Charter of Universal Responsibility





Growing exasperation

In numerous countries of the world pressures on the population have been aggravated by environmental disasters and the consequences of the financial and economic crises. There is also little hope of reaching effective agreements at the international political level.

A missing link

The protection of Human Rights is laid down in the Universal Declaration of 1948 and the subsequent conventions for its implementation that gave rise to national and international jurisprudence. There is no such international reference text pertaining to the obligation to assume responsibility, to evaluate the impacts of far-reaching decisions and to account for the consequences of actions, whether the actors are individuals, organizations, corporate businesses or governments.

And yet, responsibility for safeguarding the environment and ensuring a life of dignity for the present and future generations is a common task that has to be shared by all, be it at different degrees.

Filling a gap

A new international ethical founding text is needed, a “third pillar” for international life, as an indispensable complement to the Charter of the United Nations, which covers peace and development, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A Charter of Universal Responsibilities will be certain to stimulate the application of the principle of precaution, to encourage sustainable use of natural resources, and to enhance social equity and well-being. Moreover, it can provide an international legal base to counteract breaches of responsibility at various levels and sectors of human activity.

The question is whether the political debate and the governmental discussions on these themes will address the fundamental crisis underlying the current environmental, economic, financial and social crises, i.e. the absence of an unequivocal agreement on the essential question of who is responsible for what and accountable to whom.

Considering the huge common challenges the world is facing, the governments, representing their people, should show the world their determination to declare and assume their share of responsibilities—along with those of civil societies— setting out a roadmap to a new founding pillar of international life: a Charter of Universal Responsibilities.

In order to highlight the idea of co-responsibility, a dialog on this new fundament of international relations will have greater impact when conducted in consultation with representatives of all the relevant sectors of civil societies.

Responsibility… a universal idea

The idea of responsibility can be found in every culture. It is the core of social fabric, the basis of reciprocity in human relations, and the corollary of human rights. And just like global interdependence among all countries, responsibilities have become universal.

We are thinking of Bangladesh and other low-lying countries or island states. With the rising of the sea due to greenhouse gases and climate change, their very existence is at stake. Is this the outcome of their own actions, or a result of wider negligence? Who to turn to when it comes to setting up a coordinated plan to diminish this silent crime against humanity? Identifying responsibilities is needed in order to build paths to the solutions to such disasters.

We see a call for responsibility emerging everywhere, typically illustrated by a worldwide movement in favor of corporate social responsibility. These calls need to be supported; they need to be given a political response at the international level. Otherwise, the response may only be to search for scapegoats.

The time has come to accept the fact that global interdependence must be translated into international directives. This is why the UN General Assembly should assume the responsibility of building a third pillar to sustain the global community.

Civil societies have taken the lead …

Over the last ten years, the undersigned, participants in the international Forum of Ethics & Responsibilities, have initiated, with a number of social and professional groups, a process in some twenty countries around the world aiming to generate “cultures of responsibility.” Given the unprecedented seriousness of the situation humanity is now facing, we feel that the time has come to turn to our governments to ask them to follow up on these initiatives, and to consolidate and reinforce them by establishing an international reference text on human responsibilities.

… Will governments follow up?

We are calling on national and international leaders to exercise courage and discernment in their duties to the people who elected them, to create a historical opportunity to commit themselves through a new and concrete approach to the creation of a “community of destiny based on the recognition of the challenges to be shared.

We are at the crossroads of history and facing a moment of decisive change. We are asking our governments to support any initiative from a country or a group of countries aiming to start up a process at the international governmental level that will set a roadmap to the adoption of a Charter of Universal Responsibilities.




-1- that the scope and irreversibility of the interdependences that have been generated among human beings, among societies, and between humankind and the biosphere constitute a radically new situation in the history of humankind, changing it irrevocably into a community of destiny;

-2- that indefinite pursuit of current lifestyles and development, together with a trend to limit one’s responsibilities, is incompatible with harmony amongst societies, with preservation of the integrity of the planet, and with safekeeping the interests of future generations;

-3- that the scope of today’s necessary changes is out of range of individuals and implies that all people and all public or private institutions become involved in them;

-4- that the currently existing legal, political and financial procedures designed to steer and monitor public and private institutions, in particular those that have an impact worldwide, do not motivate these latter to assume their full responsibilities, and may even encourage their irresponsibility;

-5- that awareness of our shared responsibilities to the planet is a condition for the survival and progress of humankind;

-6- that our shared responsibility, beyond the legitimate interests of our peoples, is to preserve our only, fragile planet by preventing major unbalances from bringing about ecological and social disasters that will affect all the peoples of the Earth,

-7- that consideration of the interests of others and of the community, and reciprocity among its members are the foundations of mutual trust, a sense of security, and respect of each person’s dignity and of justice;

-8- that the proclamation and pursuit of universal rights are not sufficient to adjust our behaviour, as rights are inoperative when there is no single institution able to guarantee the conditions of their application;

-9- that these facts require the adoption of common ethical principles as inspiration for our behaviour and our rules as well as those of our peoples

We adopt the following principles of human responsibilities:

Principles of Human Responsibilities

1. The exercise of one’s responsibilities is the expression of one’s freedom and dignity as a citizen of the world community.

