Ethics Specialist Group

Specialist Group Profile

Chair: Professor Klaus Bosselmann

Deputy Chair: Dr Peter Burdon

Friend of the Chair: Professor J Ronald Engel

The year in review

The Ethics Specialist Group had a busy year working on its first major publication and preparing for the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The two main projects of the ESG are the Biosphere Ethics Initiative (BEI) and Earth Democracy. The BEI seeks to highlight and implement ethical principles in action through its local-global meetings called Relatos. Earth Democracy seeks governance structures that will best allow for biodiversity conservation.

In 2012, work began on the IUCN publication, Reasons for Hope: The Ethical Promise of the World Conservation Movement, co-edited by ESG Deputy Chair, Dr. Kathryn Gwiazdon, along with Dr. J. Ronald Engel (IUCN Ethics Working Group co-founder and WCEL Friend of the Chair). The book will discuss the importance of ethics in global conservation efforts and offer a practical methodology, the Relato Methodology, which integrates ethical discourse and action into planning and decision-making, as seen through six formal Relatos held 2007-2012.

Dr. Gwiazdon represented the ESG at the 6th World Water Forum. She worked with the International Task Force on the Cultural and Spiritual Values of Water. The final Commitment of the Forum was to begin drafting The Marseille Water Ethic: toward a cultural and spiritual approach to water, to be presented at the 7th World Water Forum in 2015.

ESG Chair Dr. Klaus Bosselmann attended the Rio+20 Summit and presented a White Paper on behalf of ESG at several official side events. Entitled “Earth Democracy: Institutions of Governance for Sustainability”, the White Paper calls for developing trusteeship functions for international organizations to safeguard the global commons. The trusteeship approach is being followed through within the IUCN to influence the current UN process of institutional reform. A book will be published in late 2013.

ESG leadership and several members met at the University of La Rochelle Law School in La Rochelle, France for the annual gathering of the Global Ecological Integrity Group. The topic was “Confronting Collapse: What Agencies, Institutions and Strategies Are Needed for a Better World? How to Achieve Environmental Justice?”

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