Earth Charter Commission
The Commission is the custodian of the Earth Charter text. Commission members advise and support the Earth Charter Initiative and act as Ambassadors for the Earth Charter. Following the launch of the Earth Charter in 2000, the Commission turned over responsibility for the oversight of the Earth Charter Initiative and fundraising to a Steering Committee. In 2006 the Steering Committee was replaced by the ECI Council.
Africa and the Middle East
Asia and the Pacific
Latin America and the Caribbean
A.T. Ariyaratne (Sri Lanka): Founder of the Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement of Sri Lanka; grassroots development leader and international award winner who derives his inspiration from Buddhist spiritual teachings and Gandhian social action; "Sarvodaya Shramadana" means "The Awakening of All Through the Sharing of Effort"; this message has spread to all parts of Sri Lanka and is bearing fruit in about a third of the country's villages, numbering over 8000, and embracing a diverse Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim population; awarded the Gandhi Prize in 1996.
HRH Princess Basma Bint Talal of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (Jordan): For more than 20 years, has worked nationally, regionally, and internationally to promote human development, gender equity and the well-being of children; founding chairperson of the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD), formerly known as the Queen Alia Fund for Social Development (QAF), the first non-governmental organization to address development issues at the national level in Jordan; in 1992, initiated the Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) and became its chairperson, establishing JNCW Forum in 1995; also became president of the Mabarrat Um Al Hussein, a pioneering orphanage providing full care, education, and vocational training; currently provides leadership for more than 25 local and national institutions and societies; was voted Arab Woman of the Year in 1995; awarded the Grand Cordon of the Jewelled Al Nahda "Renaissance" by His Majesty the late King Hussein in 1994 in recognition of her development and humanitarian efforts for her country.
Leonardo Boff (Brazil): Internationally recognized Roman Catholic theologian and author of many books; a leader of the liberation theology movement, who in recent books such as Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor has integrated his spiritual vision and commitment to liberation of the poor with a deep concern for the environment; ordained as a Roman Catholic Franciscan priest in 1964; resigned from the priesthood in 1991 but continues to be inspired in his teaching and writing by the vision of Saint Francis of Assisi; professor of theology at the Institute Teologico Franciscano and the University of Rio de Janeiro; served as editor of Brazil's foremost theological journal, Revista Eclesiastica Brasileira.
Pierre Calame (France): Chief engineer, École Polytechnique (France); former general secretary of Usinor, an iron and steel industrial group; since 1986, chairman of the Foundation Charles Leopold Mayer for the Progress of Humankind, a Swiss-based international foundation that endeavors to assist humanity in addressing the major challenges of the 21st century; founding member of the Alliance for a Responsible and United World.
Kamla Chowdhry, Co-chair (India): Member of the World Bank's Advisory Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development; member of the World Commission on Forestry and Sustainable Development; member of CGIAR-NGO Committee; professor at the Indian Institute of Management (1962-1972) and visiting professor at Harvard Business School (1967-1968); consultant to the Atomic Energy Commission, Indian Space Organization, and private and public sector organizations (1962-1972) in India; program advisor for the Public Planning and Management Committee of The Ford Foundation (1973-1983); advised Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on the establishment of the national Wastelands Development Board, and was head of Board during its initial period (1985-1988).
Severn Cullis-Suzuki (Canada): Graduated from Yale University with a BA in 2001; active in environmental work since kindergarten; worked with native peoples in British Columbia, Southeast Asia, and the Amazon to protect threatened forests from logging; adopted into the Raven Clan of the Haida Nation and was given the name Killthgula Gaayaa, Good Speaker; founded the Environmental Children's Organization (ECO), a small group that raised money to participate in the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 "to act as a conscience to the decision-makers"; in many venues - the Global Forum, the Earth Parliament, the Plenary Session of the gatherings on the necessity of changing our values, of listening to children, and of behaving as if their future matters; also, a television host and presenter; has participated in a number of programs in Canada, the U.S. and Britain; has written many articles on environmental issues and published a book; received the Global 500 Award in 1993.
Mikhail Gorbachev, Co-chair (Russia): Served as president of the Soviet Union from 1990-1991 and as general secretary of the Polit Bureau of the Central Committee, Communist Party of Soviet Union, from 1985 to 1991; the founder and president (1993-present) of Green Cross International; president, International Foundation for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (Gorbachev Foundation) since 1992; recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1990; also recipient of the orders of Lenin, of Red Banner of Labor, Badge of Honor; worked as a machine operator at the Stavropol Agricultural Institute in 1946 and attended Moscow State University where he graduated in law.
Wakako Hironaka (Japan): Member of the Japanese Parliament, House of Councilors; member of GLOBE (Global Legislators Organization for a Balanced Environment); former state minister and director general of the Environment Agency in Japan; a writer and translator; among her books is What Values Should We Leave for the Future Generations? (a two-volume series containing interviews with distinguished world leaders).
John Hoyt (USA): President emeritus of the Humane Society of the United States; president of the Center for Respect of Life and Environment, president of EarthKind U.S.A., vice chair of the board of directors of EarthKind International, president of the International Center for Earth Concerns, member of the Grupo de los Cien, president of the Center for Earth Concerns of Costa Rica, member of Board of Advisors of the Albert Schweitzer Institute for the Humanities, and member of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Visionary Leadership; served as president of the World Society for the Protection of Animals and president of the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education; author of Animals in Peril: How "Sustainable Use" is Wiping Out the World's Wildlife.
Yolanda Kakabadse (Ecuador): Executive president of the Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano and president of the World Conservation Union (IUCN); Fundación Futuro Latinoamericano designs and organized policy dialogues among decision-makers in Latin America on sustainable development; during the Rio Earth Summit (UNCED,1992), served as NGO liaison officer; counselor to the vice president for Environment and Sustainable Development of the World Bank; senior advisor to the Global Environment Facility; member of the board of directors of the Worldwide Fund for Nature International, the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development, and the World Resources Institute's Global Council.
Ruud Lubbers (The Netherlands): Currently the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; former Prime Minister of The Netherlands, (1982-1994); professor of Globalization at GLOBUS (Institute for Globalization and Sustainable Development), Tilburg University; chair, Clingendael, Dutch Institute for International Relations; chair, Scientific Institute of the political party Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA); chair, Social Council of the Tinbergen Institute; former minister for economic affairs (1973-1977) in the Netherlands; former president of World Wildlife Fund (1999-2001).
Elizabeth May (Canada): Environmentalist, writer, activist, broadcaster, and lawyer; executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada; member of the board of directors of the International Institute for Sustainable Development; vice chair of the National Round Table for the Environment and Economy; former associate general council for the Public Interest Advocacy Centre representing consumer, poverty, and environmental groups; served on the boards of Earth Day 1990 and Friends of Earth, Canada; honorary member of the board for the Canadian Environmental Network; founder of the Canadian Environmental Defense Fund and Women for a Healthy Planet and Cultural Survival (Canada); in 1996, received the award for Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Education by the Ontario Society for Environmental Education.
Federico Mayor (Spain): Former director general of UNESCO; from 1963 to 1973, professor of biochemistry, Faculty of Pharmacy of the University of Grenada, Spain; one of his major fields of study concerned prenatal biochemistry and the brain of the child; first director of "Severo Ochoa" Molecular Biology Centre; from 1976 to 1977, member of the UNESCO Advisory Committee for Scientific Research and Human Needs.
Shridath Ramphal (Guyana): Former secretary-general of the British Commonwealth of Nations; served on five international commissions on global issues, including the Brandt Independent Commission on International Development Issues and the World Commission on Environment and Development (1983-1987); served as president of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) in 1990; author of Our Country, The Planet.
Henriette Rasmussen (Greenland): Teacher and journalist; member of the Greenland Home Rule Parliament for eleven years, serving for four years as a member of the Cabinet with the responsibility for Social Affairs and Labor; delegate to the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, where her idea to found a permanent forum for indigenous peoples under the United Nations system was widely recognized by representatives of both states and indigenous peoples; delegate to the UN Social Summit in Copenhagen in 1994; for many years, served as chief technical advisor of ILO for the promotion of rights of indigenous and tribal peoples; currently a member of the IUCN Global Council.
Steven C. Rockefeller (USA): professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College, where he also served as dean of the College; in recent years, his research and writing have focused on global ethics, sustainable development, and the interrelation of democracy, ecology, and spirituality; active for many years in the field of philanthropy, he is chairperson of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a New York-based foundation with international programs in sustainable resource use, the strengthening of civil society, and education; a trustee of the Asian Cultural Council and a member of the Council of the University for Peace in Costa Rica. Has been involved in the Earth Charter Initiative since 1995 and chaired the Earth Charter international drafting committee (1997-2000); joined the Earth Charter Commission in May 2000.
Mohamed Sahnoun (Algeria): Served as ambassador of Algeria to Germany, France, the United States and Morocco and as permanent representative of Algeria to the United Nations (1983-1987); Special advisor to the War-torn Societies Project, UNRISD, Geneva; special UNESCO advisor for the Culture of Peace Program; member of special advisory groups concerned with human rights, humanitarian assistance, development, environment, and conflict resolution; member of the World Commission on Environment and Development; special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations during the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED,1992); executive director of the first phase of the Earth Charter Initiative (1994-1995).
Awraham Soetendorp (The Netherlands): a rabbi, human rights activist, environmentalist and writer; born in Amsterdam in 1943 and saved as an infant by non-Jews during the Second World War; reestablished Jewish communities in the Netherlands; the co-chair of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders and a founding member of Green Cross International; founder and chair of the Hope for Children Foundation, which aims to secure a percentage of annual gross national incomes for the education of children world wide.
Mercedes Sosa, Co-chair (Argentina): Internationally known singer and social activist; member of Latin American music school of the "nueva trova"; suffered exile during the years of dictatorship in Argentina because of her political and social criticism expressed through her music; throughout her life, has supported causes related to human rights, the dignity of peoples, self-determination, conservation, the renewal of Latin American values, and regional unity; solidarity, hope, and love are themes always present in her songs.
Maurice F. Strong, Co-Chair (Canada): President of the Council of the University for Peace; founding chairperson of the Earth Council; Secretary General of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit); during 1985-1986, served as under-secretary general of the United Nations and executive coordinator of the United Nations Office for Emergency Operations in Africa; a member of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1983-1987); served as Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972; the first executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1973; currently an advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations and serves on the boards of several public service organizations and corporations.
Pauline Tangiora (Aotearoa, New Zealand): Member of the International Steering Committee on Health for Minorities; executive member of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples' Regional Women's Committee; member of Rigoberta Menchu's Committee, Indigenous Initiative for Peace; lifetime member of the Maori Women's Welfare Leagues; director of Maori International; a trained family counselor and justice liaison; in 1989 awarded the Queen's Service Medal for her community work in New Zealand and in 1990 awarded the New Zealand Commemoration Medal.
Amadou Toumani Touré, Co-chair (Mali): Former president of Mali; president of the Inter-African Network for Street Children; served as conflict resolution facilitator on behalf of African presidents; actively promotes the progressive development of democracy in Africa; recipient of many awards, including the 1996 Africa Prize for Leadership awarded by The Hunger Project.
Erna Witoelar (Indonesia): Minister of Settlements and Regional Development in Indonesia; founder of both the Indonesian Forum for the Environment and Friends of the Environment Fund; former chair of the Consumers International; has had more than thirty years of experience in civil society leadership and decision-making positions at local, national, and international levels; trustee of the Indonesia WWF Foundation; member of the Parliament of the Republic of Indonesia, the steering committee of the Anti Corruption Forum and the Working Group on Civil Society Empowering; recipient of several awards, including the 1996 President of the Republic of Indonesia's Development Medal on Environment.