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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Earth Charter?

The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society in the 21st century. It shall inspire all people for a new sense of global interdependence and common responsibility for the well-being of all living today and in future. It is a vision of hope and a call for action at the same time. The Earth Charter is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross-cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values.

Is the Earth Charter major Focus on Environment?

Although the Earth Charter has a special emphasis on the world's environmental challenges, the Charter is primarily focusing on the transition of sustainable ways of living. The document's holistic and ethical vision includes environmental protection, human rights, equitable human development, and peace as interdependent and indivisible aspects. It provides a new framework for discussion and action, as well as a fresh, broad conception of a sustainable community and sustainable development.

Why is the Earth Charter important?

At a time when major changes for our way of thinking and living are urgently needed, the Earth Charter facilitates the examination of our values for an alternative and better way. In the midst of diversity and multiple choices, it encourages us to search for a common ground and to embrace a new ethical vision which is shared by a growing number of people in various countries and of different culture.

How was the Earth Charter developed?

The Earth Charter is a product of a decade-long, worldwide, cross-cultural dialogue on common goals and shared values. The drafting process of the Earth Charter was one of the most open and participatory consultation process ever conducted for an international document. It was facilitated by thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations from all over the world, different cultures and groups of the civil society. The Charter incorporates ideas and visions of both experts and grassroots’ representatives. It is a people's treaty reflecting important expressions of hope and aspiration of a growing global civil society.

What are the objectives of the Earth Charter Initiative?

The objectives of the Earth Charter Initiative are:

1. To raise global awareness of the Earth Charter and promote its holistic and ethical vision.

2. To facilitate the Earth Charter’s application in schools, universities, religious and local communities, or other settings.

3. To promote the use of the Earth Charter as an ethical guide for civil societies, businesses, and governments.

How can the Earth Charter be used?

Many organisations and communities identified a number of ways how to use the Earth Charter. The Earth Charter and its values can be applied as follows:

  • as an educational tool to create awareness for different choices and the urgent need to take for a sustainable change of our present way of living

  • as an invitation for individuals, institutions, and communities to reflect fundamental attitudes and values important for our behaviour

  • as a catalyst for multi-sectoral, cross-cultural, and interfaith dialogue on global ethics and globalisation

  • as a call to action and guide towards a sustainable way of living

  • as a kind of legal instrument that provides an ethical background for the ongoing development of a sustainable environmental and development law. 

How does the Earth Charter Initiative work?

The Earth Charter Initiative is a collective name for the extraordinarily diverse, global network of people, organisations, 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. It involves representatives from leading international institutions, national governments and their agencies, university associations, non-government and community-based organisations, religious groups, schools, businesses and thousands of individuals. Many organisations have formally endorsed the Earth Charter and many others promote the Charter’s principles without formal endorsement.

How can I learn more about the Earth Charter?

For more information visit the website of the International Earth Charter Initiative.
You will find more detailed information about all different initiatives and links to worldwide programs and organisations, their aims and objectives. For more information about the German Earth Charter Initiative see Earth Charter Germany.

How can I join in the Earth Charter Initiative?

If you are interested to take action or becoming a member of the Earth Charter Initiative, you may

  • start your own Earth Charter Group

  • spread the Earth Charter and raise awareness among your friends, family, community, etc.

  • join one of the Earth Charter’s Initiative Task Forces focusing on: education, business, media, religion, youth and the United Nations

  • collaborate with Earth Charter Partners and Affiliates and with other organisations that have endorsed the Earth Charter in your region

  • donate or provide other resources and needed services in support of Earth Charter International and other Earth Charter projects.

  • become an Earth Charter Ambassador

Why signing the Earth Charter?

By signing the Earth Charter, each person or organisation takes over a piece of responsibility to endorse the spirit and objectives of the Earth Charter. The signature symbolises the willingness to try using the Earth Charter in different kinds of situations. An organisation could use the Charter to evaluate all its undertakings or to modify its activities accordingly. It could also take up the Earth Charter as a new part of their education programme. Many groups and organisations have already signed the Earth Charter and use it. By signing the Earth Charter, you support the movement and contribute to social change. Sign now!



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