Costa Rica Archives - Earth Charter

Celebrating the Environment Day 2017

In 2017, Earth Charter International Secretariat staff celebrated the World Environment Day (5 June) joining the activities of several partners in Costa Rica

Educacion estilos vida sostenible MINAE

The Ministry of Enviornment of Costa Rica organized a big public event, where thousands of people attended to learn about what are governmental and non governmental organizations doing on enviornment conservation.  During this event, Alicia Jimenez, staff member of the Earth Charter Secretariat offered a talk on 2 June, about education for sustainable lifestyles through an ethical perspective. Around 60 people attended this talk.


Bioetica Carta de la Tierra UTN

That same day, on 2 June, Mirian Vilela and Alicia Jimenez, ECI staff members, participated in a round table on bioethics and the Earth Charter, at the National Technical University of Costa Rica.  Around 150 students of this university attended this event, where participants reflected on the complementarities and synergies between UNESCO International Bioethics Declaration and the Earth  Charter.

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Master’s Degree in Environmental Management with emphasis on Sustainable Development

U La Salle 2The University De La Salle and Earth Charter International in Costa Rica are jointly offering the Master’s Degree in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development, with the conviction of promoting leadership among professionals who decide to access this postgraduate programme and acquire the necessary skills for the efficient and adequate management of natural resources, grounding this knowledge in environmental management and the need for technical and operational transformation of organizations.U La Salle 1

This Master’s Degree programme is based on the holistic vision of the Earth Charter, and has the institutional support of the Earth Charter International Secretariat. In this sense, the graduates of this Master’s Degree will be able to access and be involved in the global network of The Earth Charter.

The classes will begin on September 9, 2017, at the headquarters of University De La Salle in Sabana Sur, San José, Costa Rica.

For more information on this programme go to:

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Education for Sustainable Development Public Policy Course with UNESCO

Education Sustainable Development Public Policy

From 13 to 15 June, the “Hybrid Course on Design and Formulation of Education for Sustainable Development Public Policies” was launched, organized by UNESCO San Jose and the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development. This course is taking place using a hybrid mode, consisting of 36 face to face hours and 30 virtual hours. The beginning of the course took place at the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development facilities in the University for Peace, San Jose – Costa Rica. The course will continue until 8 August 2017.

A total of 25 officials from Ministries of 20170615_171134Education and Environment from each country of the Central American Integration System (SICA), committed themselves to this training. The call for participation was made by UNESCO, with the support of CECC SICA.

During the first face-to-face phase, senior officials deepened their knowledge of sustainable development from a systemic perspective, on the concept of education for sustainable development, and on what are the basic elements of public policies on education for sustainable development.

IMG_6843Mirian Vilela and Alicia Jiménez, who are part of the staff of the Earth Charter Center for EDS, coordinate the course, and facilitators who collaborate include Alejandrina Mata and Rafael Luna. During this first part of the course, a wide variety of exhibitors were invited; from young high-school students to the Deputy Minister of Public Education of Costa Rica, who presented their perspectives on education and sustainability. 20170614_155128


It was possible to appreciate the real efforts that each participating country is making towards the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development in the curriculum. A paradigm shift of the education system in the region is envisioned, where interrelated educational agendas such as on Education for Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and SDGs are implemented in an coherent and integrated manner.

Foto Grupal Miercoles 14 junio


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Education, Ethics, & Values for Sustainability; Transformative Teaching and Learning with the Earth Charter

Written by Earth Charter Intern: Lorna Battista

Principle 14 of the Earth Charter: “Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.”

