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Finding of Interdependence

Preamble: a cry of alarm

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Alerted by the serious dangers which threaten the equilibrium of the world and the future of humanity, the members of the International Collegium for Political and Scientific Ethics identify four main reasons at the origin of these dangers.

The first is a lack of guidelines, visions or ethical practices in the exercise of political, economic, media and technological powers by those who hold them. Neither States, nor multinational companies, nor other holders of effective power seem to manifest this vision. The United Nations have determined the objectives to be achieved in order to meet the major challenges of the new century; but their normative function is weakened by the fragmentation of competences between the various international organizations and by the absence of an integrated mechanism, or even of a global human rights jurisdiction, which would monitor the effective and indivisible application of the law. all fundamental rights, whether civil and political or economic, ecological, cultural and social.

The second reason is the growing impact on humans and ecosystems of the physical, biological and atmospheric degradation of our planet, with consequences that manifest themselves sporadically in droughts (and the resulting desertification), floods, cyclones, climate change and irreversible pollution threats. The programs recommended in world conferences to deal with it, such as in Rio in 1992 and Johannesburg in 2002, already insufficient in view of the challenges, are then ignored or misinterpreted.

The third reason for alarm is the growing gap between the rich and the poor, highlighted by the fact that more than a third of our contemporaries are deprived of their basic civil, political, social and cultural human rights, in contradiction with the promises made by the international community since the adoption of legal principles by the United Nations. Our indicators, mainly monetary, lead us towards a market society guided by “all economism”. Globalization then operates against most of humanity and destroying its ecological niche. And the informational change fails to materialize the promises it holds. The preponderance accorded to real wealth - that of intelligence and of life - should nevertheless allow us to chart the only possible path: that of a rebirth of ethical, ecological and anthropological fundamentals.

The fourth reason lies in the growing risks of war and terrorism, and in the absence of brakes on the rise in violence and barbarism. So many signs that indicate that humanity is today mainly threatened by its own inhumanity. But the possibility of self-destruction also constitutes it as subject and responsible for its own history. The issues of ethical and spiritual responsibility thus become major political issues that must be addressed within the framework of a genuine inter-civilizational dialogue.

In order to provide a relevant response to these risks and challenges, the construction of global civility needs - in order to replace science, economy and technology at the level of means and not of ends - a requirement that is not subject to constraints of interests, media obsession, short-term pressure. This observation presides over the creation of an international ethical, political and scientific Collegium in charge of a quadruple function:

Humanity has a rendezvous with itself because it has acquired the capacity to destroy itself and because it knows that its biosphere is fragile. The tremendous technical and scientific advances that we owe to his intelligence must be put at the service of a renewed quality of humanity, by opposing the fascination of violence and intolerance or the materialist obsession. and to its own violence, a living world democracy, bearer of justice, meaning and responsibility, and open to great ethical and spiritual traditions.

  • watch and alert on the main risks facing humanity;

  • discernment, in particular ethics, as to the nature of these risks and the quality of the means necessary to deal with them without these themselves becoming counterproductive;

  • deliberation in major conflicts claiming an ethical framework;

  • advising governments and international institutions (first and foremost the United Nations) in order to declare their decision-making process;

A Declaration for an awareness of global interdependence, an idea which was predominant during the drafting of the United Nations Charter, appears necessary. This call reflects a joint sense of responsibility on the part of women and men of states and thought. These voices must also be heard by the global network of citizens' associations that has been formed over the past decade.

Following on from the Preamble to the Rio Declaration which, for the first time, proclaimed that “the earth, home of humanity, constitutes a whole marked by interdependence”, this appeal takes the form of a General Declaration recalling that, if interdependence has become a reality, it is also time to formulate it as a project.


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The members of the Collegium recall:

Their attachment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, reaffirmed at the Vienna International Conference in 1993, as well as to the Rio (1992) and Johannesburg Declarations ( 2002).

They find that:

Having become a fact linked to globalization, interdependence is both an opportunity and a risk:

  • a chance, because the globalization of flows (financial and goods flows, migratory flows, flows of scientific and cultural information) testifies to a community of life which conditions the future of the planet and that of humanity;

  • a risk, because this phenomenon entails a globalization of ecological and biotechnological risks, as well as risks of social exclusion and marginalization (not only economic but also social, scientific and cultural) and a globalization of crimes (linked to trafficking in persons and as to terrorism), threatening the security of people, property and more generally of the planet. This testifies to the existence of a community of destiny.

They consider that:

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The globalization of flows favors practices that extend beyond national territories to the benefit of transnational networks which organize themselves according to their specific interests (lex mercatoria, lex electronica) without having a vocation to defend common interests. The globalization of risks and that of crimes demonstrate the limits of relativism and call for measures of prevention, regulation and repression according to a common policy and with common legal means.

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The time has therefore come to build interdependence as a project by committing ourselves

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  • both as individuals, as members of distinct communities and nations, and as citizens of the world.

