Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

6. Civilisation, Human Values, Democracy, Human Rights, Governance

Sustainability is an essential condition for development in a secure and peaceful world in which human rights are fully realized. New structures are needed in which economy, ecology, social justice and governance are connected, and responsibilities for achieving sustainability are clearly defined. This will require finding ways to ensure accountability by institutions and individuals in democratically exercising economic and political power and cultural influence at all levels.”

Groningen Manifesto  “Sharing the Planet: Population – Consumption – Species”, June 14, 2002

What is left of Human Civilizations around the Globe?

The remark that a shift in values is needed to attain sustainable development comes at a time of the deepest crisis in human civilizations. The added global scale takes on another dimension when there is taken into consideration the consequences of the collapse of former empires and what they leave behind.

It is no longer just wiping out previous civilizations. For the latter stands still the story about Cortez and his troops when they set ashore in Mexico. Fuentos links this kind of destruction of an entire civilization to ‘betrayal of love’.  Not the invaders end up being the sacrifice having been prepared for them by the religious leaders, but the invaders hid under their uniforms the weapons when going to attend the religious ceremony and ended up killing the high priests. That act already signaled the beginning of the colonization process.

Carlos Fuentez would say when looking back over history, that the binding elements of civilization are to be found in the ‘broken mirror’. Nowadays these fragmented pieces of an original cultural identity make up today's masks. Human faces are hardly to be seen but rather facial features are reflected in bits and pieces of images people wish to attain when walking in the streets and when working. These images reflect their efforts to uphold a certain standard as they  cope with life in overcrowded cities in a global world. The latter is burdened by widespread illiteracy and too many children growing up too quickly since without parents. In the slums streets go nowhere safe to the rubbish dumps.

The recent uprising in Mexico about ‘land use’ underlines just that feeling of rage and of resignation, for everywhere in the name of civilization and progress there has been experienced an encroachment upon the land. With it come the bulldozers and the newly build highways cutting through forests and farm fields, while a new language enters the mind to speak about ‘penetrating the market’ as a virgin girl about to be raped.

Human decency and dignity is no longer safeguarded, except in forms of exceptions that seem to rule only in pockets of resistance and privilege. But even then modern novels about Mexico show the deceptiveness of all these romantic lures starting with a young man becoming a famous singer and actor, but only to succumb to the logic of advertisement. His fake success is spread as a message across the country on billboards. People see but cannot tell their own stories as this language of advertisement dominates almost everything. Yet strangely enough advertisement is needed as if a kind of entry ticket into the market. The gates or doors to that market may be invisible just as bare fields hover below or just behind these billboards. These are the waste lands of modern society. They are created according to the rules of the market. The latter relies on speculative developments which continue like invisible waves ready to sweep over the land at any time and thereby leave in their wake ever more wastages and ruined estates. It is a sad world which is driven on by speculative fever.

Expansion becomes the key note for survival. In America, they started to sing about cowboys as ‘Riders in the sky’ once the real Western expansion ended at the coast of California and from then on it meant having to look East or else return to another East. This drive towards further expansion has continued with the opening up of global markets and rockets flying even to Mars by now.

Beginnings and ends of Civilizations were marked by great empires that managed some exceptional feats, e.g. Egyptians with their Pyramids or else the Ancient Greeks with the Acropolis and other temples as examples of the height of development at that time. That is why lessons about Civilization cover basically the interrelationship between values that helped the creation of such an empire and then the causes of defeat and collapse due to a corruption of these values. In the case of Athens there came also the hubris of war against Sparta, something warned of before entering as a war that no one could win but end in total self-defeat. Thus over and again lessons learned out of the past point directly to the moral and practical lessons to be drawn when abuse of power leads to a corruption of values, for it lets governance breaks down. The clearest indication when this happens, is the loss of justice, fairness and equality. Harsh jail sentences on one part of the population while abuse of power and corruption on the other by those who live in an abundance of wealth without caring what is happening to those outside their windows begging for water and some food, protection and shelter has always been the downfall of civilizations.

So then in the current state of affairs there needs to be reminded of the saying quoted in the introduction, namely what the Roman poet Virgil who predicted if no one knows anymore on how to cut the olive trees nor manages to tame a wild horse, then the empire will come to an end.

