28 October 1982
Agenda item 21
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly
[Adopted without reference to a Main Committee]
The General Assembly,
Having considered the report of the Secretary-General on the revised draft World Charter for Nature,
Recalling that, in its resolution 35/7 of 30 October 1980, it expressed its conviction that the benefits which could be obtained from nature depended on the maintenance of natural processes and on the diversity of life forms and that those benefits were jeopardized by the excessive exploitation and the destruction of natural habitats,
Further recalling that, in the same resolution, it recognized the need for appropriate measures at the national and international levels to protect nature and promote international co-operation in that field,
Recalling that, in its resolution 36/6 of 27 October 1981, it again expressed its awareness of the crucial importance attached by the international community to the promotion and development of co-operation aimed at protecting and safeguarding the balance and quality of nature and invited the Secretary-General to transmit to Member States the text of the revised version of the draft World Charter for Nature contained in the report of the Ad Hoc Group of Experts on the draft World Charter for Nature, as well as any further observations by States, with a view to appropriate consideration by the General Assembly at its thirty-seventh session,
Conscious of the spirit and terms of its resolutions 35/7 and 36/6, in which it solemnly invited Member States, in the exercise of their permanent sovereignty over their natural resources, to conduct their activities in recognition of the supreme importance of protecting natural systems, maintaining the balance and quality of nature and conserving natural resources, in the interests of present and future generations,
Having considered the supplementary report of the Secretary-General,
Expressing its gratitude to the Ad Hoc Group of Experts which, through its work, has assembled the necessary elements for the General Assembly to be able to complete the consideration of and adopt the revised draft World Charter for Nature at its thirty-seventh session, as it had previously recommended,
Adopts and solemnly proclaims the World Charter for Nature contained in the annex to the present resolution.
48th plenary meeting
World Charter for Nature
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 co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, technical, intellectual or humanitarian character,
Reaffirming that man must acquire the knowledge to maintain and enhance his ability to use natural resources in a manner which ensures the preservation of the 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, and private and public levels, to protect nature and promote international co-operation in this field,
Adopts, to these ends, the present World Charter for Nature, which proclaims the following principles of conservation by which all human conduct affecting nature is to be guided and judged.
I. General Principles
1.Nature shall be respected and its essential processes shall not be impaired.
2.The genetic viability on the earth shall not be compromised; the population levels of all life forms, wild and domesticated, must be at least sufficient for their survival, and to this end necessary habitats shall be safeguarded.
3.All areas of the earth, both land and sea, shall be subject to these principles of conservation; special protection shall be given to unique areas, to representative samples of all the different types of ecosystems and to the habitats of rare or endangered species.
4.Ecosystems and organisms, as well as the land, marine and atmospheric resources that are utilized by man, shall be managed to achieve and maintain optimum sustainable productivity, but not in such a way as to endanger the integrity of those other ecosystems or species with which they coexist.
5.Nature shall be secured against degradation caused by warfare or other hostile activities.
6.In the decision-making process it shall be recognized that man's needs can be met only by ensuring the proper functioning of natural systems and by respecting the principles set forth in the present Charter.
7.In the planning and implementation of social and economic development activities, due account shall be taken of the fact that the conservation of nature is an integral part of those activities.
8.In formulating long-term plans for economic development, population growth and the improvement of standards of living, due account shall be taken of the long-term capacity of natural systems to ensure the subsistence and settlement of the populations concerned, recognizing that this capacity may be enhanced through science and technology.
9.The allocation of areas of the earth to various uses shall be planned, and due account shall be taken of the physical constraints, the biological productivity and diversity and the natural beauty of the areas concerned.
10.Natural resources shall not be wasted, but used with a restraint appropriate to the principles set forth in the present Charter, in accordance with the following rules:
11.Activities which might have an impact on nature shall be controlled, and the best available technologies that minimize significant risks to nature or other adverse effects shall be used; in particular:
12.Discharge of pollutants into natural systems shall be avoided and:
13.Measures intended to prevent, control or limit natural disasters, infestations and diseases shall be specifically directed to the causes of these scourges and shall avoid adverse side-effects on nature.
14.The principles set forth in the present Charter shall be reflected in the law and practice of each State, as well as at the international level.
15.Knowledge of nature shall be broadly disseminated by all possible means, particularly by ecological education as an integral part of general education.
16.All planning shall include, among its essential elements, the formulation of strategies for the conservation of nature, the establishment of inventories of ecosystems and assessments of the effects on nature of proposed policies and activities; all of these elements shall be disclosed to the public by appropriate means in time to permit effective consultation and participation.
17.Funds, programmes and administrative structures necessary to achieve the objective of the conservation of nature shall be provided.
18.Constant efforts shall be made to increase knowledge of nature by scientific research and to disseminate such knowledge unimpeded by restrictions of any kind.
19.The status of natural processes, ecosystems and species shall be closely monitored to enable early detection of degradation or threat, ensure timely intervention and facilitate the evaluation of conservation policies and methods.
20.Military activities damaging to nature shall be avoided.
21.States and, to the extent they are able, other public authorities, international organizations, individuals, groups and corporations shall:
22.Taking fully into account the sovereignty of States over their natural resources, each State shall give effect to the provisions of the present Charter through its competent organs and in co-operation with other States.
23.All persons, in accordance with their national legislation, shall have the opportunity to participate, individually or with others, in the formulation of decisions of direct concern to their environment, and shall have access to means of redress when their environment has suffered damage or degradation.
24.Each person has a duty to act in accordance with the provisions of the present Charter; acting individually, in association with others or through participation in the political process, each person shall strive to ensure that the objectives and requirements of the present Charter are met.