What is Earth Trusteeship?


In a world with overwhelming globalization, one extractive economic system dominating human behavior, and governance structures not matching the challenges of the anthropocene, humanity has to redefine citizenship, property and its relationship with Nature, including recognition of Nature Rights.

New approaches of “business for the common good”, a circular economy as well as vibrant “commons” and land rights movements towards regenerative agriculture and healthy landscaping are emerging.

While a framework of contemporary engaged spirituality rooted in the consciousness of one “Earth Community” is growing. The notion of Earth Trusteeship is considered a corner stone in a process of transformation, enabling a “turning point” towards genuine sustainability and inclusive social justice. Earth Trusteeship urgently needs further articulation and an innovative effort towards creative strategies for advocacy. The transformation process towards

Earth Trusteeship also implies addressing overdue reform of the United Nations. Therefore a broad partnership that connects with the campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly is proposed. The Indian organization Ekta Parishad organizes a “Jai Jagat 2020” march from New Delhi (and many places from all over the world) to Geneva for the Geneva People’s Action Forum 25 September – 3 October 2020.

Tentative definition

Earth Trusteeship Earth Trusteeship can be tentatively defined as: a whole of legal rights and responsibilities (embedded in local, national and international legal systems), arising from the awareness that humanity is the leading entity of the community of life, of which it is integral part.

Subsequently the dignity of human beings as Earth Trustees implies that due care will be taken for Earth as a community, in light of the wellbeing of future generations.

(Global) citizenship can be re-defined from this perspective. Modes of property and governance can be shaped from the perspective of equal “trustee obligations”, rights and responsibilities of global citizens and their institutions, towards the wellbeing of the Earth community and future generations. A broadly shared understanding of Earth Trusteeship will address the search for meaning and pursuit of happiness, determining the destiny of humanity.

First Earth Trusteeship Forum

Recently, 10 December 2018, the Earth Trusteeship Initiative (ETI) was launched during the first Earth Trusteeship Forum 1 at the Peace Palace, The Hague, seat of the International Court of Justice. The first forum highlighted law and environmental experts Klaus Bosselmann, Eyal Benvenisti, Polly Higgins, Neshan Gunakesera and Debbie Tripley and The Hague Principles for a Universal Declaration on Responsibilities for Human Rights and Earth Trusteeship were adopted. Historic perspective Since the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), “Rio 1992”, sustainability became a central aim of policy development.

This resulted in various transformative initiatives including the Earth Charter (2000), Earth Democracy (2005), the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth (2010) and various initiatives on Rights of Nature (Ecuador, New Zealand, India).

These initiatives emerged parallel with the “the commons” movement which was rendered academic stature by Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize 2009. A further evolutionary path is now being explored, including reform of the UN.

For more information and endorsement of Earth Trusteeship initiative, please visit https://www.earthtrusteeship.world/

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