Education is a crucial aspect of implementing successful long term sustainable development projects, and this course worked to give participants both the knowledge and the tools for integrating the principles of sustainable development and global citizenship into their various fields. The Earth Charter was used to position the course around broad values-based principles, providing a methodology that could be applied to different types of curriculums and ages. The course was geared towards educators, with material that can be easily adapted. Taught by Mirian Vilela, the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat, and Dr. Sam Crowell, a professor emeritus from California State University, the course was set at the beautiful Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica. Both myself and Solomon Muyundo are summer interns at the Earth Charter and students at the University for Peace, and we took the course to observe the educational side of sustainable development and to see what elements we could take away to adapt for our own disciplines.19665347_10158854722370328_4587160648425308301_n

This masterclass was designed to introduce material through interactive lessons, activities and participation from the group. Working with people with such varied backgrounds really made the class much richer, with participants coming from all around the world (from Costa Rica, US, Romania, and Turkey) who work in a range of educational fields. The essential lessons of the course were embedded in activities designed to allow for self-expression and narrative, simultaneously presenting material and showing examples of diverse teaching approaches. One of the goals of the course was to work on how to embed the values and ethical dimensions of the Earth Charter into different types of curriculums, adapting it to different levels of structure and requirements. For participants such as Solomon and myself, who do not have an extensive background in education, the course provided us with concepts and terms that are applicable in many fields.

The course leaders provided us with important background information on the Earth Charter, current UNESCO and 19656977_10158854721945328_2113915449297718086_nUnited Nations projects on education, and the implementation of the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to these straightforward topics, Mirian and Sam pushed the discussion towards general issues of equity vs. equality, how people develop different filters for viewing the world (and how that changes their approaches to education), and the importance of an emotional connection to learning. Holistic methods were another important element, with participants discussing the values of authenticity, having a clear vision, taking ownership, and using effective capacity building. Both Solomon and I gained an increased understanding of the importance of systems thinking in sustainability, as the balance between holistic and reductionist approaches is especially important in this field.

Throughout the five-day course, we were both impressed by the passion and vision that many of the other participants displayed through discussion of their various projects. Everyone exhibited creativity and commitment through their ideas of how to incorporate the Earth Charter into curriculums ranging from middle-school science classes and high school literature to environmental summer camps and non-profit social organizations. While neither Solomon nor I have plans to go into education, knowing how to use a framework such as the Earth Charter is an important lesson when going into the field of global sustainable development.19905063_10158912980215328_4306092215353197918_n

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Earth Charter Young Leaders of Costa Rica Develop Workshops and Dissemination of the Earth Charter in Educational Centers Through Participatory Activities

Written by Earth Charter Young Leaders: Danelia Zúñiga Alvarado, Catalina Gómez Vives, Sofía Mendoza Aguilar and Dennis Perez Umaña

The Earth Charter promotes the emergence of a global civil society working for sustainable development and for building a democratic, peaceful and humanitarian world. This initiative seeks to make us understand that as a society “our environmental, economic, political, social and spiritual challenges are interrelated and together we can propose and implement comprehensive solutions.” (The Upcoming Challenges, Earth Charter)

One of the lines of action of the Earth Charter initiative is aimed at children and young people of different ages, from school students to university students so that they are linked and have an awareness of the importance of acting for sustainable development and the care of our community of life.

As part of the actions of the Earth Charter Young Leaders Network and in order to promote the growth of this global civil society, facilitators Danelia Zúñiga Alvarado, Catalina Gómez Vives, Sofía Mendoza Aguilar and Dennis Perez Umaña have developed different workshops in educational centers in order to teach the importance of the Earth Charter for society.

One of the workshops “What is the Earth Charter”, was carried out with students from the International Relations department of the Universidad Latina de Costa Rica. The objective was to present the Earth Charter to the participants, to raise awareness on the theme of sustainable development and to make visible the capacity of action each one carries from their area of professional development.

This workshop was attended by 16 people and had four main activities, such as the presentation of the essence of the Earth Charter, small group analysis, relationship between Geomorphosites and the Earth Charter, and a final reflection with the identification of an individual commitment for action.


Students from International Relations working in groups on the pillars of Earth Charter

The students showed a lot of interest and among the achievements of the workshop, some ideas and proposals related to the Earth Charter principles were highlighted. For example: participation in talks or activities related to the environment, the promotion sustainable development through art and culture, using mass media to disseminate awareness, supporting educational processes for vulnerable communities through volunteering, supporting the work of the organization of the Earth Charter through community work, and care of the scenic beauty that this country offers.

During the Earth Day celebration, organized by the School of Geographic Sciences of the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA) on 20 April, an activity was carried out where some reflective questions were asked to the people participating in the activity. These questions were based on the principles of the Earth Charter. The goal was to write a message on a poster to create a mural to decorate the School of Geographic Sciences during the celebration.


Left: Geography students giving their contribution to the poster. Right: Poster exhibited at the UNA Geographic Sciences Department during the Earth Day celebration

Another of the activities carried out was the workshop entitled “Earth Charter, Conservation and Ecological Blue Flag”, carried out at the Neftali Villalobos School in San Pablo de Heredia, which had the collaboration of Yariela Campos Blanco, a Geography student from UNA. This school focuses on caring for the environment and seeks to teach students the care they must have for our environment, from the reduction of water costs to the classification of solid waste.

The activity counted on 45 students from fourth to sixth grade of the institution and the methodology consisted of a presentation by the exhibitors and contributions of the students, from consultations to comments during the exhibitions.



Students of the school Neftalí Villalobos giving valuable contributions in the matter of conservation with geographer Yariela Campos Blanco


Carlos Araya, Sustainable Campus at UNA Campus giving a talk on the management of solid wastes

The Earth Charter and its importance was explained, in addition to the relevance of conservation to protect the environment. Examples were given with animals in danger of extinction such as the Jaguar. The school was awarded the Ecological Blue Flag for its environmentally-friendly practices, students were given an explanation of the importance of this award also serving as a reminder that these practices need to also be taken to their homes.  Carlos Araya of the Sustainable Campus of the UNA developed an activity on the separation of solid wastes where students participated and enriched their knowledge in this area.

Final Reflections:

“Individual actions often seem insufficient to us in the light of the great challenges that we have as a global society, however, we must maintain the motivation because every small positive change that we generate produces a chain effect impossible to stop, even if we do not perceive it this way, this allows us to move towards a more just, peaceful and sustainable society as the Earth Charter proclaims. ” -Catalina Gómez Vives

“The Earth Charter must be made known to the population to understand the importance of caring for the environment. Sharing with school and university students helps them reflect and learn about the role of the Earth Charter in order for the students to carry a message home, they recognize the damages that are made against the environment and can explain that those actions should not be committed. The message to university students is that during their education they should remember the Principles of the Earth Charter to be guidelines that help create a better world for all. Trying to incorporate the theme of geomorphosites with the Earth Charter is an initiative that I have been working on. Since there are many natural environments that are important to many people, such as beaches or volcanoes,  these must also be protected. It is important that we raise awareness of these areas so that people know that when we try to take care of the environment, we not only talk about the forest, but also a whole system that surrounds us, a system of which we are a part of. ” -Dennis Perez Umaña.


“We must realize that once basic needs are met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.” -The Coming Challenges, Earth Charter


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Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Online Youth Course has Started and Next one in Spanish Begins 11 Sept!


Our fifth Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics online youth course in English started on 19 June. With 25 youth representing over 13 nations we are thrilled to be interacting and engaging youth from so many countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, India, Spain, US, UK, Netherlands, and Canada. The 10-week course will end on 28 August and will cover topics such as Leadership, Sustainability, Ecoliteracy, Systems Thinking, Ethics, Facilitation, the Earth Charter.

The course is being co-facilitated by Youth Projects Coordinator Christine Lacayo and Earth Charter Young Leaders, Victor Okechukwu from Nigeria and Rohdof Lactem from Cameroon.