The combination of ecological and other political movements in the interest of safeguarding the planet have themselves articulated a number of such similar indicators. They believe rightly so too many violations on this planet will ruin the very basis of human civilization since all depend upon the Earth. Without clean drinking water, fresh air to breathe, already life of both animals and human beings comes under immediate threat. In reverse the dependency upon these basic resources have already lead to abuse, exploitation and conflicts. It is clear that any society must have a clear conscience when it comes to setting its priorities and then follows accordingly in terms of both measures and actions decided upon. As this reflects the standard of knowledge of how to go best about it, it all depends on how this knowledge has validated through experiences and through realizing what works if the community framework is such that it gives its full support for such endeavors.

The indicators of what is going wrong in the Western Civilization – in other contemporary World Civilizations


Four main factors are not coming together as they should and thus this lack of coordination jeopardizes sustainable development:

  1. economy
  2. ecology
  3. social justice
  4. governance


with overriding principles being defined, applied or manipulated into acquiescence of will by

political power     +   cultural influence

so that there is


Global Ethics for a Humane World: Human Rights, Duties and Responsibilities for the WSSD

Organised by: Globus Institute, Tilburg University, and Terra Curanda with the financial support of the NCDO, National Committee on International Cooperation and Sustainable Development.

Guest Chairman: Richard Goldstone, Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
Honorary Chairman:
Ruud Lubbers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Honorary Chairman of Globus Institute, Tilburg University
General Coordinator:
Patricia Morales, Globus Institute, Tilburg University

The series of conferences, Global Ethics for a Humane World, that has taken place from 10 December 2001 -Human Rights Day- to 20 June 2002 -Refugee Day-, was dedicated to promote an ethical view for the World Summit on Sustainable Development through the further formulation of the relationship between human rights, duties and responsibilities in relation to the debate on sustainable development. See: http://fsw.kub.nl/globus/conference

Concerned about the present situation of the human condition which, in an era of globalisation, has become more fragile than ever, facing, among others, the sophistication of nuclear and conventional weapons, the use of new information and communications technology, the development of biotechnology, the power of transnational corporations, and the reach of international terrorism and other criminal activities;

Reaffirming that the human rights and fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent human rights instruments remain universally significant and are inalienable and indivisible, and that sustainable development is a recognised human right; and that respect for dignity and equal rights of all members of the human family remains the foundation for global peace, justice and human security in the world;

Becoming aware that conferring rights on people is not the sole appropriate response for the global community and that the enforcement of duties and responsibilities is necessary to make the recognition of and respect for rights meaningful, as stated by the Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities enunciated on the 50 Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

Taking into account the efforts of various groups to make a reality of the proposals of Agenda 21, and appreciating the value of global initiatives such as the Earth Charter which have further enunciated principles of sustainable development;

Considering the importance of enforcing international justice, the coming into operation of the International Criminal Court by reason of the Rome Treaty having entered into force on 11 April 2002, and recognising the need for enforcement mechanisms for socio-economic rights and the need for an International Court on Sustainable Development and the Environment;

The series of conferences make the following recommendations:

1. From rights to responsibilities

Rights of all members of the global community can only fully be realized when responsibilities are formulated and correctly enforced. The realisation of these rights depends upon the assumption of the political, moral, ethical and legal duties and responsibilities which arise from the Charter of the United Nations to the UN Millennium Declaration.

2. The actors - the bearers of responsibility

It is not only governments and international organisations that must assume their responsibility, but also the private sector, NGOs, and other representatives of civil society, communities, peoples and individuals, in a balanced and peaceful manner, strengthening inclusion and participation of all sectors of society.

3. Individual and collective responsibilities

There is a collective duty upon the global community to cooperate on the achievement, for present and future generations, of a secure human existence free from nuclear threat, aggressive war, acts of mass violence, gross human rights violations, mass population displacement, environmental harm and poverty.

4. Common but differentiated responsibilities

Responsibility should be established taking into account objective criteria. The "footprint" can be considered a useful tool for evaluating consumption and production in relation to countries and individuals. The individual and collective footprint of the people on Earth illustrates the need for common, but differentiated responsibilities.

5. Good governance

Good governance based upon the will of the people, the shared assumption of responsibility and respect for the rule of law is essential for the achievement of sustainable development that achieves full respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human security.

Sustainable development draws attention to the rights of present and future generations. Therefore, responsibilities have two dimensions: intragenerational and intergenerational.

