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GLOBAL PACT for the environment

Introducing the earth system concept 

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The idea of having one Global Pact for the whole Environment (GPE), instead of individually addressing each one of its different components, (oceans, biodiversity, atmosphere, climate…), is by itself, a major conceptual challenge for International Law.

The initial impulse of GPE was to strengthen the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) by giving coherence and effectiveness to the current sectorial and geographic fragmentation of more than 500 legal instruments. Thus, this new legal instrument should serve as a binding, universal “umbrella text” synthesizing the main principles and harmonizing environmental laws, with the goal of making available to States an international instrument to address gaps in international environmental law. However, this initial formulation raises a preliminary fundamental question, which it would be necessary to address before proceeding and to avoid this Pact to be only a long tentative list to fill gaps:


  • If the goal of a Global Pact devoted to the “global environment” is to address gaps, and providing coherence and effectiveness, how could this be achieved without a structurally coherent scientific theoretical framework?


Common Home of Humanity want to stress the opportunity of this political momentum to trigger a paradigm shift in international environmental law towards a more comprehensive system of Earth System Law, by introducing the complete set of biophysical changes of the planet and their relations with the activities of human societies. Almost all nine Planetary Boundaries indicators already have their own silo legislation, but there is currently no legal framework to represent their interconnections and their way of operating within a complex and interconnected system. An effective Global Pact for the Environment would fill this breach. These negotiations must cover all drivers of decline, increasing the negotiating margin of each country and with it the prospect of success in addressing Earth System functioning. This will make this agreement fairer in terms of historical responsibilities and allow easier integration of bio-geophysical cycles in the functioning of the economy.


In October 2018, Common Home of Humanity delivered a message to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. António Guterres.

Message From CHH to the Secretary-General of United Nations

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In  30 November 2018, the Report of the Secretary-General was launched, where in paragraph 80th it is stated : “The proliferation of multilateral environmental agreements and the resultant distinct and separate mandates ignore the unity, interconnectedness and interdependence of the Earth’s ecosystem.”

Advanced Report

Ad hoc open-ended working group

established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/277


First substantive session

Nairobi, 14–18 January 2019

CHH is participating in the Global Pact for the Environment process in a partnership with IIDMA- Instituto Internacional de Derecho y Medio Ambiente, in the substantive sessions of the ad-hoc WG established by UNGA Resolution 72/277.  Bellow you can see our participation and contributions to this process.

Statements from Paulo Magalhães and Ana Barreira

First substantive session

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In the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (Pag.6) as well in the UNEP news, the introduction of the Earth System concept promoted by our participation was mentioned:



Vol. 35, nº1

Global Pact 1 Final 

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On the first of March was launched by the Nordic Council of Ministers in NY at the permanent Mission of Finland to the UN, the International Environmental Report – Accomplishments and Way Forward. In chapter 12, exclusively dedicated to the Global Pact for the Environment,  concludes with a remarkable sentence (p.85): “Scholars highlight that a global pact would provide the opportunity to make a paradigm shift in international environmental law by broadening its focus toward a more comprehensive system of Earth system law”



Accomplishments and Way Forward

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Ad hoc open-ended working group established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/277


Second substantive session

Nairobi, 18–20 March 2019

The second session started on 18th March, by complementing the views expressed during the first substantive session and focus on item 4 on the provisional agenda for the second substantive session: "Discussion of possible options to address possible gaps in international environmental law and environment-related instruments, as appropriate"


With a larger participation of NOGs, Common Home of Humanity and IIDMA, participated in plenary meetings as well in meetings with regional groups of countries.


Previously, we have submitted our contribution for the second substantive session entitled: “Why we need an Earth System approach to guide the Global Pact for the Environment”. During  we distributed among delegates the flyer “Global Pact for the Environment – It’s time to recognise the Earth System as kingpin of our Environment".

In the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (Vol. 35 Pag.2 and 7 ) our statements are mentioned.

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This second session had a broader participation of NGOs and civil society, with statements from CHH and IIDMA, and with a Joint Press Release about the Global Pact.

Third substantive session

Nairobi, 20-22 March 2019

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Recommendations of the ad hoc open-ended working group established pursuant to General Assembly resolution 72/277 

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Contribution for CHH and IIDMA for the Third Session:

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JOINT POSITION from CSOs involved in this process

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