2. Individual human beings and everyone together have a shared responsibility to others, to close and distant communities, and to the planet, proportionately to their assets, power and knowledge.

3. Such responsibility involves taking into account the immediate or deferred effects of all acts, preventing or offsetting their damages, whether or not they were perpetrated voluntarily and whether or not they affect subjects of law. It applies to all fields of human activity and to all scales of time and space.

4. Such responsibility is imprescriptible from the moment damage is irreversible.

5. The responsibility of institutions, public and private ones alike, whatever their governing rules, does not exonerate the responsibility of their leaders and vice versa.

6. The possession or enjoyment of a natural resource induces responsibility to manage it to the best of the common good.

7. The exercise of power, whatever the rules through which it is acquired, is legitimate only if it accounts for its acts to those over whom it is exercised and if it comes with rules of responsibility that measure up to the power of influence being exercised.

8. No one is exempt from his or her responsibility for reasons of helplessness if he or she did not make the effort of uniting with others, nor for reasons of ignorance if he or she did not make the effort of becoming informed.


We commit ourselves

– to make the above principles of human responsibilities the foundation for healthy relationships among human beings, among societies and between humankind and ecosystems to constitute a new sustainable world order,

– to promote them among all sectors of society,

– to strive for their endorsement in national and international law

-to urge all relevant sectors such as Civil Society, Governments, Local Governments, Business and Industry, Individuals to adopt and apply the above principles of human responsibility



(Note: those who are endorsing and joining the treaty are listed below)

Partners of the Forum of Ethics & Responsibilities

1.     General Coordination team

2.     General Coordinator: Edith Sizoo

  1. Communication Officer: Marina Urquidi
  2. Asian Alliance for Solidarity Economy: Ben Quinones (Philippines)
  3. IRESCA – Company Managers: Michel Dessaigne (France)
  4. European SPES-forum – Business Ethics: Hendrik Opdebeeck (Belgium)
  5. World Forum Lille / Responsible Economy Corporate Social Responsibility: Climène Koechlin (France)
  6. RESPONSE – Governance & Environmental Responsibility: Te Kawehau Hoskins (New Zealand):
  7. International Network in Environmental Education: Yolanda Ziaka (Greece)
  8. Human Rights and Responsibilities: V.J. Byra Reddy (India)
  9. Jurists Network: Philippe Pedrot
  10. International Alliance of Military for Peace and Security: Manfred Rosenberger (Germany/France)
  11. International Alliance of Journalists: Manola Gardez (France)
  12. Association Monde Pluriel and Global Classroom Initiative – Youth Sector: Pinky Cupino (Philippines), Lydia Nicollet (France), and Delphine Leroux (France)
  13. Community Organizers: Nina Gregg (USA)
  14. Social Pacts: Diego Escobar (Colombia)
  15. Migrants: Ricardo Jiménez (Chile)
  16. International Alliance of Inhabitants: Cristina Reynals (Argentina) and Cesare Ottolini (Italy)
  17. Retirees: Pierre Caro (France)
  18. Global Ethics Network for Applied Ethics: Christoph Stueckelberger (Switzerland) and Nadia Gianoli (Switzerland)
  19. ASIA: Sudha Reddy
  20. LATIN AMERICA except South Cone: Isis de Palma
  21. LATIN AMERICA South Cone: Ricardo Jiménez
  22. PACIFIC: Betsan Martin
  23. Chairman of the Board, Pierre Calame:

Representatives of Professional or Social Networks

Regional Representatives

Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation (FPH)

Persons and Organizations supporting the CALL ON GOVERNMENTS:


