Tribute to Ruud Lubbers

Lubbers 4Rudolphus Franciscus Marie “Ruud” Lubbers
7 May 1939 – 14 February 2018

It is with deep sadness that I share with you the passing away of Mr. Ruud Lubbers on 14/02/2018. It is hard to say good-bye to him, as he was so special and dear to us. He was a friend and a mentor to me and many of us involved in the Earth Charter Initiative. I am hugely grateful for the opportunity of meeting him and learning so much from him throughout many years of working together.

Mr. Lubbers was a very active Earth Charter Commissioner and great supporter of the Earth Charter for many years. It is a great loss for the Earth Charter Initiative and to the world. However, we have many reasons to be grateful to him. I will always remember his sense of freedom and informality to speak with people and the fact that he was especially comfortable in speaking his mind.

As a political leader. who embraced the deep ethical and spiritual dimensions of sustainable development, he was a unique voice emphasizing the importance to bring ethics to the world of business and politics.

In the last few years of his public life, in speeches he offered at Earth Charter meetings, he often highlighted the importance of nurturing our spirituality and soul. At the Earth Charter+10 event in Ahmedabad, India in 2010, he said:

“We need to include Pneuma / Prana – i.e. spirituality in what we are doing and the way we address challenges. We … now realize that we should nourish ourselves with spirituality… We may even begin to speak about four ‘P’s: People, Planet, Profit and Pneuma”. (Pneuma is the ancient Greek word for “breath” and in a religious context for “spirit” or “soul”)

He often stressed the importance of understanding our responsibility to secure a healthy environment to current and future generations, and of considering new participatory approaches in politics to realize the aspiration of sustainability, which in itself, requires, as he used to say, the willingness and skills to engage, dialogue, and collaborate with different sectors: government, business and civil society sector.

I can still hear his voice saying repeatedly:

“There is a need for complimentary governance. We have always considered politicians to govern and manage the common responsibilities and resources. However, the need is now to involve civil society into governance” (in 2010 at the Earth Charter+10 Conference in Ahmedabad, India).

Herewith we share with you some photos, writings and videos of him.

On behalf of all involved in the Earth Charter Initiative, we send our sentiments and heartfelt condolences to the family of Mr. Lubbers and to the people of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

May his soul rest in peace.

Mirian Vilela
Executive Director
Earth Charter International


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Ruud Lubbers Articles and speeches
Inspiration of Global Governance, Human Rights and the Earth Charter
The Earth Charter to Inspire Governance in Modernity – 2007
Address to the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium – 2001
A Just, Sustainable and Participatory Society – 1999

Ruud Lubbers Videos
Former PM of the Netherlands, Ruud Lubbers, discusses his involvement in the Earth Charter
Former PM of the Netherlands, Ruud Lubbers, discusses Sustainable Development and Leadership Presentation as UNHCR

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