Adopted by General Assembly resolution 37/7 resolution 37/7 dd. 28 October 1982
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the fundamental purposes of the United Nations, in particular the maintenance of international peace and security, the development of friendly relations among nations and the achievement of international cooperation in solving international problems in the economic, social, cultural, technical, intellectual or humanitarian fields
(a) Humanity is part of nature and life depends on the continuous functioning of natural systems, which are the source of energy and nutrients,
(b) civilization is rooted in nature, which has imprinted on human culture and influenced all artistic and scientific endeavors, and it is life in harmony with nature that affords man the best opportunity to develop his creativity, recreation and leisure,
(a) Every form of life is unique and deserving of respect, whatever its usefulness to man, and to recognize this intrinsic value of other living things, man must be guided by a moral code of conduct,
(b) Man may, by his actions or their consequences, alter nature and exhaust its resources, and must therefore be fully aware of the urgent need to preserve the balance and quality of nature and natural resources,
Being certain that:
(a) The long-term benefits to be derived from nature depend upon the preservation of ecological processes and systems essential to the maintenance of life, and of the diversity of organic forms which man has endangered by the overexploitation or destruction of natural habitats,
(b) The degradation of natural systems through the over-consumption and abuse of natural resources, and the failure to establish a proper economic order among peoples and nations, lead to the destruction of the economic, social and political structures of civilization,
(c) The pursuit of rare resources causes conflict, while the conservation of nature and its resources contributes to justice and peace, and it is not possible to conserve nature and natural resources until humanity has learned to live in peace and has given up war and arms production,
Reaffirming that human beings must acquire the knowledge necessary to conserve and enhance their capacity to use natural resources while conserving species and ecosystems for the benefit of present and future generations
Firmly convinced of the need for appropriate measures at the national and international, individual and collective, private and public levels to protect nature and enhance international cooperation in this field
Adopts, to this end, the present World Charter for Nature, which proclaims the following principles for the conservation of nature, by which all human activities affecting nature should be guided and evaluated.
I. General principles
1. Nature should be respected and its essential processes should not be disturbed.
2. The genetic basis of life on earth must not be endangered; the population of every form of life, wild or domesticated, must be maintained at least at a level sufficient to ensure its survival; the habitats necessary for it must be preserved.
(3) These conservation principles shall apply to all parts of the earth’s surface, land or sea; special protection shall be given to unique areas, to typical representatives of all kinds of ecosystems and to habitats of rare or endangered species.
4. the ecosystems and organisms used by man, and the resources of the land, sea and atmosphere, shall be managed so as to ensure and maintain their optimum and continuous productivity, but without compromising the integrity of those ecosystems or species with which they coexist.
5. Nature must be protected from plunder by war or other hostile action.
6. Decision-making must recognize that everyone’s needs can only be met by ensuring that natural systems function appropriately and by adhering to the principles set forth in this Charter.
7. In the planning and implementation of social and economic development activities, due consideration should be given to the fact that the protection of nature is an integral element of those activities.
8. In devising long-term plans for economic development, population growth and improved living conditions, due regard should be given to the capacity of natural systems to sustain and settle said populations in the long term, bearing in mind that this capacity can be enhanced by the application of science and technology.
9. Human use of portions of the earth’s surface for certain purposes should be made on a planned basis with due regard for physical limitations, biological productivity and diversity, and the natural beauty of those portions.
10. Natural resources should not be wasted but used in moderation, as required by the principles set forth in this Charter, and according to the following rules:
(a) Biological resources shall be used only to the extent of their natural regenerative capacity;
(b) The productivity of soils shall be maintained or improved by measures to maintain their long-term fertility and organic matter decomposition process and to prevent erosion and any other form of self-destruction;
(c) Reusable resources, including water, are reused or recycled;
(d) Non-renewable single-use resources shall be exploited to the extent possible, taking into account their stocks, their rational capacity for processing for consumption, and the compatibility of their exploitation with the functioning of natural systems.
11. Activities that may have a harmful effect on nature shall be controlled, and the most appropriate technology that can reduce the scale of hazards or other harmful effects on nature shall be used, in particular:
(a) Activities capable of causing irreparable damage to nature must be refrained from;
(b) Activities that pose a greater risk to nature must be preceded by an in-depth analysis, and those carrying out such activities must prove that the anticipated benefits are significantly greater than the harm that could be caused to nature, and where the possible detrimental impact of such activities is not clearly established, they must not be undertaken;
(c) Activities likely to cause damage to nature must be preceded by an assessment of their possible impact, and studies on the impact of development projects on nature must be undertaken sufficiently in advance, and if they are decided to be undertaken, they must be planned and conducted so as to minimize their possible adverse impact;
(d) Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry and fishing activities should be conducted in such a way as to take account of the characteristics and natural resources of the areas in question
(e) Areas degraded by human activity should be restored according to their natural capacity and the well-being of their inhabitants.
12. All discharges of pollutants into natural systems shall be discouraged and:
(a) If such a discharge is unavoidable, these pollutants should be treated where they are produced by the best means available;
(b) Special precautions should be taken to prevent the discharge of radioactive or toxic wastes.
13. Measures to prevent, control or limit the effects of natural disasters, the spread of parasites and diseases shall be taken primarily to eliminate the causes of these disasters and shall not entail detrimental secondary effects on nature.
14. The principles set forth in this Charter shall be reflected in the laws and practices of each State, as well as at the international level.
15. 15. Knowledge about nature should be widely disseminated by all possible means, particularly through the teaching of conservation courses, which should be an integral part of the general education system.
16. A conservation strategy, ecosystem atlases and the impact of planned policies and activities on nature should be a core element of any plan; all these elements should be communicated appropriately and in a timely manner to the public so that they can effectively voice their opinions and participate in decision-making.
17. Funding, programs, and administrative structures must be provided to achieve conservation goals.
18. Continuous efforts should be made to improve knowledge about nature through scientific research and to disseminate such knowledge without restriction.
19. The state of natural processes, ecosystems and species should be monitored in order to detect any degradation or threats to them as early as possible, to ensure timely interventions and to promote a proper evaluation of conservation policies and methods.
20. Refrain from military actions that damage nature.
21. States, as well as, to the best of their ability, public authorities, international organizations, private individuals, associations and businesses should:
(a) Cooperate to protect nature through cooperative activities and other appropriate measures, including exchange of information and consultation;
(b) Establish standards for the use of materials and processes that may have harmful effects on nature, as well as methods for assessing those effects;
(c) Apply relevant provisions of international law aimed at conserving nature and protecting the environment;
(d) Ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or under their control do not damage natural systems located in the territory of other States or in areas beyond national jurisdiction;
(e) Protect and conserve nature in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
22. Taking full account of the sovereignty of States over their natural resources, each State should apply the provisions of this Charter through its competent authorities and in cooperation with other States.
23. Everyone, in accordance with the law of his country, should be able to participate individually or collectively in the decision-making process directly affecting his natural environment and, when it is damaged or deteriorating, should have the right to use all means to restore it.
24. 24. Everyone is called upon to act in accordance with the provisions of this Charter; everyone, acting individually, collectively or in political activities, must strive to achieve the objectives and fulfill the provisions of this Charter.