Local Communities

Local governments and communities are invited to adopt and use the Earth Charter as a guide or framework for action, planning and community development, and/or as an assessment tool to evaluate progress toward sustainability.

Actors in this sphere of work include businesses, schools, and cultural organizations, local governments and other community oriented organization. They vary in size, composition, structure, and organization but share an understanding and commitment to the Earth Charter. Local communities and governments have been using the Earth Charter as a guide for policy making and as an assessment tool. Individuals and organizations compare existing policies with the principles of the Earth Charter and use the Earth Charter to inspire new policies and activities. Organizations use the Earth Charter to stimulate debates and discussions that drive important consensus building, which leads to influential change.

Over 400 towns and cities have endorsed the Earth Charter, which has led to thousands of local citizens becoming aware of it and to furthering its dissemination through civil society. These municipalities are located across the globe. Cities and towns such as Sao Paulo, North Vancouver, Canada; San Jose, Costa Rica; Urbino, Italy; Oslo, Norway; and Berkeley, California have all stated their support for the Earth Charter. In Spain alone, over 220 municipalities have endorsed the Earth Charter. Endorsements have also come from all 99 city governments in Jordan.

In addition to individual municipalities, leagues and organizations of local community authorities have also endorsed the Earth Charter. ICLEI – The Local Governments for Sustainability endorsed it in the year 2000. The Florida League of Cities, which is a voluntary municipal league comprised of 404 of Florida’s 408 municipalities and six charter counties, endorsed it in 2001. In the same year, the Earth Charter was also endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors, the official nonpartisan organization of the nation’s 1,183 cities with populations over 30,000. In addition, the Catalonia Network of over 100 municipalities and the Association of 150 Towns of Soria, Spain have endorsed the Earth Charter.

Local authorities such as the government of the City of Joondalup and the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority have found that using the Earth Charter as a reference check list for their policies has been effective in helping them to become more sustainable.

The following are some examples of how Local governments, community associations and grassroots groups have been using the Earth Charter:

Watch an inspirational video from the Open University of Sao Paulo, Brazil on their local development initiatives using the Earth Charter.