Seeds of Light Foundation
Earth Charter Launched
A Charter to Care for the Earth and Humanity.
After eight years of deliberation with more than 100,000 people in 51 countries, the Earth Charter has been launched at a ceremony at the Peace Palace in the Hague.
Mikhail Gorbachev, the former Soviet President told Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, the Honourable Maurice Strong co-chairman of the Earth Summit and a host of distinguished speakers and representatives of indigenous people and religious and spiritual communities:
"The Earth Charter will play a historical role within the scope of international law by elaborating the moral and ethical values for a modern civil society."
Born out of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, the Earth Charter creates an unprecedented ethical and moral framework to guide the conduct and behaviour of people and nations to each other and the Earth. It contains 16 main principles and 59 supporting principles that outline an integrated vision for human rights and sustainable development. The first four are to: respect Earth and life in all its diversity; care for the community of life with understanding, compassion and love; build democratic societies that are just, sustainable, participatory and peaceful; and secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations.
Over 40 national Earth Charter Committees have been set up in the last two years and have been involved in the process of developing the Charter.
"Our aim is that the Earth Charter be received as strongly and profoundly as the International Declaration of Human Rights", says Maurice Strong. "We intend to bring the Earth Charter to the UN in 2002, ten years after the Rio Earth Summit."
The Millennium NGO Forum, which brought together over 1,000 Non Governmental Organisations for its meeting at the UN headquarters endorsed the Earth Charter in its final report and Declaration for submission to the heads of state and delegates at the UN Millennium General Assembly session and Millennium Summit. In We the Peoples Millennium Forum Declaration and Agenda for Action, the Forum urged governments to endorse the Earth Charter in the UN General Assembly and urged civil society to adopt and disseminate the Earth Charter as a tool for promotion of values and actions which will create sustainable development.
The success of the Earth Charter Initiative depends upon partnerships with many other organizations and groups. The focus will now move to using the Charter as an educational tool in formal and non-formal education and as the basis for business and professional codes of conduct and national development plans.
To support the Earth Charter and join its campaign contact:
The Earth Charter Initiative, International Secretariat, The Earth Council, Apdo 2323-1 002, San Jose, Costa Rica.
Tel 00 506 256 1611
Email: info@earthcharter. org
www. earthcharter org
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