By: Dennis Pérez Umaña, Earth Charter Young Leader, Costa Rica
As part of the tasks carried out by the Earth Charter Young Leaders, Education based on the Earth Charter is one that stands out. Over the past years the EC Young Leaders of Costa Rica have focused their effort in undertaking workshops and activities to promote the principles of the Earth Charter in schools and in universities. Now, following the same approach, it is sought that other sectors of society will also be aware, adopt and use the Earth Charter.
There are several public or private institutions that have endorsed the Earth Charter and follow its principles in the development of its work, be it research, extension, teaching, administration, among others. This time, we seek the political sphere of local governments to become involved with the movement of the Earth Charter. In the case of Costa Rica, of the 81 municipalities that make up the national territory only 1 of these, the Municipality of San José, has given the endorsement to the Earth Charter. Therefore, the objective is to disseminate the Earth Charter Initiative to other local governments in order to endorse the initiative, starting with the Municipality of the canton of Tibás.
Tibás is the 13th canton of the province of San José. It is one of the smallest cantons in Costa Rica, and has a high population density. In recent years, the Municipality has faced serious problems in solid waste collection, to the point that at the national level the name Tibás was synonymous with garbage, which gave a very bad image to the canton and the local population. At the moment, this problem has been solved and that relation with the trash that had the canton has been disappearing.
This canton was selected to start the proposal to endorse the Earth Charter for the reasons stated above, because it is a highly dense canton and the problem faced with garbage. The idea was that the Municipality endorsed the Earth Charter and that this serves to raise awareness in the population about the importance of caring for the environment in which they live.
On 14 August, in the Extraordinary Session No. 35 of the City Council, I had a hearing before the Regidors, Trustees, and the Municipal Mayor. At that hearing, the Earth Charter was presented, with comments on the principles, the role of the Young Leaders Network on Education and Training on Sustainable Development based on the Earth Charter. There was talk about the importance of the Earth Charter for society and various institutions. As an additional detail it was commented that in Costa Rica, only the Municipality of San José has endorsed the Earth Charter, therefore proposing other municipalities, starting with the Municipality of Tibás to endorse it as well.
After conducting this hearing with approval from the Council, the Earth Charter document was sent to the members of the city council for analysis so that they could clear any doubt about the document.
Through Agreement IV-1 of Ordinary Session No. 70, held on Tuesday, 29 August, the Municipal Council of Tibás unanimously approved and endorsed the Earth Charter, becoming the second local government in Costa Rica that joins the initiative. This is a great step forward for Costa Rica, since the adoption of the Earth Charter by a legal route remains as jurisprudence for other municipalities in the country to endorse the Earth Charter.
This proposal is a beginning of a great movement, so I invite other people, future generations of the Earth Charter Young Leaders Network, and to all those who work with the Earth Charter to continue with this effort. Not only municipalities, but also organizations, public or private institutions, and all entities, to endorse the Earth Charter and adopt its principles so that its functions allow us to achieve global Sustainable Development.
Written by ECYL: Dennis Perez Pérez Umaña