6. Intragenerational responsibility

All members of the human family are of equal worth, in the sense that they are not merely equal, but the same. All cultures, traditions and civilisations have an intrinsic value, are of equal worth and are entitled to require equal respect within the framework of universal and indivisible human rights and fundamental freedoms. Towards an international equitable order, eradication of poverty and fair trade for the global market are priorities for achieving intragenerational responsibility.

7. Intergenerational responsibility

Awareness of the limits of resources on Earth and of the damage produced by the inappropriate means of production and consumption, war and other man-made disasters make it essential that moral obligations should be assumed immediately by the present generation. In order to respect, protect and preserve the uniqueness and diversity of all forms of life.

8. The WSSD responsibility: the eradication of "apartheid" of the Earth

The WSSD in Johannesburg should be the milestone from which there will be the eradication of "apartheid" of the Earth, of millions of disregarded people. The situation today of the poor, the refugees and other vulnerable people and women, children and the elderly in many regions of the world, and our legacy for the future generations are the major concern of the global community. Respect, inclusion, participation and solidarity are the ethical principles that will guide humanity toward a more just, peaceful and sustainable society, ensuring a healthy survival of present and future generations

Note: The Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities (Valencia Declaration 1998) has provided this important vision on responsibility, and these recommendations are inspiredby the Declaration.

Websites of the documents: Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Declaration of Human Duties and Responsibilities, Agenda 21, Earth Charter, Rome Treaty, UN Millennium Declaration

Document 2: value premise ‘Reduction of World Poverty’

----- Forwarded by James Sniffen/NY/UNO on 01/08/2002 03:44 PM -----

James Sniffen                                                                                 
To:    grunwaldmr@washpost.com
08:55 AM

Subject:Wildlife Atlas Underlines Vital Role of Ecosystems in Reducing Poverty and Delivering Prosperity ahead of World Summit on Sustainable Development

Wildlife Atlas Underlines Vital Role of Ecosystems in Reducing Poverty and
Delivering Prosperity ahead of World Summit on Sustainable Developmen
30 Years UNEP: Environment for Development: People Planet Prosperity

LONDON/NAIROBI, 1 August 2002 -- Experts estimate that, at current
extinction rates of plants and animals, the Earth is losing one major drug
every two years.  It is estimated that less than 1 per cent of the world's
250,000 tropical plants has been screened for potential pharmaceutical

The first "World Atlas of Biodiversity:  Earth's Living Resources for the 21st Century", launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), shows how humankind is dependent on healthy ecosystems for all its needs.

Eighty per cent of people in developing countries rely on medicines based largely on plants and animals.  In the United States alone, 56 per cent of the top 150 prescribed drugs, with an economic value of $80 billion, is linked with discoveries made in the wild. The Atlas is the first comprehensive map-based view of global biodiversity. It provides a wealth of facts and figures on the importance of forests, wetlands, marine and coastal environments and other key ecosystems.  It is the best current synthesis of the latest research and analysis by UNEP-WCMC and the conservation community world wide -- providing a comprehensive and accessible view of key global issues in biodiversity. It also highlights humankind's impact on the natural world.  During the past 150 years, humans have directly impacted and altered close to 47 per cent of the global land area, it is reported in the Atlas.

Under one bleak scenario, biodiversity will be threatened on almost 72 per cent of the land area by 2032.  The Atlas reveals losses of biodiversity are likely to be particularly severe in South-East Asia, the Congo basin and parts of the Amazon.  As much as 48 per cent of these areas will become converted to agricultural land, plantations and urban areas, compared with22 per cent today, suggesting wide depletions of biodiversity.

Klaus Toepfer, UNEP's Executive Director, said wise use of the Earth's natural resources was at the heart of sustainable development and a key issue for world leader's attending the crucial World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which opens in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 26 August.
"Humankind now diverts about 40 per cent of the Earth's productivity to its own ends, much of this is being carried out in a destructive and unsustainable way.  It is vital that we reverse these unsustainable practices while at the same time taking advantage of the opportunities presented by the planet's natural capital, its natural wealth", he said.

Mr. Toepfer said the value of wild resources to the pharmaceutical industry alone highlighted the pressing need for new and more imaginative ways of exploiting plants and animals so that the benefits were shared by all.
"We must address the issue of genetic resource sharing by giving developing countries, where the majority of biodiversity remains, an economic incentive to protect wildlife by paying them properly for the plants and animals whose genes get used in new drugs or crops", he added.

