Costa Rica

costaricaCivil society in Costa Rica has been involved in the Earth Charter Initiative since 1995. In 1997, the Earth Council joined Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Education in organizing a two-day workshop, which gave secondary school students the opportunity to talk about sustainable development and contribute to the Earth Charter consultation process. In 1998, the University of Costa Rica strongly supported the Earth Charter process, particularly through a group of students that developed a survey about the values and principles of the Earth Charter and which involved approximately 3,500 university students.

In November 2000, the Earth Charter Secretariat and the Ministry of Environment organized an official launch of the Earth Charter. The event had the participation and support from the President of Costa Rica, the Minister of Education, and the Minister of Environment. The Municipality of San Jose endorsed the Earth Charter and undertook a training on sustainability for more than 1,800 staff members.

In 2001, the Minister of Education and the Minister of Environment of Costa Rica signed a declaration (Declaración de Interés Público) expressing their agreement to work with the Earth Charter using it as educational tool and declaring the Charter of public interest.

The National University has been organizing since 2010, the Earth Charter Student Awards. This recognition is awarded to students with strong values and positive human qualities, who are putting the Earth Charte principles into action. The General Studies Center of this University offers several courses that are mandatory for all students and that use the Earth Charter as a theoretical framework.

In a process that lasted more than four years, and which started in 2008, the Judicial Power of Costa Rica drafted its Axiological Policy as part of their Ethical Management System. The Earth Charter was included as a reference and a document that judges can use in their resolutions.

Two educators created an inmate literacy instruction around the principles of the Earth Charter in La Reforma prison in Alajuela, Costa Rica. The program ran from 2005 to 2011. A video that present this experiences was created by ECI Secretariat

The Earth Charter Secretariat, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, the National University (UNA), the Children’s Museum and the Distance Learning University (UNED), led a project, funded by the Japanese Embassy, that developed a teacher guidebook and student publications (workbook and agenda) to facilitate the implementation of the Earth Charter Principles. Over 35,000 books for teachers and 100,000 for students were distributed in Costa Rica (many through training workshops) between early 2005 and 2007.

In 2006, the Earth Charter Center of Education for Sustainable Development and UNESCO organized the Latin American Meeting: “Building Education for Sustainable Development” in San Jose, Costa Rica. The meeting had the purpose of promoting regional actions within the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development – DESD (2005-2014). The main outcomes were the “Regional Strategy: Building Education for Sustainable Development in Latin America an the Caribbean” (See Regional Strategy in English here) and the “National Costa Rican Commitment for the Decade“.

In 2003, through a youth led-project, four Earth Charter concerts took place over a period of four months.