International Ethical, Scientific and Political Collegium, also called Collegium International is a high-level group created in 2002.
The International Ethical, Political and Scientific Collegium is committed, according to its founders "to respond intelligently and forcefully to the decisive challenges facing humankind". An appeal calling for the Collegium's establishment was made public in February 2002 in New York and its membership was officially presented on 2 April 2003 in Brussels before the European Parliament.
Collegium members and associate members, signatories of the Appeal, are scientists, philosophers and present and former Heads of State and Government.
Co-chaired by Michel Rocard, a former Prime Minister of France, and by Milan Kucan, who at the time of the Collegium's founding served as President of the Republic of Slovenia, the group's members include:
- former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil
- former President Alpha Oumar Konaré of Mali
- Ruth Dreifuss, former Federal Counsellor of Switzerland
- philosopher Edgar Morin
- philosopher Jürgen Habermas
- philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy
- international-law professor Mireille Delmas-Marty
- Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz
- Nobel Prize winner Amartya Sen
- former Ambassador of France to the United Nations Stéphane Hessel, who was also present at the creation of the United Nations itself
- former ambassador of the USA William vanden Heuvel
The film-producer Sacha Goldman serves as the Collegium's Secretary General.
Open letters, public meetings, conferences, etc.
- September 2004: Open letter to the candidates of the United States presidential election, 2004, President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, published  in The Nation, US-based weekly magazine
- March 2007: Roundtable in Geneva on the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights
- September 2007: Roundtable in Paris about Science and Politics
Declaration of Interdependence
The Collegium states its concerns in the Preamble to the Declaration of Interdependence:
Alerted by the dangers that threaten the equilibrium of the world and the future of humanity, the members of the International Ethical, Political and Scientific Collegium have identified four principal reasons as the origin of these dangers.
The first is a lack of orientation, vision or ethical practices in the exercise of political, economic, media, and technological power by those who hold it. Neither States nor multinational corporations nor other holders of effective power appear to express this vision. The United Nations identified the objectives to be achieved in order to respond to the major challenges of the new century; however, its normative function is weakened by the fragmentation of competences, between the various international organizations, and by the absence of an integrated mechanism, such as a world human rights jurisdiction, which would control the effective and indivisible application of all fundamental rights, whether civil, political, economic, cultural and/or social.
This ethical weakness is all the more serious given that there is an increasing deficit of responsibility: as globalization occurs, power is concentrated, but responsibility becomes diluted. Today, effective power is disseminated between economic, political, media, social, cultural, intellectual and religious players, without clearly predetermining the conditions and means of their responsibility with regard to the peoples and citizens concerned.
The second is the growing impact on human beings and the ecosystems, of the physical, biological, and atmospheric degradation of our world, with consequences manifested in a sporadic manner through droughts (and consequent desertification), floods, cyclones, climatic changes and the threats of irreversible pollution. The programs advocated at the world Conferences of Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Johannesburg in 2002 for dealing with such threats, already insufficient solutions in relation to the risks, are afterwards ignored or misinterpreted.
The third reason for alarm is the widening gulf between rich and poor, exemplified by the fact that more than two-thirds of the world's population today are deprived of their political, economic and cultural human rights, in contradiction with the promises that have been formulated by the international community since the adoption of the legal instruments drafted by the United Nations. Our primary indicators, which are principally monetary, are leading us towards a market society guided by pure economics. Globalization thus works to the detriment of the majority of humanity by destroying its ecological backbone. The informational mutation is failing to attain the promises that it has been holding. The weight accorded to true riches — those of intelligence and life — should however lead us to take the only possible route: a renaissance of ethical, ecological and anthropological fundamentals.
The fourth reason resides in the growing risks of war and terrorism, and in the absence of ways to curb rising violence and barbarity, which indicate that humanity today is principally threatened by its own inhumanity. However, the possibility of humanity's self-destruction makes it its own victim, while being in charge of its own history. The stakes of an ethical and spiritual responsibility are thus becoming major political issues that must be treated within the framework of a genuine dialogue between civilizations.
In order to come forward with a pertinent response to these risks and challenges — replacing science, economics and technology in the realm of means and not of ends - the construction of world civility requires an entity, which is not subject to the constraints of particular interests, to media obsession, or to short-term pressure. This established fact is now the driving force behind the creation of an International Ethical, Political and Scientific Collegium that has a quadruple function:
To be vigilant and alert regarding the principal risks faced by humanity; To apply discernment, in particular ethical, as to the nature of these risks and the quality of the means which are necessary for dealing with them, without such means becoming themselves counter-productive; To deliberate in the event of major conflicts, which call for an ethical framework; To give advice to governments and international institutions (primarily the United Nations) in order to clarify their decision-making procedures.
An appeal for an acute awareness of world interdependence, an idea that was predominant during the drafting of the United Nations Charter, appears necessary. This appeal reflects the joint responsibilities of Statesmen and -women as well as of men and women relevant in the different fields that affect the life of the planet and the thinking of its people. These voices must also make themselves heard through the world network of civil society that has taken shape during the last decade.
As a follow-up to the Preamble of the Declaration of Rio which, for the first time, proclaimed that "the Earth, home of humanity, constitutes a whole denoted by interdependence", this appeal takes the form of a general Declaration, recalling that if interdependence has become a reality, it is also time to formulate it as a project.
- Collegium International Official Website
- An Ethical Think-link By Sacha Goldman United Nations UN Chronicle 2004
- It's a Small Word After All by Katrina vanden Heuvel, The Nation, Sept.16, 2004
- Plenary Meeting of the International Ethical, Scientific and Political Collegium (13-14 October 2006)