Responsibility: a key notion for the 21st century
Values and practices: unity and diversity
A multilingual and multicultural Charter : how to translate it?
Charter of Human Responsibilities Project Constitutes Foundation of a New Program
New challenges… new responsibilities
Reflections on the Charter of Human Responsibilities
Asian Forum on Solidarity Economy
Conference in Tokyo, November 7 to 10, 2009.
Summary of the paper presented at the final plenary session by Edith Sizoo, international coordinator of the initiative to promote the Charter of Human Responsibilities.
Political, economic, religious, etc. institutions have so far responded insufficiently to the many world crises. Debates on societal issues (for instance on genetic research) often seem to have no way out as they disclose the gradual disappearance of a common ethical foundation. This disappearance is abetted (sometimes simply caused) by increasing fragmentation in modern society (e.g. broken families), in the world of science (e.g. medicine treating isolated parts of the human body), in that of companies (assignment of individual roles with no collective vision), but also in the realm of our collective moral foundations (respect, altruism, compassion, etc.). Are human beings still morally held by the same values, individually and collectively, in their private and in their professional, social, political, and religious lives? In their relationships with one another and in their relationship with the living, natural world?
In the wake of the two world wars, the United Nations agreed on two texts that have become global references: the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet today, there is no international agreement on a modern text that could serve as a reference for the current world crises.
Solidarity Economy, no matter how legitimate, has not convinced widely enough to have been accepted as an alternative to the current dominant economic system. To make progress on this front, would it not be urgent for humankind to have a universal text on responsibilities, recognized as the "third pillar" of international life?
In 2001, the World Citizens Assembly organized by the Charles Léopold Mayer Foundation launched the idea of a Charter that would fill this void. A working document open to debate was translated and adapted to the cultural context of 25 different languages and a facilitation committee was formed in 15 different countries. The 10 principles of the Charter of Human Responsibilities were debated by a variety of professional and social groups, each of them gradually contributing their share of "cultures of responsibility," to develop a united front to convince political, economic, and social leaders.