Mr. Toepfer said the proper and responsible use of the Earth's natural treasures could play a key role in reducing poverty and thus should be seen by world leaders at WSSD as a key area to address.  Biodiversity is, along with water, energy, health and agriculture, one of the five priority areas for the United Nations as outlined by Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

"Biodiversity should be one of the key issues underpinning all decisions taken at the Johannesburg Summit", said Mr. Toepfer.  "You cannot tackle water, energy, health, agriculture, and ultimately poverty without the conservation, wise use and proper distribution of the many benefits arisingfrom the living world."

The new Atlas outlines some of the broad ecological relationships between humans and the rest of the material world and summarizes information on the health of the planet.  More specifically it shows how "wilderness areas" are on the retreat as roads and urban centres spread into places like the Amazon basin, the Arctic and desert zones.

"There is little true wilderness left to support the expansion of the human population on this planet", says Brian Groombridge, co-author of the Atlas. "Over the last decade food supply has increased to meet the growing population through higher productivity (about 69 per cent) and exploitation of wilderness (31 per cent).  But, with little wilderness area left, where will the additional capacity come from?"
"Globalization and the pace of technological development are out-stripping our understanding of the impacts we are having on ecosystems -- putting many basic services at risk, particularly for the poor", says Mr. Groombridge.  "At the same, there is now enough evidence to show that we
should take the precautionary approach and not interfere with the global processes that maintain our fishing, forestry, agriculture, health and climate."

The Atlas goes beyond doom and gloom scenarios and asks how irreversible current problems are.  Pulling together the latest thinking on the subject it shows, through a scientific assessment of the entire range of living plants and animals, just how robust, resilient and accommodating
biodiversity can be -- within limits.
By using maps to show the location of biodiversity UNEP-WCMC draws together the work of researchers across the world that have identified particularly rich or vulnerable areas, including "hot spots" and "eco-regions".  These are regions where it is particularly important to identify development paths that can serve humankind without reducing nature's capital.
Mark Collins, UNEP-WCMC Director, stressed the vital role of ecosystems and how they interact to provide vital resources.  As an example he cited the essential role of mountain regions as providers of freshwater.  "If water sources are jeopardized then this impacts human activity downstream - people will not have clean water to drink or enough to water their crops",
said Mr. Collins.  "Fish supplies diminish or become extinct affecting the food supply chain and trading opportunities", he said.  "Further down in the cities, power from hydroelectricity would be reduced, as would supplies of water for industrial washing, cooling and the production of products. The net result is business failure, job loses and economic disaster."
"We know enough about the distribution of species and ecosystems to ensure that the world's biodiversity is managed effectively", said Mr. Collins.
"Give nature half a chance and it will take care of itself", he said.

For more information, please contact:  Nick Nuttall, UNEP Head of Media,
Nairobi, on +254-2-623084, mobile: +254-733-632755, nick.nuttall@unep.org
or Robert Bisset, UNEP Press Officer and Spokesperson in Europe, in Paris,
on +33-1-4437-7613, mobile +66-6-2272-5842, robert.bisset@unep.fr

At UNEP-WCMC, please contact: Will Rogowski, Head of Marketing, Cambridge,
UK, +44-1223-277314, fax: +44-1223-277136, e-mail: info@unep-wcmc.org,
website: http://www.unep-wcmc.org

Media contact: Rachel Holdsworth/Gayle Nicol, PR consultant UNEP-WCMC, tel:
+44-1954-202789, mobile: +44-7931-561956, e-mail: rachel@holdsworth-associates.co.uk

Notes to Editors:  Images from the Atlas, including the front cover and

sample map are available at

Interactive maps are available on:

Interesting facts taken from the "World Atlas of Biodiversity: Earth's
Living Resources in the 21st Century: * Up to 95% of species may have
disappeared during the later Permian extinction episode, some 250 million
years ago; * 80% of the maize varieties used in Mexico in 1930 have been
lost; * Up to 500 food plant species have been recorded in home gardens of
one village in Java; * The biomass of the world's humans plus their
domestic livestock is only exceeded by the estimated combined biomass of
the world's bacteria; * Starting some 45,000 years ago a high proportion of
larger land animals became extinct in North America, Australia, the
Caribbean and elsewhere, coincident with human arrival; * If highly
variable anchoveta are excluded, the world marine fish catch appears to
have been declining for more than a decade, despite intense fishing effort.