  1. INGENIEURS SANS FRONTIERES (France): Tanguy Martin, Chairman,
  2. CENTRE DES JEUNES DIRIGEANTS pour une économie au service de l’Homme et de la Vie (France): Michel Meunier, Chairman,
  3. APPEND (Philippines): Virginia P. Juan,
  5. INSTITUTO AGORA em Defesa do Eleitor e da Democracia (Brazil): Gilberto de Palma, Institutional Director,
  6. 28.  Alampyme-BR Associação Latinoamericana de Micro, Pequenas e Médias Empresas (Brazil): Sergio Miletto, Chairman,
  7. CHANGE MOB-Project solutions (Brazil): João Felipe Scarpelini,
  8. FICEMÉA Fédération internationale des centres d’entraînement aux méthodes d’éducation active (Belgium): Marc Geneve, Secretary General,
  9. Maximo T. Kalaw Institute for Sustainable Development (Philippines): Sixto K. Rojas, Chairman,
  10. K+e Ventures, Asia (Philippines): Eduardo Canela, Owner,
  11. Observatório da Mulher (Brazil): Rachel Moreno,
  12. On Eagle’s Wings Development Foundation (Philippines): Jeanne-Marie Obligacion-Bernardo, Executive Director,
  13. Red Peruana de Comercio Justo y Consumo Ético (Peru): Alfonso Cotera Fretel, Executive Director,
  14. Bina Swadaya/Self-Reliance Development Foundation (Indonesia): Bambang Ismawan, Chairman,
  15. 37.  Life Learning Organization of PEACE Foundation (Philippines): Pilar Habito, Chief Executive Officer,
  16. 38.  Instituto ECOAR para a Cidadania (Brazil): Miriam Duailibi, Chairperson,
  17. Instituto Polis (Brazil): Hamilton Faria, Director,
  18. Instituto Hartmann Regueira (Brazil): Cecília Regueira, Executive Director,
  19. Escola de Governo (Brazil): Xixo Maurício Jorge Piragino,
  20. Fórum Educação “Infançias e Escolas da Natureza” da Unirio (Brazil): Léa Tiriba, Assistant Professor,
  21. Our Voice (Indonesia), Hartoyo,
  22. Nova Centre per a la Innovació Social (Catalonia, Spain): Martí Olivella, Director,
  23. AIM (India): Sanjay K. Rai, Director,
  24. Centre for Social Research (India): Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director,
  25. Yaakah Enterprise (Nepal): Rajesh Bajracharya,
  26. South Asia Peace Alliance (SAPA) (India): Vijay Bharatiya & Rita Roy, SAPA Secretariat,
  27. Urban Resarch Centre (India): Gururaj Budhya, Secretary,
  28. Centre for Sri Lankan Studies (Sri Lanka): Jagath Bandara, Director,; Waruni Chandrasena, Secretary,
  29. Sri Lanka United Nations Friendship Organisation (SUNFO) (Sri Lanka): Deshapriya S. Wijetunge, Director General,
  30. Global Call to Action against Poverty – GCAP National coalition in Sri Lanka
  31. Global Youth Service Day Asia & Pacific Regional Partners Coordinating Center (Sri Lanka)
  32. Eco Nest – Asha Sadam (India): Ajit Muricken,
  33. Yayasan Tanah Merdeka (Indonesia): LahmudinYoto, Director,
  34. Amigos do Meio Ambiente (AMA) and Rede de Articulação e Mobilização em Comunicação Ambiental (RAMA) (Brazil): Liliana Peixinho, Founder and Coordinator,
  35. Asamblea para la recuperaciòn del barrio Ejercito de los Andes (Argentina): Miguel Ojeda, Neighborhood representative for the organization in Buenos Aires,
  36. Centro integral comunitario En-Haccore (Argentina): Bilma Acuña, Director,
  37. Asociación Civil Nuestro Hogar (Argentina): Susana Funes, organization representative,
  38. Movimiento en defensa de la vivienda familiar (Argentina): Ernesto Paez, Chairman,
  39. Asociación Civil Hábitat y Vida (ACHYV) (Argentina): José Chuza Ledesma, representative,
  40. Federación Todos Juntos (Argentina): Marina Thia, Chairperson,
  41. Asociación Civil Sembrar Conciencia (Argentina): José Acuña, representative,
  42. Organización Social El Salvador por un Movimiento Afrouruguayo (Uruguay): Rivero Ramón Orlando, Secretary,
  43. Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail (CFDT) (France): Patrick Pierron, National Secretary,
  44. Initiative citoyenne pour un mode de vie durable au Québec (Quebec, Canada): Jean Quimet, Spokesperson,


