The Earth Charter
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 and an Earth Charter Secretariat was established at the Earth Council in Costa Rica.
The Earth Charter is the product of a decade long, worldwide, crosscultural 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 different cultures, and divers sectors of society have participated. The Charter has been shaped by both experts and representatives of grassroots communities. Meeting at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in March 2000 the Commission approved a final version of the Earth Charter.
The official launch of the Earth Charter at the Peace Palace in The Hague on June 29, 2000 began the mission to establish a sound ethical foundation for the emerging global society and to help build a sustainable world based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace.