On Thursday, 1.12.23, as part of the Parliament’s response to the Secretary General’s call for comments from civil society on the new Agenda for Peace, we called for amending the Charter to repurpose the Trusteeship Council to focus on next generation rights and responsibilities.
The statement clearly affirms the values and goals of the Parliament, especially in alignment with the theme of the 2023 Convening – “A Call to Conscience: Defending Freedom and Human Rights.” It has been recommended by the Climate Action Task Force as it focuses on the Right to a Healthy Environment– a cause which the Parliament champions. It emphasizes our commitment to human rights and clearly defines the Parliament’s mission. It also supports the Secretary-General’s proposal concerning the Trusteeship Council.
This is an important and unique opportunity for the Parliament to be a global agent of change by promoting peace, the rights of future generations, and care for the Earth.
The New Agenda for Peace will implement proposals included in the Secretary-General’s 2021 report, “Our Common Agenda” given on the 75th anniversary of the UN. In their unanimous UN 75th Anniversary Declaration, UN Member States called on the Secretary General to prepare a new Agenda for Peace in order to “prevent the outbreak, escalation and recurrence of hostilities on land, at sea, in space and in cyberspace and to resolve ongoing armed conflicts…. through peaceful means.”
The Common Agenda Report is rich, multi-faceted and complex. Its purpose is to shape the UN efforts to deliver on the “promise of the UN Charter”, and builds on the Declaration on the 75th Anniversary of the UN, in which Member States made several “commitments”;
to leave no one behind; to protect our planet; to promote peace and prevent conflict; to abide by international law and ensure justice; to place women and girls at the centre; to build trust; to improve digital cooperation; to upgrade the United Nations; to ensure sustainable financing; to boost partnerships; to listen to and work with youth; and to be prepared for future crises, including but not limited to public health crises.
With this communication, we are responding specifically to the possibility of appointing a Special Advocate for Future Generations and repurposing the Trusteeship Council. (See page 4, fifth paragraph, and paragraph 125.See also Graphic 11 on page 7.)
The Parliament of the World’s Religions is honored to respond to the call of the Secretary- General for comments by civil society organizations on the United Nations New Agenda for Peace now being prepared by the Secretary-General’s Office to implement the proposals of his 2021 report, “Our Common Agenda” and following up on the UN 75th Anniversary Declaration.
We call for the Charter of the United Nations to be amended as follows to include a new responsibility for the Trusteeship Council:
The Trusteeship Council will act as trustee for and in the best interests of future generations, especially with regard to the management of the global commons and such public goods and public risks as are associated with the management of the commons. The purpose of this management guidance and advice shall be to preserve the right of self-determination for future generations and to prevent actions which would foreclose the exercise of that right.
Under current law and governance, future generations are as disenfranchised as the residents of territories held under UN Mandate at the time of adoption of the Charter, yet they will be affected by decisions and actions in which they have no agency. It should be the new and extended purpose of the Trusteeship Council to serve as Advocate for Future Generations in all UN Actions and decisions adopted under Conventions and Agreements ratified and recognized by the United Nations.
We believe that the proposed new role of the Trusteeship Council has immense potential to safeguard Rights recognized by the United Nations, especially The Right to a Healthy Environment. The ecosystems that support life on this planet belong to all – including the planet’s atmosphere, oceans, seabeds, wild areas, and the Arctic and the Antarctic. Ensuring the flourishing of these ecosystems for all humans, including future generations, and for Earth, our common home, establishing Peace in the fullest sense of harmony, wholeness and right relationship is a fundamental responsibility of the United Nations.
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