Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the Earth Charter?
- What is the Earth Charter Initiative?
- What is the Earth Charter International?
- Why is the Earth Charter important?
- What are the origin and history of the Earth Charter?
- By what process was the Earth Charter created?
- Who wrote the Earth Charter?
- What are the sources of Earth Charter values?
- Is the Earth Charter primarily concerned about the environment?
- What is the mission of the Earth Charter Initiative?
- What are the goals of the Earth Charter Initiative?
- How can the Earth Charter be used?
- How you can I participate in the Earth Charter Initiative?
- How is the Earth Charter Initiative funded?
- How can I financially contribute to the Earth Charter Initiative?
The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It seeks to inspire in all people a new sense of global interdependence and shared responsibility for the well-being of the whole human family, the greater community of life, and future generations. It is a vision of hope and a call to action. The Earth Charter is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.
“The Earth Charter Initiative” is the collective name for the extraordinarily diverse, global network of people, organizations, and institutions that participate in promoting and implementing the values and principles of the Earth Charter.
The Initiative is a broad-based, voluntary, civil society effort. Participants include leading international institutions, national governments and their agencies, university associations, non-government organizations and community-based groups, city governments, faith groups, schools and businesses – as well as thousands of individuals.
Many organizations have formally endorsed the Earth Charter and are using it or promoting its vision and many others are using or promoting the Charter without enacting an endorsement.
Earth Charter International consists of the ECI Council and Secretariat. ECI exists to advance the Earth Charter Initiative Mission and Vision. It endeavors to promote the dissemination, adoption, use and implementation of the Earth Charter and to support the growth and development of the Earth Charter Initiative. ECI was created in 2006 as part of a major reorganization and expansion of Earth Charter activities.
It is important to remember that, although the Earth Charter International Council provides leadership and guidance to the broader Initiative, it does not directly govern or control the Earth Charter Initiative as a whole. The Initiative is not governed in any formal sense. The Council is responsible only for the governance of Earth Charter International.
At a time when major changes in how we think and live are urgently needed, the Earth Charter challenges us to examine our values and to choose a better way. It calls on us to search for common ground in the midst of our diversity and to embrace a new ethical vision that is shared by growing numbers of people in many nations and cultures throughout the world.
In 1987, the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development issued a call for creation of a new charter that would set forth fundamental principles for sustainable development. The drafting of an Earth Charter was part of the unfinished business of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. In 1994, Maurice Strong, the secretary general of the Earth Summit and chairman of the Earth Council, and Mikhail Gorbachev, president of Green Cross International, launched a new Earth Charter Initiative with support from the Dutch government. An Earth Charter Commission was formed in 1997 to oversee the project. After years of consultation and drafting process the Earth Charter was launched in June 2000.
The Earth Charter is the product of a decade long, worldwide, cross-cultural conversation about common goals and shared values. The drafting of the Earth Charter has involved the most open and participatory consultation process ever conducted in connection with an international document. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations from all regions of the world, different cultures, and diverse sectors of society have participated. The Charter has been shaped by both experts and representatives of grassroots communities. It is a people's treaty that sets forth an important expression of the hopes and aspirations of the emerging global civil society.
Early in 1997, the Earth Charter Commission formed an international drafting committee. The drafting committee helped to conduct the international consultation process, and the evolution and development of the document reflects the progress of the worldwide dialogue on the Earth Charter. Beginning with the Benchmark Draft issued by the Commission following the Rio+5 Forum in Rio de Janeiro, drafts of the Earth Charter were circulated internationally as part of the consultation process. Meeting at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters in Paris in March 2000, the Commission approved a final version of the Earth Charter.
Together with the Earth Charter consultation process, the most important influences shaping the ideas and values in the Earth Charter are contemporary science, international law, the wisdom of the world's great religions and philosophical traditions, the declarations and reports of the seven UN summit conferences held during the 1990s, the global ethics movement, numerous nongovernmental declarations and people's treaties issued over the past thirty years, and best practices for building sustainable communities.
Although in the Earth Charter there is a special emphasis on the world's environmental challenges, the Charter is centrally concerned with the transition to sustainable ways of living and sustainable human development. The document's inclusive ethical vision recognizes that environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace are interdependent and indivisible. It provides a new framework for thinking about and addressing these issues. The result is a fresh, broad conception of what constitutes a sustainable community and sustainable development.
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.
The goals of the Earth Charter Initiative are:
Many organizations and communities are finding that there are a variety of interrelated ways to utilize the Earth Charter and to implement its values. The Earth Charter can be used as:
For more than a decade the Earth Charter Initiative has been funded by contributions from governments, private foundations, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals. In 1994 The Dutch Government supplied the funding for the startup of the new Earth Charter initiative. Between 1994 and 2000, over $1.5 million was contributed in support of the undertaking. Currently the ECI is funded mainly by individuals and foundations.
Financial contributions in support of Earth Charter International (ECI) may be made to the Earth Charter Fund in a special Earth Charter bank account managed by the University for Peace in Costa Rica. Financial contributions may also be made to the Earth Charter Fund at The Philanthropic Collaborative managed by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Inc. (RPA) based in New York City, USA. RPA is a non profit organization (501(c)(3) that provides philanthropic, financial and administrative services to individual donors, foundations, and a variety of non-profit organizations. On behalf of Earth Charter International, Earth Charter Associates, Ltd. engages the services of RPA.
Donors to ECI can make contributions to these two Earth Charter funds through the Earth Charter website using a credit card donation system.
Donations in support of ECI are used to cover the operating expenses of the ECI Secretariat. The bank records and transfer records of the two accounts in Costa Rica and New York are professionally maintained and are annually audited by an outside professional auditor.
The financial management of ECI is overseen by the ECI Council. The ECI Council approves an annual operating Budget for ECI. The ECI Secretariat is responsible for operating within the approved budget, for preparing financial reports and keeping the Council fully informed regarding financial affairs. The ECI Council Resource Mobilization Committee directs ECI fundraising efforts and seeks the contribution of other essential resources.
When making a contribution to the Earth Charter Fund at the University for Peace in Costa Rica in support of ECI, notification should be sent to Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of the ECI Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org). The following information should be used for transferring contributions, including electronic cash transfers to Earth Charter International in Costa Rica.
Name of Bank: Banco Nacional de Costa Rica
Financial contributions to the Earth Charter Fund at RPA can be sent to the following bank account in New York. An e-mail should be sent to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors noting the transfer, attention Chris Page: email@example.com.
Name of Bank: JP Morgan/Chase Private Banking