Rudolphus Franciscus Marie “Ruud” Lubbers
7 May 1939 – 14 February 2018
It is with a great sense of loss and sadness that I learnt about the passing of Ruud Lubbers. His life is an extraordinary example of dedicated public service at the local and national level and internationally. For all of us involved in the Earth Charter initiative he was a great friend, an inspiring colleague, and a visionary leader.
Ruud Lubbers played a central role in bringing Maurice Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev together in 1993 and 1994 and in the launch of the Earth Charter consultation and drafting process as a civil society initiative. The support of Queen Beatrix and the generous financial support of the Dutch government during the early years was critical, and it would not have happened without Ruud’s leadership as Prime Minister. It was the support of Ruud and the Queen that made it possible to celebrate the launch of the Earth Charter at the Peace Palace in the Hague.
Ruud was among the most active members of the Earth Charter Commission and was deeply involved in the drafting process. For example, he was a strong supporter of participatory democracy, and it was Ruud’s insistence that led to inclusion of the word “participatory” in Principle 3. A strong advocate for establishing high ethical standards in government and business, he also recognized the importance of including in the Earth Charter universal spiritual as well as ethical values. In his speeches and writings on the Earth Charter, he emphasized both the spiritual and ethical dimensions of the Earth Charter vision.
After the launch of the Earth Charter in 2000, Ruud remained committed to building the Earth Charter movement and to supporting and funding the ECI Secretariat at UPEACE as an instrument for promoting the Earth Charter vision worldwide and for implementing its principles at all levels. He served for many years on the Earth Charter International Council. It was through the exceptionally generous support of Ruud and his family that the Earth Charter Secretariat was able to build the Earth Charter Center on the campus of UPEACE.
I will always remember Ruud with admiration, gratitude, and deep appreciation for his friendship. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to know and work with him over the past two and a half decades. I send my deep sympathy to his family at this time of great loss. Let us all give thanks for Ruud’s life and the deep concern and caring spirit that guided his many efforts to help build a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.
Warm best wishes,