CEVI-WP 07-01

On Global Ethics: Factual and Normative
M.S.R. Commers


In January 1988 Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary-General of the United Nations joined Federico Mayor, Director-General of UNESCO, in launching the World Decade for Cultural Development (1988-1997). In its 26th session in 1991 the General Conference of UNESCO requested its Director-General to co-operate with the Secretary-General of the UN, in order to “establish an independent World Commission on Culture and Development”. The aim was to prepare for a World Report on Culture and Development. It was one of the take-offs of a conceptual and theoretical process in which a new post-Cold War signifying discourse was looked forward to and generated, in which expressions were used such as: ‘development ethics’, ‘new world agenda for human development’, ‘human development’, ‘global ethics’, ‘global ethic’, ‘transcending economic development’. The history of this ‘global ethic’ process is still to be carried out. I only wish to draw some lines of its evolution, of which not few refer to the endeavors of the UN within the period 1980-2000. The aforementioned former UN Secretary-General already gave a summary of it, which I go after in the next paragraphs.

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