In early 2000, the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO) became closely involved with the Earth Charter Initiative. NCDO held a leadership role in translating the Earth Charter text into Dutch, producing brochures, posters and videos, as well as organizing EC events to raise awareness about the Earth Charter in Holland. The Earth Charter launch in June 2000, held at the Peace Palace in The Hague, was organized in collaboration with NCDO. Ruud Lubbers, former Prime-Minister of The Netherlands and Earth Charter Commissioner has played an important role in bringing the Earth Charter to the attention of the public through the different initiatives and projects that he is involved in.
During the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Prime Minister of The Netherlands Ruud Lubbers stated, “We should encourage business to make a commitment to accountability not because they have to, but because they want to, inspired by sustainable development. Such inspiration might be drawn from the Earth Charter”.
The Earth Charter network in the Netherlands was strong and active in 2014. Network partners organized many activities and events over the course of the year. Furthermore, AVANS College co-organized a series of events around the Earth Charter to accompany the first Earth Charter Center for ESD executive programme to be offered in the Netherlands. Also, ECI welcomed a new Affiliate from the Netherlands, Inner Sense, who along with other strong Earth Charter Affiliates in the Netherlands will consolidated over the course of 2014 to begin forming a new joint Affiliate, called Earth Charter Friends in the Netherlands.
Earth Charter in the Netherlands continued to be very strong in 2013. The Earth Charter Friends in the Netherlands network began to be active in 2013. In September 2013, a sustainability conference was organized on the island of Terschelling in the North of the Netherlands. Many of the people who actively advocate for the sustainability agenda in the Netherlands were present and shared the newest insights and best practice experiences. The main topic of the brainstorm sessions was the current challenge to make sustainability part of the mainstream agenda. Business, finance, government, academia and civil society representatives contributed. Ashok Khosla, former Chair of the Club of Rome and former Chair of IUCN International, and Earth Charter International Affiliate in India offered a presentation at this event.
A list consisting of 100 young front-runners in the Netherlands in the field of sustainability was launched in November 2013 in Amsterdam. The list, which was fully published by one of the largest Dutch newspapers, is an initiative of the Earth Charter Endorser ‘DJ100’. Together with Earth Charter Affiliate NCDO, DJ100 organized a launch party in a club in Amsterdam. During this event, which was attended by around 150 innovators in the field of sustainability, attention was paid to the principles and the global network of the Earth Charter. ‘It Starts with One’, was the slogan used for an inspiration day on December 10th, 2013 in De Horst, Driebergen, The Netherlands. The leadership event was organized by Geke Kiers and her organization, L’ Esprit. The speakers at the event included Earth Charter Commissioner Ruud Lubbers, Claudete da Costa from Brazil, Earth Charter Friends Geke Kiers, Alide Roerink, Bart Kuil, and Lynn Zebeda. Inspired by the slogan “It Starts with One”, a song by Jazz Singer Astrid Seriese and guitarist Erwin van Lugten was composed especially for this inspiration day on leadership for managers and coaches. On December 19th, 2013, Earth Charter Netherlands organized the meeting “The Earth Charter in Action” at the Peace Palace in The Hague, where the Earth Charter was launched 13 years before. The network meeting focused on business and centered on the following question: How can you, as an individual, make an active contribution to the solutions to global issues using the Earth Charter? Participants were given the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences on how they use the Earth Charter as a compass for their actions and were inspired by plenary contributions by Ruud Lubbers (Earth Charter Commissioner and former Prime Minister of the Netherlands), Volkert Engelsman (CEO Eosta), Ralien Bekkers (UN Youth Representative for Sustainable Development), Jan van de Venis (Chair, Stand Up for Your Rights, lawyer, and World Connector), and Abraham Soetendorp (Earth Charter Commissioner). Eveline Fokker provided the musical entertainment and Ama van Dantzig (Dr. Monk) was responsible for moderating the event.
In 2005, a major Earth Charter event took place at the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), in Amsterdam that brought together individuals involved in the Earth Charter from all regions of the world to share experiences, evaluate progress of the initiative since 2000 and launch a new phase of the initiative. As part of that effort the book “Earth Charter in Action: toward a sustainable world” (published by KIT Publishers) was launched in a ceremony that included the participation of HRH Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.
Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, Earth Charter Commissioner, also played a very active role in promoting the Earth Charter particularly through the various inter-faith and spirituality efforts and initiatives that he is part of. In 2008, the Jacob Soetendorp Institute for Human Values was set up and it worked for several years as the lead organization of the Earth Charter Religions Task Force.