A remarkable meeting took place recently in Kazan, Tatarstan, where the President, Prime Minister, and many top officials and ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the Earth Charter. (Tatarstan is a semi-autonomous, multi-ethnic Republic within the
Tatarstan, with its nearly even mixture of Muslim and Christian peoples, has long been a prominent example of how the Earth Charter can be used to promote common understanding and peace. And in the “Annual Message of the
This Message states: “Recently the work of all [public authorities] has intensified on implementing the Earth Charter, which we endorsed in 2001. We should bear in mind that this is not just an ecological program. It integrates economy, politics, ecology, and education. It works for the sake of ethno-confessional tolerance and to the advance the living standards of our population.”
The Prime Minister of the Republic also spoke about the Earth Charter to say that he has entrusted all the ministries and departments “to hold activities to promote the Earth Charter principles” and to submit relevant information in their regular reports. These public announcements follow on a series of internal policy directives in nearly every area of Tatarstan’s internal policies, from education to investment.
These are impressive steps toward implementing the principles of the Charter. The presentations took place at a three-day Ecological Forum and a Scientific-Practical Conference on the Charter. Among the many top officials and ministers who spoke at the meeting, M.G. Galeev, Chairman of the Committee on Economics, Investments and Entrepreneurship under the State Council of Tatarstan Republic, said Tatarstan’s Earth Charter events “are not temporary in character – this is a work for ever.”
Tatarstan’s Ministry of Education was given a special assignment to prepare and publish three text books on the Earth Charter, for junior, medium and senior school children. The books will be adapted to both natural and social sciences based on the international experience. A text book on history of religion has also been compiled for the schools of the Republic-for the first time in modern
Meanwhile, the book Earth Charter in Tatarstan — a beautiful coffee-table book in Russian with English summaries — is being republished. It was presented to Earth Charter delegates in
Moreover, to fulfill the President’s instruction, the Tatarstan Republic Academy of Sciences has worked out an innovative historical-architectural program based on the Charter. The program includes projects of different commemoratives and monuments to be erected in parks, reserves, and even along big highways to publicize the Charter.
On the instruction of Mrs. I. Larochkina, the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic, different competitions and contests are being held among reserves and biological reservations, along with special events at schools, and Earth Charter alleys of trees are being planted in a number of cities. Relevant websites feature some of these events, along with information about the implementation of the principles of the Charter in Tatarstan. If you speak Russian, please visit: www.tatecolog.ru and www.eco.tatar.ru .
The scope of the work underway for the Earth Charter in Tatarstan is extraordinary, extensive, and is taking place at all levels of government. Circulations of magazines, booklets, calendars and posts devoted to the Charter are also large and growing. In many cities, conferences are being organized around the Charter, including those of party conferences, as well as concerts and youth festivals. Tatarstan has become a world leader for putting the principles of the Earth Charter to work in practical ways.
Preliminary plans are now underway for an International Round Table in
Tatarstan is located in the center of the