THE RIGHT TO EXIST OF SPECIES AND ECOSYSTEMSCharter for Recognizing the Right to Exist of Fauna and Flora Species, and Ecosystems
The Contracting States,
Acknowledging that fauna and flora in their many and varied forms are an irreplaceable part of the natural systems of the earth which must be protected for this and the generations to come;
Acknowledging the essential importance of ecosystems in maintaining biological diversity which is being reduced significantly by human activities;
Acknowledging that intrinsic to the right of humankind to exist are the rights of fauna and flora and ecosystems to exist, in an effort to promote coexistence between the same;
Acknowledging that the conservation of fauna and flora and ecosystems is of crucial importance for efforts to confront climate change and the threats posed by global warming,
Acknowledging the efforts over recent decades of relevant UN agencies such as UNEP, UNDP, UNESCO, and many individuals such as UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors, leading NGOs, and governments to ensure that humanity uphold its duty as guardian and trustee of the natural world;
have agreed to the following:
ARTICLE 1: FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES
- All naturally-occurring species of fauna and flora have—as species per se—an inherent and inalienable right to exist. Contracting States must protect them from endangerment so as to prevent extinction. Contracting States agree that the designation of a species on the IUCN Red List as ‘endangered’ requires the State or States upon which the said species is present to take all necessary steps to protect the said species against endangerment and, a fortiori, extinction.
- Nationally-designated and internationally-designated ‘protected areas and / or ecosystems’ have the right to exist. Contracting States must protect them from endangerment and, a fortiori, destruction.
ARTICLE 2: PURPOSES
- The first purpose is to aim to protect from endangerment and save all naturally-occurring species of fauna and flora—as species—from extinction, and ensure and preserve their continuing viable survival in their natural state and habitats.
Accordingly, it acknowledges species conservation and it recalls and reiterates the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992; and it explicitly recognizes the importance of the protection of species to sustain natural life on earth;
- The second purpose is to aim to save nationally-designated and internationally-designated ‘protected areas and/or ecosystems’ from man-made threats to their destruction, and ensure their continuing survival.
Accordingly, it acknowledges ecosystems conservation and it recalls and reiterates the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity of 1992 to ensure sustaining the integrity of ecosystems, and thus natural life on earth;
ARTICLE 3: OBLIGATIONS ON CONTRACTING STATES
- International Law: The Contracting States shall regard this Charter as binding on them, urging non-contracting states to respect the international standards established by Article 1 in this regard.
- National Law: The Contracting States shall agree to enact domestic legislation in accordance with the principles and purposes of this Charter.
ARTICLE 4: COMPLIANCE MECHANISMS
- National Legal Compliance Mechanism: The Contracting States shall legislate insofar as necessary to enable all persons with a legal right of recourse to the domestic courts for the promotion and protection of endangered species and ‘protected ecosystems’.
- International Legal Compliance Mechanism:
The Contracting States shall within 1 year of this Charter entering into force:
- Undertake best efforts to create an independent international mechanism to monitor and ensure compliance with the provisions of this Charter.
- identify their own ‘protected ecosystems’ within their territories and take all necessary steps to place them on the UNESCO World Heritage Natural or Mixed Sites Lists according to the accepted procedure.
ARTICLE 5: ANNUAL REPORTS
- National Reports: Contracting States shall each provide a public National Annual Report as to their progress and compliance with this Charter to the International Legal Compliance Mechanism, once established, by the 1 February each year, and to the UN Secretary-General by the same date prior to the Mechanism’s creation. The National Annual Report shall be provided by a nominated National Authority with relevant scientific expertise
- International Reports: The International Legal Compliance Mechanism shall assess these reports together with all other relevant available data and make public an International Annual Report on its findings. Until such a time the Mechanism is created, the national reports should be assessed by an independent panel of experts appointed by the UN Secretary-General with a report being provided to the UN General Assembly by 1 July each year for its consideration.
ARTICLE 6: FINAL CLAUSES
- Reservations: There shall be no reservations.
- Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval or accession: This Charter is subject to ratification, acceptance or approval by signatory states. Instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- Entry into Force: This Charter shall enter into force on the first day of the month following the date of the deposit of the instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession of ten or more States.
Ecosystem means (a part of or all of): oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, glaciers, icebergs, islands, national parks, deserts, plains, jungles, forests, old-growth trees, mountains, mountain tops, hills, ranges of mountains or hills, or other similar ecological entities such as form ‘a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit’ (Convention on Biological Diversity).
Flora and fauna means (aquatic, terrestrial and / or aerial) plants and animals.
Endangered species means a species on the IUCN Red List and / or on National Red Lists.