About Principles

What The Jena Declaration is all about

Our connection with nature, changes in the way we live. Our slow progress toward rebuilding, are not sustainable practices. WE rely upon government to take action. But government’s approach sustainability policy requires too much time. The goals set forth by the United Nations —the Sustainable Development Goals, the “SDGs”—will fail if we do not become involved as individuals. Each of us must take action. The Jena Declaration invites you to do so. It provides ways that everyone can play a meaningful role, and supports your efforts.


The Jena Declaration is now a consortium of partners. It includes many UNESCO Chairs, relevant international organizations and academies of sciences, arts organizations and networks, business companies, civil societies movements, and many individuals, too. We celebrated our global launch in 2021; in the near future, we will celebrate The Declaration on every continent, eventually, many regions on earth.

We support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This is why we are assembling a large number, and a large variety, of signatories to The Jena Declaration. As we grow, we work with NGOs, schools, and others to encourage communities and governments to actively change in favor of sustainability.

Guidelines for Action

The Jena Declaration includes six principles:

© Marten Berkman, Opening New Paths in the Representation and Rights of the Environment in his Ecology of Perception, a MDA-HAS research artist

We are part of nature, every minute, every day. But the way we are part depends on our cul­tur­al back­ground. There are many ways to life in peace with nature.

How­ev­er, we all need to find and to main­tain a healthy bal­ance with our nat­ur­al part – live sustainably.

INDIVIDUALLY or COLLECTIVELY, (c) IRGOMEZ_Carlos @ III University of Madrid

Mean­ing­ful, sus­tain­able change can only be achieved if every per­son on the plan­et changes their every­day rou­tines, prac­tices, and mind­set. This must be true in busi­ness, gov­ern­ment, school, and at home.

Indi­vid­u­al­ly and col­lec­tive­ly, we must decide to live our lives in a deeply sus­tain­able way.

Truth or Believes, 2016, LACMA | Los Angeles County Museum of Art, © Margalit Berriet

Solu­tions must grow strong from the bot­tom up – cre­at­ed and act­ed upon by indi­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties. The col­lec­tive pow­er of many local solu­tions brings a pos­i­tive glob­al change. 

If we wait for change from the top-down, it will be too late.

Ukrainian refugee painting walls at Zurich Off Space. photo: ©Regula Ehrliholzer

The rich­ness of cul­tur­al and region­al diver­si­ty is the start­ing point for a nat­u­ral­ly bal­anced way of life.

Wall Installation in Farsi in Appenzell, Switzerland. photo: @Regula Ehrliholzer. Artwork "Warten": ©Hoseyn A. Zadeh, signatory of TJD

To change ways of life for sus­tain­able futures requires cre­ative solu­tions. It calls for inno­va­tion from the arts, the human­i­ties and the minds of civ­il society.

We must active­ly design this future for the ben­e­fit of all.

Floating Borders, 3D interactive Installation, federating exhibition by Mémoire de l'Avenir (MDA), (Mé)tissage, 2009, Institute of Islam - ICI, 75018, © Emmanuel Mâa Berriet, Photo Credit Margalit BERRIET

The future requires learn­ing from one anoth­er. Most peo­ple do not know or under­stand how sus­tain­abil­i­ty oper­ates. We all require infor­ma­tion and train­ing in order to learn, and to define their own indi­vid­ual roles in design­ing the future. 

Young peo­ple must get a strong voice — adults can­not envi­sion a dif­fer­ent future near­ly as skill­ful­ly as chil­dren and teenagers.

These are the six key prin­ci­ples of The Jena Dec­la­ra­tion. The Jena Dec­la­ra­tion is an invi­ta­tion to make sus­tain­able change hap­pen at your own doorstep, to mobi­lize peo­ple around the plan­et and to enable fruit­ful out­comes of their engagement!