People’s Declaration for the Sustainable Future of Planet Earth (interim)
Statements agreed by Members of the 2021 Global Assembly, 30.10.21.
This declaration has been prepared by the Assembly Members themselves as an interim statement for COP26. The final submission will be published in March 2022. It will contain a full response to the question: how can humanity address the climate and ecological crisis in a fair and effective way?
(1i) Countries, governments, and people worldwide must make every effort to reduce global emissions drastically and limit global warming to 1.5°C in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
(1ii) We believe that the Paris Agreement is humanity’s best chance to avoid dangerous climate change. Parties to the Agreement have to adopt immediate measures for transitioning to a sustainable low-carbon economy. These measures include shifting financial support from fossil fuels to clean energy, improving energy efficiency, introducing carbon taxes, and tackling issues of overpopulation and overconsumption.
(1iii) In addition, parties have to support adaptation measures, especially by empowering vulnerable communities who will be worst affected by climate change.
(1iv) The Agreement has to be strictly enforced and monitored by the United Nations, in collaboration with the relevant actors at all levels of governance.
(2i) Strategies to meet Paris Agreement goals must be implemented in accordance with equity and global justice, acknowledging different starting points without leaving anyone behind.
(2ii) At the global scale, equity requires common but differentiated responsibilities. All countries have the common responsibility to fight climate change together in a spirit of solidarity. Each country must strive to implement the Paris Agreement to the best of its capabilities. Countries and corporations must assume differentiated responsibilities proportional to their historical and current emissions. This means top emitters must lead the fight against climate change.
(2iii) Developed countries should assist developing countries in building up autonomous capabilities for climate action, particularly in financial and technological terms. Institutional mechanisms should be established at all levels of governance to ensure effective and targeted use of assistance, in cooperation with civil society.
(2iv) At the national scale, equity requires that governments safeguard the livelihoods of all segments of society, particularly those of the disadvantaged groups.
(3i) The way decisions are made around climate change at the global level today is not democratic or fair enough. Powerful countries and large corporations have disproportionate influence over the process to the detriment of others.
(3ii) It is the legitimate right of people to participate in decisions which impact their lives. Citizen participation mechanisms such as Citizens’ Assemblies must be expanded and made an integral part of climate decision-making at the global level as well as the regional, national, and local levels. We, the Global Assembly, are a living example that citizens from all around the world, representing all the diversity of humanity, can come together around an important issue such as climate change and make a meaningful contribution through their collective wisdom.
(3iii) The voices of the most affected people and areas have to be given more space in climate decision-making, including those of the least developed countries, disadvantaged social groups, indigenous peoples, women and children, and small-scale farmers.
(3iv) Awareness should be raised on climate change and citizen participation through education and media.
(3v) Fairness, inclusion, and participation will lay the ground for effective and equitable climate policies.
(4i) We uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which establishes our equal basic rights as human beings. It is a shame that after more than 70 years since the adoption of the UDHR, there are still gross human rights violations in many parts of the world. We must now take concrete steps to honor these fundamental rights.
(4ii) Climate change and ecological crisis undermine human rights as they lead to food insecurity, displacement, poverty, war, and disease. Basic rights of present and future generations depend upon a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. This has to be recognized by including a right to clean environment in the UDHR.
(4iii) Once in the UDHR, this right must also be enacted in international human rights law and be strictly enforced at the international level.
(4iv) Countries must enact this right into their national laws and report regularly on its enforcement to the relevant international bodies, based on fairness, transparency, and efficiency.
(4v) To raise awareness on human rights and the human values which bolster these rights, governments must promote education and community engagement.
(5i) We acknowledge that Nature has intrinsic value and rights, as stated in the Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. The rights of Nature are inextricably linked with the rights of humans, they should be interpreted and applied harmoniously.
(5ii) All beings on Earth form an interconnected whole, each of them playing an essential role in sustaining ecosystems. We humans must remember that we are part of Nature. We must learn to coexist with other components of Nature and to approach them with care and respect. We must change our ways of life to protect the right to life and the right to exist of Nature with all its diversity.
(5iii) Ecocide has to be codified as a crime in the international and national laws, applicable to governments and corporations. It has to be firmly enforced alongside existing environmental protection laws.
(5iv) To raise awareness on Ecocide and the rights of Nature, governments must promote education and community engagement.