  1. Fábio Konder Comparato (Brazil): Professor Emeritus of the Law School at the University of São Paulo,
  2. Pedro B.A. Dallari (Brazil): Professor of International Law
  3. Carlinhos Antunes (Brazil): Musician and Historian,
  4. Gisela Gorovitz (Brazil): lawyer and certified translator,
  5. John Clammer (Japan): Professor at the United Nations University, Tokyo,
  6. Melvyn P. Lopez (USA), information technology,
  7. Maria Olivia Martin Santana (Brazil):
  8. Raimundo Jerusalem Marques Mota (Brazil): Cultural manager and producer,
  9. Pierre & Mi Jo Chevalier (France): retired
  10. Brigitte Lesquier (France): trainer for elderly or disabled persons
  11. Pierre Tourme (France): retired
  12. Michelle Poirier (France): retired
  13. Médard Lebot (France): retired
  14. Benito Lopulalan (Indonesia): journalist and Program Advisor for Jayasan Aksi Kui Foundation,
  15. Marisa Greeb (Brazil): Socio-Drama teacher,
  16. Flávia Muniz Cirilo (Brazil): Musician,
  17. Caio Magri (Brazil): Sociologist,
  18. Luiz Gabriel de Pieri (Brazil): Physicist,  1st Municipal Secretary in São Paolo of the Socialist Party of Brazil,
  19. Pedro Epifanio Syllos (Brazil): Assistant at Instituto Fluminense de Assistência Comunitania,
  20. Malak Poppovic (Brazil): Economist and Human Rights Advisor,
  21. Nicolas Gomez (Brazil): Specialist in Environmental Education and Sustainable Architecture,
  22. Nathalie Gay (France): manager at the French national health insurance Sécurité Sociale,
  23. Yanto Salim (Indonesia):Explorer oil and gas,
  24. Ana Maria Wilheim (Brazil), sociologist,
  25. Alberto Lacuesta (Brazil):
  26. Tri Hascaryo (Indonesia): member of Koperasi Realino,
  27. Ari Primantoro (Indonesia): Bina Swadaya Ronsatta for Community Empowerment,
  28. Dr. Ananta Giri (India): Asian Forum of Social Theory,
  29. Asit Das (India): researcher & social activist,
  30. Dr.Subhash Sharma (India): Professor at Indus Business Academy
  31. Naresh Pradhan (Nepal): COMMACT Nepal,
  32. F. Bambang Kuntjoro (Indonesia): Self-employed private businessman,
  33. Yovita Hety Indriani (Indonesia): editor,
  34. Budi Ain (Indonesia): Forum Studi Realino,
  35. Robert EppeDando (Indonesia): Chairman of KOMPPALA (Komunitas Petani Pelestari Alam / Farmer Community for Nature Conservation), KOMPIGAR (Komunitas Petani Gaharu / Farmer Community for AgarWood Cultivation), and FlosMIC (Flores MUSIC Center),
  36. Lodewyk Heumasse (Indonesia): Quality Assurance Manager of PT. Konimex Pharmaceutical Laboratories,
  37. Yana Ismayana (Indonesia): Researcher, B_Trust Advisory Group,
  38. Greg S Uyanto (Indonesia): employee of a private company in Jakarta,
  39. Suadi Sa’ad (Indonesia): Professor at Dosen dan Pembantu Rektor III (Bidang Kemahasiswaan) Lembaga, and at Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN),
  40. Natalia Ita Septiana (Indonesia): works for Yayasan Bina Swadaya,
  41. Carlos Cesar Armando (Argentina): Federación de las Villas y Barrios Carenciados,
  42. Alexander Silvera Correa (Uruguay): member of Organización Social El Salvador por un Movimiento Afrouruguayo,
  43. Placido Peñarrieta (Argentina): Graphic worker and grassroots leader at Cooperativa de Trabajo Chilavert Artes Gráficas Ltda.,
  44. Gede Raka (Indonesia): Management Consultant at PT. Integre Quadro, igraka@yahoo.comb
  45. Agus Purwadianto (Indonesia): Professor in Forensic Medicine, University of Indonesia, Jakarta; Chair of Ethics Reviewer Board – Indonesian Medical Association; Vice chair of Indonesian Bioethics Commission,
  46. Hartoyo (Indonesia): Member of Ourvoice,
  47. Ari Primantoro (Indonesia): Community empowerment activist at Bina Swadaya Konsultan,
  48. Adriana Guazzelli Charoux (Brazil): Researcher,
  49. Maria Lúcia Grossi Zunti (Brazil): Writer, historian, Master in Education / UFES, member of Academia Feminina Espírito-Santense de Letras – AFESL,



2012-2015 and beyond

Action #1:  diffusing information on the initiative for a Universal Charter of Human Responsibilities to all relevant sectors such as Civil Society Organisations, Governments, Local Governments, Business and Industry and Individuals in order for them to adopt and apply the above principles of human responsibility

Action #2:  promote discussion on and adoption of Charters of Human Responsibility within Professional and Social Networks and Organisations

Action #3: publish ongoing progress and results on a variety of web-sites

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