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A Magna Carta for the earth?

The international discussions under way in the course of this vital year–including July’s Finance for Development Meeting in Addis Ababa, the agreement of a new set of universal Sustainable Development Goals at the UN in September and the climate change summit in Paris at the end of 2015–represent a remarkable and unprecedented opportunity to establish what might be called a “Magna Carta for the earth” for our times.

At a time of great fragility and uncertainty, compounded by ever-growing appalling conflict and humanitarian tragedy, I am more concerned than ever before that our collective demands on the earth are outstripping what our planet can sustainably supply, and that if we are to avoid further unpleasant consequences we will need to make fundamental changes to how we approach growth and development. 

The Magna Carta–the 800th anniversary of whose signing in England we celebrate this year–established some of the central principles of human rights and individual liberty that hold today. Such a totemic document has proved extraordinarily valuable over the years and, in the same vein, I cannot help wondering if the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate agreement in 2015 could form the basis for a similarly long-standing contract for the earth and humanity's relationship to it. 

There is, after all, an immense amount at stake, and that is why the focus of this year's OECD Forum on these issues could not be more welcome.

Read more at www.oecd.org/forum/oecdyearbook

©OECD Yearbook 2015

See also:

Visit Prince Charles's website at www.princeofwales.gov.uk

For more on the Magna Carta, visit the British Library website at www.bl.uk/magna-carta

OECD and post-2015 reflections

OECD Yearbook 2015

OECD Forum 2015