The third pillar - RIO+20

Putting the Charter of Universal Responsibilities on the agenda of the international community

Pierre CALAME, 2012

The need of the international community for a “third ethical pillar” as a complement to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, has been recognised since about forty years. There have been numerous initiatives going in this direction. No one succeeded. These experiences not only reveal the difficulty of achieving such an objective but also show the variety of obstacles that have to be overcome.

The process of framing and discussing a draft Charter of Universal Responsibilities has benefited from these experiences and clarified the challenges to be faced. These are classified here in two categories: 1. specific requirements that should be met by a text stating the “universal” ethics of responsibility; 2. how to achieve its introduction into the international debate and its adoption by the international community. The present proposal is the fruit of fifteen years of work on the issue. RIO+20 comes just at the right moment in this process and therefore the initiative of the Brazilian government is decisive.

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