Draft Zero alternatif pour la Conférence Rio+20 Alternative Zero Draft for the Rio+20 Conference

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The Forum on Ethics & Responsibility is an intercontinental network of institutions, professional networks and individuals, representing a large spectrum of stakeholders who have acknowledged the fact that there is an urgent need for a common set of values to manage our only and fragile planet. They have come to the conclusion that the idea of RESPONSIBILITY must be at the centre of twenty first century ethics. They experienced in their daily institutional and professional activities how this principle is profoundly relevant. They realised that this principle has concrete implications to transform personal and collective behaviour. They committed themselves to a renewal of the social contract through the principle of CO-RESPONSIBILITY, that is: shared but proportionate to each person’s possibilities. They have drafted a Universal Charter of Human Responsibilities that serves as a tool for dialogue within their organisations. And they are proposing a Charter of Universal Responsibilities as a reference text on which international law can be built in order to deal with our planetary interdependences. They advocate the idea that Rio+20 is a unique opportunity to adopt a road map for the endorsement of such a Charter of Universal Responsibilities by the UN General Assembly.


In January 2012 the United Nations elaborated, on the basis of proposals transmitted in autumn 2011 by governments of the UN Member States, a “zero draft” for the negotiations on the Final Declaration of the Rio+20 Conference. Building on the experience of 20 years of reflection and action with its partners on sustainable development, the Foundation Charles Léopold Mayer for Human Progress (FPH), took the initiative to frame an “alternative zero draft” (AZD). This text has subsequently been endorsed by the International Forum on Ethics & Responsibility.


The aim of this AZD is to propose a coherent and global vision on the major stakes of this Conference, an ambitious vision which allows questioning the current model of development. Thus, the AZD keeps the same basic structure as the official zero draft written by the Secretariat of the United Nation, but its amendments are directed to the principles of a common agenda for “the Great Transition”. Like the initial Zero Draft, this document is an open proposal that needs to be enriched by the contributions of all those who want a new start for the next 20 years.




The AZD starts from the idea that renewing the political commitment as proposed by the UN agenda is not enough. There is a more urgent need to reform it by proposing a critical reflection on the model of sustainable development as adopted in Rio in 1992 (Preamble and II. A). Indeed, the failures of this model of development, based on a pattern of growth incapable of reconciling economical and social needs with the limited resources of our planet, give evidence of an urgent change of paradigm in order to build genuine sustainable societies that take into account our growing interdependences.


In the Great Transition on which our survival and that of our only and fragile planet depend, political commitments and intellectual and technological resources should be re-oriented in order to renew the first vocation of the “oeconomy”, that is to say, the art of ensuring general wellbeing while making optimal use of limited natural resources (II. B).


On the other hand, this systemic change implies the emergence of a juridical international framework that can protect humankind that is irrevocably transformed into a community of destiny and regulate international relations. As a consequence, States have to commit themselves to a process that will result in a “third pillar” of international law: a necessary Charter of Universal Responsibilities in order to complement the first two pillars of international life: the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. But, beyond States, all actors, citizens, the UN agencies, private corporations, WTO, should commit themselves to collaborative policies and establish common rules for partnerships and appropriated frameworks for action (II.C and II.D)




The Great Transition also supposes a profound reform of our current production and consumption patterns which are linked to the aggravation of existing inequalities, to the growing use of fossil energy and non-renewable natural resources, and finally, to the degradation of ecosystems. Rethinking the production and consumption patterns is the unavoidable alternative to the limited and insufficient UN concept of “green economy”.


Extending the market economy to categories of goods that are divided as they are shared while being in finite quantity (like natural resources) has been a serious mistake. On the contrary, the Great Transition towards sustainable societies needs the setting-up of sustainable production and consumption patterns. The implementation of quotas to control the consumption of fossil energy, associated with rules of traceability that should be promoted by WTO, will allow consumers to benefit from complete information on the entire production cycle, but also to permit an equal access for all countries to natural resources, in other words to achieve real ecological justice.


We also should encourage the development of non-commercial products and new self-employed activities that will lead to create “sustainable jobs” in order to guarantee real social cohesion and to develop our common immaterial capital. That is the whole point of an economy based on goods that multiply as they are shared like knowledge and experience (III.A).


These sustainable supply chains will not be created without close cooperation and a sense of common responsibility of all actors involved, thus guarantying accountability thanks to the Charter of Universal Responsibilities. These sustainable supply chains will also not come about without useful sharing of experiences that will lead to new technical systems (III.B). In addition, the pooling of knowledge and the implementation of co-responsibility systems between all the actors must be the guiding principles of action to achieve this reform of the economy.




Our current model of governance, dominated by the principles of separation of competences and sectoral division is not likely to resolve systemic problems highlighted by the current crises which are at the same time economical, social, sanitary and environmental. That is why the co-construction of the public good implies, among others, the definition of precise guiding principles of cooperation between the different levels of governance adapted to each country. This will mean for example: establishing a principle of “active subsidiarity”; supporting the creation of international networks in order to connect the different social actors; organizing every two years a consultative World Citizen’s Assembly; pooling knowledge and skills through a continuous dialogue and experience sharing which will allow for more efficiency, especially within the UN agencies. (Section IV). In addition, tools of control and both qualitative and quantitative indicators commonly defined will permit to permanently evaluate progress to date and the remaining gaps in each sector, environmental as well as social (section V).



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