading over the world under the pretext of 'peaceful use' and that of 'economic efficiency' advocated by market fundamentalists. This Society firmly believes that Japan now has the historical responsibility to plead for the complete nuclear abolition, both military and civil.
Right after March 11,2011, this Society released an Urgent Appeal in 9 languages. The Appeal maintains that the present crisis confronting mankind is a crisis of civilization, and that we should transform this civilization - the civilization of power based on the 'patriarchal principle' - into a civilization of life based on 'maternal culture' that gives the supreme value to life. Furthermore, the Appeal emphasizes that the deeply-rooted cause of this crisis consists in the universally prevalent lack of ethics, and thus, pleads the International Community for changing course in the energy field, not only in Japan, but worldwide, with a view to abandoning nuclear generation.

Without establishing global ethics, we cannot create future civilization of mankind that leaves behind the beautiful planet for succeeding generations. Fortunately, our plea for a United Nations Ethics Summit and an International Day of Global Ethics is receiving strong support from opinion leaders worldwide.

Today, this Society proposes to the International Community to make March 11 an International Day of Global Ethics that will enable every one in the world, year by year, to reflect on the future of our Mother Earth and our civilization.