Earth Charter Facilitators Course
From December 2nd to 5th, 2015, the Mexican EC network organized the theoretical and practical course “Training of Earth Charter Facilitators” in Guanajuato. This course meets a need of the EC Network in Mexico, as many organizations want Earth Charter workshops. People belonging to the network were interested in strengthening their knowledge and skills to raise awareness about the Earth Charter in the best way.
The course was attended by 35 participants from the States of Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, and Veracruz.
The only requirement for the course is having taken part in a basic Earth Charter workshop. These workshops are taught by the focal points and youth advocates of the EC network in Mexico. The aim is to offer this course at least once a year.
Focal Points Meeting and Forum
On December 7th and 8th, the annual meeting of Earth Charter Mexico focal points was held along with a discussion forum on the initiative of making the Earth Charter into an international agreement that would be binding in Mexican law. These events were organized by the Environmental and Land Management Office (PAOT) of Mexico City with Federal funds from the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources.
On Monday December 7th, the focal points meeting took place, during which 22 focal points, including Mateo Castillo and SEMARNAT – UCPAST coordinators and staff. The meeting was opened by Mr. Miguel Angel Cancino, Head of the PAOT, Jose Luis Bravo Soto, SEMARNAT, Alicia Jimenez of the Earth Charter International Secretariat, Rose Marie Inojosa, who promotes the Earth Charter in Brazil, and Mateo Castillo, Coordinator of the Network of EC Focal Points in Mexico.
Alicia Jimenez reported on the activities of the global Earth Charter Initiative and was followed by Angelica Garcia, Deputy Director of Advisory Councils, UCPAST SEMARNAT, who offered a report from the national network of focal points.
The audience was asked if they found the theme of a Culture of Peace, related to the 16th Earth Charter principle, appropriate for the global Earth Charter movement in 2016. Those in attendance agreed that it seemed to be a very good idea.
In Mexico, there have been 779 institutional endorsements since the Earth Charter began to be promoted in this country. The network in Mexico is currently working on a new virtual platform for the network of focal points, they made some changes to the Earth Charter brochure, they expect improvements to the mechanism for collecting endorsements next year, and they hope to increase collaboration between SEMARNAT State delegates and Earth Charter focal points.
In light of the COP for the Convention on Biodiversity that will be held in Mexico in 2016, the network proposed to have a major Earth Charter presence at the conference.
To showcase the Earth Charter work being done in Mexico, the focal points from Durango, Nayarit, and Hidalgo presented the activities they organized in 2015. The focal point of Durango, Amorita Salas, has organized a lot of workshops on the Earth Charter, organized the signing of three state agency endorsements, endorsements from 27 universities, and one endorsement from a civil society organization. The municipalities of Durango and Gomez Palacio also endorsed the Earth Charter.
In Nayarit, Fernando Trevino has continued tirelessly to organize workshops in communities, with children and adults. He also worked in acquiring the endorsement of the Earth Charter by the Technology education system. In 2015, 266 technological institutes renewed their commitment to the Earth Charter, which was originally made in 2005. These technological institutes comprise 550,000 students and about 50,000 workers. Because of this initial commitment signed in 2005, all students in these centers of study must take a course on sustainable development at the beginning of their careers.
Thanks to the actions of the focal point of Hidalgo, Leodán Portes, the Governors of Hidalgo, Coahuila, and Durango endorsed the Earth Charter. In Hidalgo, several mass events and trainings, all related to the principles of the Earth Charter, were organized. The Tula Tepeji Hidalgo University, whose Rector is the focal point of that State, has promoted the search for ways to mainstream the Earth Charter in college. An example of this is that he has requested that the University create its sustainability plan last, after the plans for the other areas is ready, so that the sustainability plan can tie the rest together.
Actions for 2016
An important point of the meeting was the mention of the work of the Earth Charter Network in Mexico with the legislature of this country. Mateo Castillo proposed several ideas, including that each focal point should approach their State’s Senators to present the Earth Charter and propose official approval in the Senate.
In 2016, the idea is to continue pursuing endorsements to the Earth Charter by the Chamber of Senators, Representatives, municipalities, Higher Education Institutions, Ministries, companies, active NGOs, and federal delegations.
Also, the network intends to offer seminars to publicize the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development in at least six states (Michoacán, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Campeche, Durango, Veracruz).
As a public event, the focal point of Chiapas is coordinating the process to organize a meeting of Higher Education Institutions with the Earth Charter. Other events that will be organized are the celebration of Earth Day, a meeting of youth, and a meeting of communicators.