A policy-relevant paper addressing the key themes of Rio+20 was developed as a collaborative effort among Klaus Bosselmann, Peter G. Brown, and Brendan Mackey. The paper entitled “Enabling a Flourishing Earth: challenges for the green economy, opportunities for global governance” explores the relevance of the Earth Charter to the Rio+20 focus areas of the Green Economy and the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development.

In the paper, the authors pose the question: “…how can we make more secure, abundant and widely shared those classes of public goods that are central to sustainable development but which cannot be satisfactorily addressed through market-based macroeconomic policy instruments?”

The authors address the shortcomings of tackling the economic challenges with technical solutions and tinkering with the extant system and stress the importance of inserting an underlying and universal ethical framework, elements of which can be found in the Stockholm Declaration, the Rio Declaration, the Johannesburg Declaration, and the Earth Charter. They continue to assert their belief that the goals of global economics and governance should be based on the Earth Charter’s first four principles.

On the subject on the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development, the authors are quick to point out the inadequacy of current governance structures to address the scale and complexity of our challenges. They stipulate that the response must come from the perspective that, first and foremost, we all belong to the same planet and that it has natural limitations to its exploitation and that all humans share a common home and destiny, as well as a role in its governance.

The authors conclude that the underlying approach to addressing these challenges is to look at the big picture and realize that we are all interconnected and responsible to each other. The Earth Charter can certainly guide us in these endeavors.


You can read the full paper here.