The ‘Global Charter for Rewilding the Earth‘ was developed as part of WILD11 – the 11th World Wilderness Congress. The congress was supposed to take place in March 2020 in India, but had to be postponed. Subsequently, the charter was approved by the Resolutions Committee and published in April 2020.
Please also read: To Spare Or Share Wilderness
The charter first states that humans have modified more than two thirds of the planet causing the Sixth Mass Extinction and the climate crisis. While we already know the problems for decades, humanity has failed to make sufficient progress. ‘Primary ecosystems’ and Wilderness have become rare, even though they provide a direct defense against these problems and many other benefits.
We believe that the world can be more beautiful, more diverse, more equitable, more wild. We believe that nature’s innate resilience, bolstered by human care, can initiate an era of planetary healing. […] All Earth’s creatures will be free to pursue lives of quality, and humanity will thrive amidst nature’s abundance.
Wilderness is the answer to some of the most pressing issues of our time
As a direct consequence, the signatories of the charter aim to “keep wild that which is still wild and accelerate rewilding efforts in areas that have been diminished”. The objective is an interconnected system of wild habitats. This includes national parks, wilderness areas, wildlife sanctuaries and marine protected areas.
Rewilding is about allowing natural processes to shape whole ecosystems so that they work in all their colorful complexity to give life to the land and the seas.
Nature-based solutions and intact ecosystems are crucial for maintaining biodiversity and storing carbon, thus counteracting the climate crisis. To prevent a catastrophe, we have to implement these solutions urgently. The resilience of ecosystems is not unlimited and many are already on the brink of collapsing. Nature is suffering from human activity ever more. If we continue like this, we will soon reach a tipping point, which could completely change everyone´s life.
To enable intact ecosystems, we have to facilitate natural processes. This means we have to end human disturbance like extractive uses or obstacles in waterways, e.g. dams. And we have to restore natural food webs. This includes key species we erased in many regions like large carnivores.
Principles of the Rewilding Charter
The charter defines 12 principles of rewilding:
- The ecosphere is based on relationships
- Making hopeful stories come to life
- Embracing natural solutions and thinking creatively
- Protecting the best, rewilding the rest
- Letting nature lead
- Working at nature’s scale
- Taking the long view
- Building local economies
- Recalling ecological history and acting in context
- Evidence-based adaptive management
- Public/private collaboration
- Working together for the good of ourselves and nature
In a spirit of hopefulness for the future of life, we call on individuals, communities, nongovernmental organizations, corporations, governments, and other institutions to advance efforts to protect remaining large wild areas and to support rewilding projects around the world.
The European Wilderness Society agrees that Wilderness is crucial in fighting the climate and biodiversity crisis. That is why the European Wilderness Society tentatively joins over 50 organizations in endorsing the negotiations process of a final charter.
The full charter: