Battle for the
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 holds great peril,
and we, the People, have great responsibilities.
Ten years ago, the world was swept up in a
wave of optimism with the end of the Cold
War and the adoption of Agenda 21 at the Rio
Earth Summit. Today, however, the report on
the state of the planet is overwhelming: the
environment continues to deteriorate, poverty
is increasing and the number of armed conflicts
is on the rise. In addition, the globalizing
economy appears to thwart all possibility
for change. The main causes of sustainability
degradation include: growing populations,
which need more energy and resources; affluence,
which increases material consumption and waste;
poverty, which limits choices on how to use
the environment; technologies, which use energy
and dispose of waste inefficiently; insecurity,
which leads to massive spending on military
budgets and the construction of nuclear, chemical
and biological weapons of mass destruction;
and financial institutions and policies, which
avoid addressing the most pressing problems
and exclude stakeholders, especially women,
minorities and the poor.
We, know that today:
- 1.2 billion
people live on less than $1 a day.
- 800 million people
are suffering from hunger.
- 1.5 billion human beings
do not have access to safe drinking water.
- 2.5 billion people
lack adequate sanitation services.
- 5 million individuals,
predominantly women and children, die every
year from diseases related to water quality.
- 2 billion people do
not have access to electricity.
- 25 million refugees
have fled their homes for ecological reasons.
- The standard
of living of the average African family
has decreased by 20 % in the past 10 years.
- 36 million human
beings are infected with the HIV virus;
23 million of whom are living in Africa
without access to any treatment.
- The average level of
Overseas Development Aid is at 0.22% of
GNP in OECD countries; a figure to be compared
to the 0.7% which nations committed to during
the Rio World Summit in 1992.
- The urban population
of 2.5 billion will increase to 5 billion
in the next 25 years.
- 12% of the 1.7
million known species are threatened with
- Average world
temperatures are projected to increase further,
by 1.2° to 3.5° C (2° to 6°
F) over the course of the 21st Century,
which could exacerbate flooding, fires and
other natural disasters across the world,
melt glaciers and the polar ice caps, raise
sea levels and pose threats to hundreds
of millions of coastal and island dwellers.
- The stabilization
of levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
to a range that is considered safe will
require overall reductions in the order
of 60 per cent or more in the emission of
the "greenhouse gases" that are
responsible for global warming.
- The known reserves
of petrol and natural gas could become exhausted
in the next half century.
- Developing countries
loose $10 billion a year due to imbalances
and unjust trade tariffs imposed by developed
are declaring our Planet in Danger, and accuse
the self-interested politics of " business
as usual " pursued by governments of
creating a social, economic and ecological
impasse for the six billion inhabitants of
the planet today, and of compromising the
survival of the 11 to 12 billion people who
will likely inhabit the Earth at the end of
We, Citizens of Earth, declare our responsibility
to one another, to the greater community of
life, and to future generations, and promise
to bring forth a sustainable global society
founded on respect for nature, universal human
rights, economic justice, and a culture of
We, Signatories of this declaration, demand
to Heads of State and Governments to:
1. Acknowledge and act on their responsibility
to turn rhetoric into real action and achieve
2. Respect the principles, commit the
necessary resources, and create adequate instruments
to achieve the Development Goals of the Millennium
Declaration, in particular:
3. Adopt a common ethical framework in
order to achieve sustainability and to reinforce
the goals established in the Millennium Declaration.
To recognize the Earth Charter as a valuable
contribution to the development of a shared
vision of fundamental values and the creation
of strong, equitable global partnerships for
4. Implement all principles contained
in the Rio Declaration and Agenda 21, and
enforce the principles of democracy and good
5. Curb currently unsustainable patterns
of consumption and production, and support
greatly increased research, development and
implementation of renewable energy sources
and other eco-efficient alternatives.
6. Create a legal basis motivating
the business community to become committed
agents of Sustainable Development.
7. Reform the United Nations system
in order to give more power for actions, for
enforcement of UN decisions, for peace and
8. Ratify all International Conventions
and Protocols without delay, and implement
their terms with courage and determination:
including those related to Climate Change,
Biodiversity, Desertification, Wetlands, International
Watercourses, and others.
9. Reverse the tendency of the last
ten years by increasing Overseas Development
Aid spending and abolishing environmentally
harmful and trade-distorting subsidies, in
order to allow developing countries to eliminate
their crippling debts, cover their basic human
and ecological needs, and have access to modern
technologies that use materials and energy
efficiently and with a minimum of waste. The
objective of 0.7% of GDP should be reached
Appeal signed by:
of the cities:
Shanghai, Chen Lianguy
Roma, Walter Veltroni
Lyone, Gerard Collomb
Durban, Obed Mlaba
Cap Town,Gerald Morkel
Oscar Arias Sanchez
Arcivescovo Desdemon Tutu
Rita Levi Montalcini