  • to recognize our responsibility and to act, directly and through the intermediary of States and Communities (infra and supranational), to identify, defend and promote the common interests of humanity.

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They state that:

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The community of life and the community of destiny call for the proclamation of the principle of planetary intersolidarity.

This principle implies, on the one hand, recognizing a diversity based on tolerance and pluralism; on the other hand, to carry out an integration process involving both individuals, organizations holding power, States and the international community and assuming:

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  • extend all the fundamental rights of individuals present to future generations and develop them within the limits necessary, in a democratic society, to respect national and supranational public order;

  • to recognize that the possession of a global power, whether economic, scientific, media, religious or cultural, implies the corollary of a global responsibility, that is to say extended to the whole field of the effects of this power ;

  • to encourage sovereign states to recognize the need to integrate supranational public order into the defense of the common interests of which they are the indispensable support;

  • to promote the development of representative institutions of regional international communities at the same time as to strengthen the world community and the emergence of a global citizenship in order to develop a common policy for the regulation of flows as well as the prevention of risks and repression crimes.

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The members of the International Ethics, Politics and Science Collegium propose to work on some concrete applications of the principles set out in the general declaration. Far from being exhaustive, this first list will be able to be regularly enriched with new themes felt as priorities by the network which will be formed during the Collegium (and in particular by the representatives of world civil society). A call for contributions could be launched in this direction.

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1) Invent democracy on a global scale

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The horizontal logic of interdependence presupposes recognizing the diversity of the roots of democratic cultures; its vertical logic, to bring out a common base adapted to the changes of our time. In this spirit, the Collegium could reflect on the creation of “democracy indicators” (going in the direction of the recommendations of the UNDP.) But also highlight what, on the side of civil society ”, can contribute to building a “Global citizenship”

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2) Identify and protect global public goods

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Interdependence implies recognizing the “common” character of certain world goods. The Collegium will pay particular attention to those whose preservation and distribution pose major challenges today. This is particularly the case:

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  • Of drinking water ;

  • access to knowledge;

  • agricultural food resources and the problem of GMOs both as risks and as opportunities;

  • pharmaceutical products;

  • energy resources;

  • of public transport.public transport.

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3) Build the conditions and indicators for sustainable development

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Interdependence presupposes making the different time horizons consistent. However, the indicators available to us today lead us to make short-term choices that contradict the stated medium and long-term objectives. The establishment of a new vision of wealth and new indicators thus appears to be a necessity to better integrate the ecological and social requirements of sustainable development.

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4) Build a universalism of values

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Between the affirmation of an absolute relativism and the temptation to define universal ethics on the basis of Western foundations alone, a universalism of values ​​must be built on the basis of an inter-civilizational dialogue. A joint questioning of the great spiritual and moral authorities of this world (on questions of the environment, ethics, the relationship between men and women) could serve as a basis for this work. It would also make it possible to bring out the foundations of a “mental ecology” and an education in responsibility and global citizenship adapted to our time.

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5) Guarantee economic and social rights

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The concrete application of the principle of planetary intersolidarity supposes that economic, social and cultural rights are not separated from civil and political rights. Consequence: the WTO, the IMF and the World Bank would be required to respect the UN covenants on human rights, the ILO conventions on social rights and international conventions on the environment. This legal fabric would be opposable to all economic actors.Bled, Slovenia - 5/6 October 2002

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For the Collegium International:

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ARIAS SANCHEZ Oscar, Nobel Prize for Peace, former President of Costa Rica
CARDOSO Fernando Henrique, former President of Brazil
DREIFUSS Ruth, Former President of the Swiss Confederation
FRASER Malcolm, former Prime Minister, Australia
HABERMAS Jürgen, Philosopher, Germany
KONARÉ Alpha Oumar, former President of Mali
KUCAN Milan, former President of Slovenia
MORIN Edgar, Philosopher, France
OGATA Sadako, former High Commissioner for HCR, Japan
ROBINSON Mary, President of Ethical Global Initiative, former President of Ireland
ROCARD Michel, Chairman, Commission for Cultural Affairs, European Parliament, former Prime Minister of France
SEN Amartya, Economist, Nobel Prize, India
STIGLITZ Joseph, Economist, Nobel Prize, USA
VON WEIZSÄCKER, Richard, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany
ATLAN Henri, Bio-physicist and philosopher, France
DELMAS-MARTY Mireille, University Law Professor, France;
HESSEL Stéphane, Ambassador of Franc
OULD ABDALLAH Ahmedou, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mauritania
SACHS Wolfgang, Economist, Chairman of Greenpeace, Germany
VANDEN HEUVEL William, Ambassador, Chairman, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, USA
HABIBIE Bacharuddin Jusuf, Former President of Indonesia
SCHMIDT Helmut, Former Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
LIFTON Robert J., Professor, Cambridge University, Massachussets, USA

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