Road Map for international endorsement of a Charter of Universal Responsibilities Published in OUTREACH in the UN during inter government dialogues on Zero Document-UNSD-Rio+20
From the Stockholm first international conference on environment, forty years from now, it became clear that the two pillars of the international community, the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not sufficient to deal with the growing interdependence between societies and between humanity and biosphere. With the present incapacity of our societies to curb the development model and of the international intergovernmental community to take decisions most needed to protect our future, the adoption of a third pillar has become urgent. Presently, governments, international corporations, big finance institutions are accountable only to their own constituencies, national voters, shareholders and national jurisdictions regardless of their impact on the rest of the world.
Over the years, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been the starting point to define these rights in a broader sense, including economic, social, cultural and environmental rights which are part of human dignity and social justice . However this claim for rights remains ineffective when these rights are not opposable to any institution: responsibility is the hidden face of the rights. A fair balance between rights and responsibilities is at the core of any true democracy and bio-civilization.
All the reflexions about the great transition that we are facing with the shortcomings of the present development model underline the fact that beneath the different crises there is an ethical crisis, with personal short term material interests and violent power relations being celebrated by the present economic and political ideology at the expense of relations of reciprocity, compassion and caring, between the human beings, the societies and between humanity and nature.We need common ethics to run our only and fragile planet. This common ethics must have deep roots in our different cultures, philosophical or religious traditions, and reflect the interconnectedness of our universe. Responsibility is at the core of this common ethics as reciprocity, caring and management of the commons has always been the condition to be part of a community. Therefore, even the poorest persons and communities claim not only their rights but also their responsibility, towards children, elders and the commons as the expression of being a citizen.
Responsibility is also the core of any social contract between a socio-professional group and the rest of the society, whether it be scientists, professionals, journalists, civil servants, educators, farmers and fishermen, servicemen, children, etc... mitigating corporatist or sectoral interests or loyalty to a limited community with the conscience of being part of a larger one. The very concept of co-responsibility reflects from the local to the global level this idea of a social contract.Over the last fifteen years all the international negotiations have failed even when our long term survival is at stake, as it is the case for the climate change. Considering the heterogeneity of the state members of the UN, all the major states have opted for consensus conferences with a de facto veto right for each and every country. International negotiations have therefore become mere bargaining between leaders only geared by their national interests and claiming their sovereignty. They have become truly irresponsible towards the common good. This cannot be changed except if the international community truly acknowledges our global interdependence and its corollary, the principle of universal responsibility.
Ethics is the link between personal inner convictions, which orient our choices and help us solve our ethical dilemma, and the law, which is the expression of rules agreed upon by a community as binding for personal and collective behavior. Common ethics is altogether influencing the personal choices and orienting the law. A Charter of Universal Responsibilities will stimulate responsible behaviors at the individual and collective levels, be a common ethical reference for the different communities, institutions, stakeholders and people in position of power and authority, and the basis for international and national laws. Therefore, we representatives of the global civil society must: - urge the governments which will participate in the Rio+20 conference in June 2012 to put at the agenda of the conference, as part of the agenda on the institutional framework, the discussion on the draft of a Charter of Universal Responsibilities and the adoption of a road map for an international endorsement by the UN General Assembly of a binding Charter within the coming three years;
International Forum of Ethics & Responsibilities http://www.ethica-respons.net