This page lists Environmental Declarations from local to global that guide COBY’s environmental ethics .

The Te Aroha Declaration : Whakapuakitanga o Te Aroha

As citizens of New Zealand / Aotearoa, we declare our duty to safeguard the vitality/mauri of ecosystems. Considering that nature is dynamic and evolution ongoing in ways that exceed full human understanding, we recognize that any management interventions need to apply the Precautionary Principle.

Whakapuakina e matou nga kirirarau o Aotearoa, kia tiaki ai i te mauri o nga punaha taiao.Hihiri ana te aoturoa, huri tonu te ao, whai maramatanga tonu te tangata, e ahukahuka ana matou ki te whakahaere urutomo me whai i te matapono ‘Precautionary Principle’.

Therefore, Na reira,

1……..We support the right of humans and wildlife to a healthy, non-toxic environment.

E tautoko ana matou kia noho ai te tangata me nga koiora ki te taiao maori.

2……We understand that any species deemed a problem may have yet unrecognized vital roles in ecosystems and may create opportunities for community economies. E marama ana matou ko era koiora e kii ana he raruraru, tena pea he turanga tona i roto i nga punaha taiao, hei whai rawa mo te hapori.

3…….We declare the right for communities/iwi to hunt safe game and to gather safe plants. E whakapuaki ana matou kei nga hapori te mana ki te whai kararehe, ki te kohi rongoa me nga tipu kore-paihana.

4……We endorse the highest standards of animal welfare for all species. E ohia ana matou te tiakitanga o te oranga o nga koiora katoa.

5…….We assert the democratic right of communities/iwi to participate in making policies that affect their environment. E whakapae ana matou i te manapori o nga hapori ki te uru ki te whakatau i nga kaupapa here e hangai ana ki to ratou taiao.

6…….We recognize the weight of citizens’ observations and local knowledge. E tautoko ana matou i te mohiotanga me te matauranga o te kirirarau.

7……. We require ecosystem studies to meet international standards for experimental design. E hiahia ana matou i nga rangahau punaha taiao kia tutuki ai i nga paearu o te aoe nga whakamatautau.

8……. We endorse the principles of the draft Ecocide Act 2010, which would hold to account Heads of State, Ministers, CEOs, Directors and /or any persons who exercise powers over the environment. E ohia ana matou i nga matapono o te draft Ecocide Act 2010, ara, e tohu ana keinga taumata kawana me nga taumata taiao te haepapa maatua.

Te Aroha, Aotearoa / New Zealand. 
27th May 2014

The Te Aroha Coalition includes scientists, teachers, conservationists, artists, musicians, researchers, hunters, trappers, horticulturalists, historians, healers, botanists, veterinarians, builders, authors, poets, doctors, farmers, business operators, bird-watchers, outdoor guides, documentary makers, homemakers, and gardeners and others.

When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action.”

Wingspread conference declaration on the Precautionary Principle, 1998.

Precautionary Principle

‘In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be applied widely by States according to their capabilities. Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.’      (UNCED 1992)

When Germany established the Clean Air Act in 1974, it included the requirement for Vorsorgeprinzip. or foresight. This was the first formal application of the precautionary principle. In 1992 to aid United Nations states prevent and protect the environment from environmental degradation, the Precautionary Principle was included in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.  The step to incorporate the Precautionary Principle to protect human health, in addition to an obligation to prevent of environmental harm was taken in 2005 by UNESCO:

When human activities may lead to morally unacceptable harm that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that harm. Morally unacceptable harm refers to harm to humans or the environment that is:

  • Threatening to human life or health; or
  • Serious and effectively irreversible; or
  • Inequitable to present or future generations; or
  • Imposed without adequate consideration of the human rights of those affected.

The judgement of plausibility should be grounded in scientific analysis. Analysis should be ongoing so that chosen actions are subject to review. Uncertainty may apply to, but need not be limited to, causality or the bounds of the possible harm.

Actions are interventions that are undertaken before harm occurs that seek to avoid or diminish the harm. Actions should be chosen that are proportional to the seriousness of the potential harm, with consideration of their positive and negative consequences, and with an assessment of the moral implications of both action and inaction. The choice of action should be the result of a participatory process. (UNESCO 2005, p.14)