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Repurposing the Trusteeship Council

The Parliament of the World’s Religions fully supports Section 125 of the UN Secretary-General’s proposal in “Our Common Agenda” to repurpose the Trusteeship Council, inviting “States to consider making the Council available as a multi-stakeholder body to tackle emerging challenges and, especially, to serve as a deliberative forum to act on behalf of succeeding generations. Among other tasks, it could issue advice and guidance with respect to long-term governance of the global commons.” 

The Parliament calls for the Charter of the United Nations to be amended as follows to include a new and explicit responsibility for the 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 will be profoundly 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 actions and decisions adopted under Conventions and Agreements ratified and recognized by the United Nations.

In their unanimous United Nations 75th Anniversary Declaration, 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.” We are focusing specifically on the proposal to repurpose the Trusteeship Council and appoint a Special Advocate for Future Generations (See page 4, fifth paragraph, and Section 125, pages 76-77. See also Graphic 11 on page 7.) 

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 Earth —our atmosphere, oceans, seabed, wildlands, and polar regions — belong to all.

Ensuring that Earth’s ecosystems survive and flourish for future generations is essential to establishing Peace in the fullest sense of harmony, wholeness, and right relationship, and is a fundamental responsibility of the United Nations.

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