Elements for inclusion in the proposed


by the Bahá'í International Community

The Bahá'í International Community applauds the proposal of the SecretaryGeneral of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that an Earth Charter be one of six principal components to be addressed at UNCED in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. Indeed, agreement on the "principles to govern the relationships of peoples and nations with each other and with the earth" will be essential "to ensure our common future in both environmental and developmental terms." We, therefore, welcome this opportunity to share our views on elements to be considered for inclusion in this proposed Charter.

It is our conviction that any call to global action for environment and development must be rooted in universally accepted values and principles. Similarly, the search for solutions to the world's grave environmental and developmental problems must go beyond technical utilitarian proposals and address the underlying causes of the crisis. Genuine solutions, in the Bahá'í view, will require a globally accepted vision for the future, based on unity and willing co-operation among the nations, races, creeds, and classes of the human family. Commitment to a higher moral standard, equality between the sexes, and the development of consultative skills for the effective functioning of groups at all levels of society will be essential.

There are many environmental declarations to which the UNCED Earth Charter could refer and on which it might draw, including the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment (1972), the Nairobi Declaration (1982), the World Charter for Nature (1982), and more recent documents such as the Universal Code of Environmental Conduct (Bangkok, October 1990).

Clearly, an UNCED declaration or Earth Charter would profit from the widest possible consultation with governments and non-governmental organisations. The Bahá'í International Community is, therefore, pleased to offer the following elements for possible inclusion in such a declaration of principles.

In order to reorient individuals and societies toward a sustainable future, we must recognise the following:

The Bahá'í International Community stands ready to contribute to the further elaboration and promotion of an Earth Charter in consultation with other interested bodies.

This statement, offering suggestions for the proposed "Earth Charter", was presented by the BIC to the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED - the "Earth Summit").

Bahá'í International Community
Office of the Environment
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 120
New York, NY 10017 USA

Reprinted and made available by the
Bahá'í Information Office (U.K.)
as part of its contribution to the
Agenda 21 - Sustainable Development Process
27 Rutland Gate London SW7 1PD
March 1996 C.E.

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