We are the first generation making decisions that will determine whether we will be the last generation. We have an ethical responsibility to future generations to ensure that we are not passing on a future of wars and ecological catastrophe. For policies to be in the interest of humanity, they must be based on ethical values.
We express our profound anxiety that current policies are not creating a sufficiently secure and stable world for all. For this reason, we need to reset our course based on strong ethical foundations.
Compassion and conscience are essential to our humanity and compel us to care for one another. Cooperation amongst nations, multilateralism, is the logical outgrowth of this principle. A more equitable international order based on the rule of law is its needed expression.
We reiterate our conviction that international politics need to be reformed to address effectively three critical challenges: ending wars and violence, eliminating poverty, and saving the environment.
We call upon everyone to join us in working to replace the culture of war with a culture of peace. Let us ensure that no child is ever again exposed to the horrors of war.
Recent events, such as the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East, bloodshed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Chechnya, as well as in parts of Africa and Latin America, confirm that problems with deep economic, social, cultural or religious roots cannot be resolved unilaterally or by armed force.
International terrorism is a threat to peace. Multilateral cooperation and the promotion of human rights under the rule of law are essential to address terrorism and its underlying sources.
The threat of weapons of mass destruction remains with us. We call for an immediate end to the newly resurgent arms race, which is being fueled by a failure to universally ratify a treaty banning nuclear testing, and by doctrines that lower the threshold of use and promote the creation of new nuclear weapons. This is particularly dangerous when coupled with the doctrine of pre-emption.
For some to say that nuclear weapons are good for them but not for others is simply not sustainable. The failure of the nuclear weapons states to abide by their legal pledge to negotiate the elimination of nuclear weapons, contained in the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, is the greatest stimulus to their proliferation.
Nuclear weapons are immoral and we call for their universal legal prohibition. They must be eliminated before they eliminate humanity.
We support the treaty to ban landmines and call for effective agreements to limit conventional weapons and arms trade.
Trillions of dollars have been spent since the end of the Cold War in developing military approaches to security. Yet, the daily lives of billions remain bereft of adequate health care, clean water, food and the benefits of education. These needs must be met.
Humanity has developed sophisticated technologies for destruction. Appropriate social and human technologies based on cooperation are needed for survival.
The international community has a proven tool, the universality of the United Nations. Its work can and must be improved and this can be done without undermining its core principles.
We assert that unconditional adherence to international law is essential. Of course, law is a living institution that can change and grow to meet new circumstances. But, the principles that govern international relations must not be ignored or violated.
Ethics in the relations between nations and in government policies is of paramount importance. Nations must treat other nations as they wish to be treated. The most powerful nations must remember that as they do, so shall others do.
Economic hardship is often the result of corruption and lack of business ethics, both internationally and locally.
Through utilizing more effective ethical codes of conduct the business community can contribute to protecting the environment and eliminating poverty. This is both a practical and moral necessity.
The scientific community could serve human interests more fully by affirmatively adopting the ethical principle of doing no harm.
The international community has recently recognized the importance of establishing an ethical framework. Leaders of States issued the Millennium Declaration at the United Nations and set forth common values of freedom, equality, solidarity, tolerance, respect for nature and shared responsibility. From these values, a plan to address sustainable development and poverty, the Millennium Development Goals, emerged. We urge all to join in implementation of these goals and prevent any retreat from specific commitments. Moreover, we share the principles of the Earth Charter and urge governments at all levels to support this important document.
For globalization to enhance sustainable development, the international community needs to establish more democratic, transparent, and accountable forms of governance. We advocate extending the benefits of democracy and self governance but this goal cannot be achieved through coercion or force.
After a special session, the Nobel Peace Prize Winners have agreed that the death penalty is a particularly cruel and unusual punishment that should be abolished. It is especially unconscionable when imposed on children.
We affirm the unity of the human family. Our diversity is an enrichment, not a danger. Through dialogue we gain appreciation of the value of our differences. Our capacity to work together as a community of peoples and nations is the strongest antidote to violence and our reason for hope.
Our commitment to serve the cause of peace compels us to continue working individually and together on this path. We urge you to join us.
*FInal Statement released November 30, 2003.