Preparation of the "World Atlas of Biodiversity" was financed by the
Aventis Foundation and a grant from the UK Department for Environment,
Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).  The Atlas -- ISBN 0-520-23668-8,
US$54.95 or GB £37.95 -- is published by University of California Press,
see http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9941.html.  It is also available via
the UNEP publications online site - see www.earthprint.com

UNEP News Release 2002/53

3. Peace and Sustainable Development

***** First Announcement *****


Roundtable on Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace (EDSP)
at the World Summit for Sustainable Development, Johannesburg

Date: August 27, 2002; 11:45 – 13:45
Venue: Ubuntu Village, Exhibition Hall, Tensile One

Invitation / Pre-registration

Adelphi Research, the Environmental Change and Security Project of the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the Foundation of Foreign Service for Peace and Democracy, FUNPADEM invite you to attend a Roundtable on Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace in Johannesburg, South Africa on August 27, 2002.

The Roundtable is co-sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

The Roundtable will feature discussion of Southern and Northern initiatives dealing with sustainable resource management, conflict prevention and peace promotion. Therefore, representatives of civil society and the public sector, from both the North and South, will participate. The Roundtable is designed to move farther towards a global network of relevant initiatives and identify areas for cooperation.

The Roundtable on Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace aims to:


Among a series of topics the following key aspects will be addressed:


Civil society groups, government officials, and think tanks around the world are invited to present and discuss their initiatives and projects that deal with sustainable development, conflict prevention, and peace promotion. By registering for this event, you will get the chance to receive public attention, briefly share your views with partner institutions, build networks, and distribute materials. A detailed programme will be available in early August and sent to interested individuals.

The Environment, Development, and Sustainable Peace Initiative (EDSP) is an international effort to bridge the gap between Northern and Southern perspectives on environment, development, population, poverty, conflict, and peace linkages. Current efforts to translate the environment, population, and conflict debates into a positive, practical policy framework for environmental co-operation and sustainable peace have not enjoyedbroad success. More importantly, these efforts have failed to engage a broad community of stakeholders, particularly in the global South. Fostering new efforts to bridge both the knowledge and policy gaps between South and North is a critical step in the path to a sustaining environment and sustaining peace.

The EDSP Initiative's primary goal is to facilitate a constructive dialogue among Northern and Southern policy-makers, practitioners, journalists, and scholars on mitigating environmental contributions to conflict and developing a constructive environment, development and sustainable peace agenda. Initiative activities develop options for institutional cooperation around integrated development, environmental, foreign, and security policies and programs. Through multiple tracks, Initiative collaborators communicate "environment and sustainable peace" strategies to practitioners in civil society, researchers, and national, and international policy-makers.

The Initiative is generously supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ), the German Agency for Technical Co-operation (GTZ), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC).

Due to limited financial resources no travel grants will be available. Participation is limited to those who are registered for the WSSD and attend WSSD at their own costs.

To register for this event, you may download the registration form at


or contact Mrs. Schroeder-Wildberg at wildberg@adelphi-research.de.

Participants will receive a confirmation for their registration until August 12, 2002.


The organizers would greatly appreciate it if you could promote this important event. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or any clarifications.


Alexander Carius

Adelphi Research
Caspar-Theyss-Strasse 14a
D - 14193 Berlin

Phone +49-30-89 000 68 50 (direct line)
Phone +49-30-89 000 68 0 (secretary)
Fax +49-30-89 000 68 10

www.adelphi-research.de (German Website)
www.adelphi-research.org (English Website)

see also our project websites:


5. Religion and values

The Bahá'í International Community's statement to the World Summit on Sustainable Development, "Religion and Development at the Crossroads: Convergence or Divergence?" addresses the role the world's religions can and should play in fostering peace and unity among all peoples and in promoting sustainable development.  It calls on the United Nations to take steps to involve religions substantively in the work of the UN and challenges religious leaders to prove themselves worthy partners in this work by rejecting fanaticism and embracing freedom of conscience for all peoples, including their own followers. The statement includes suggestions for action on all levels - by the UN, religious leaders, and the followers of the world's religions.

To access the statement in its entirety go to the following web address:



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