We have some extremely inspiring and sharp youth in this course; representatives from UN Major Group for Children and Youth, 4 people from the National Union of Students in the UK, someone who is actively involved with the Agenda 21 in the Basque region of Spain, the head of a team of 8 passionate youth in Cameroon who form part of the Hope for the World Youth Association which seeks to bring hope to hopeless communities through entrepreneurship, youth capacity building programs, and someone from the Lopez Community Land Trust (LCLT) in Washington state, a non-profit organization on a small island making sustainable communities a reality by holding land in trust for residents of the island and building affordable homes for low income individuals.

Here are some inspiring quotes from the participants with the following forum question: When you dream about a better future, what are three things you envision?

“I envision a future where all basic needs are met. No one will worry about what they will eat, what they will wear, where they will live, or if they can afford to care for their medical needs. The future I envision has no place for greedy persons. There will be perfect leadership, exacting just judgments. In this world that I envision, no one will be convicted of crimes that they didn’t commit. If someone is disciplined or charged with something, they will have to acknowledge that the judgment pronounced on them was just and well deserved. I envision a world full of peace and true happiness. I believe that with the proper leadership and guidance this future will exist for mankind. I must take the first step to be the change that I want to see.” –Quaniqua Williams, USA



“I dream of a world where people are caring towards other people and other animals whom we share our planet with- there are so many injustices towards other human beings that is it difficult to think of a time where we will respect all humans and animals on this planet with equal rights to feel safe, secure and free in our world. Also where all humans understand the true meaning of peace and conflicts and war are no longer an issue. Ultimately where people and planet can thrive and where nature can support all human and animal life on the planet and the people can respect and support nature.” – Hannah Wiseman, UK


“A future in which human rights are respected. A future in which the basic needs of each individual are covered in a sustainable way. Where the production chain, starting with the procurement of the raw material, its handling, consumption and disposal is done in a responsible way and respecting the social and environmental rights of all involved.” – Itxaso Bengoechea Larrinaga, Spain

“The three most important things for a better future for me would be reduced economic inequalities within and between communities and countries, drastic decline in diseases such as malaria, cholera and HIV in developing countries and quality/affordable basic education for all children up until the tertiary level. I believe that if the world will truly become sustainable firstly we need to educate and equip as many people as possible in a short period of time. I believe that quality education will birth solutions that will unlock other Sustainable goals.”

– Olabanji Jackson-oke, Nigeria

Our next online youth training programme will be in Spanish and will begin on 11 September until 20 November. Deadline to apply is 28 August! Email Christine Lacayo, Youth Projects Coordinator if you are interested in registering for our next course: Youthcooridantor@earthcharter.orgLSE Spanish Sept

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Mapting Blog Launched: An Invitation to Show that Everyday People Act for the Common Good

We’re excited to announce that our app Mapting has launched a blog! Visit our blog to read about users’ stories and projects, new updates and news about our app, and about interesting events, activities, and presentations related to Mapting! If you would like to write a blog post about your project/ initiative and how you’re using Mapting to spread your message please write us and we’ll feature your story on our blog.

Your blog must be in English, between 400-1500 words, and should include how you’re using Mapting and how the app is helping you raise awareness about your cause! Please send all articles to Christine Lacayo, Youth Projects Coordinator:


Mapting Photo Contest for International Youth Day 12 August!

Participate in our next Mapting photo contest to celebrate International Youth Day on 12 August! The contest will run for a week from 12-19 August. This year’s theme is “Youth Peace Building”. For more information visit:

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 5.13.54 PM

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Global Oceans Dialogue -“Towards a Pollution Free Planet”

As an ocean advocate and someone eager to see change and commitment for the protection of our marine ecosystems, I was very excited to be invited to the Global Oceans Dialogue organized by UN Environment and the Government of Costa Rica from 6-9 of June in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The two days before the dialogue, NGOs and active individuals were invited to participate in the Annual Regional Consultative Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Civil Society in preparation for the third session of UN Environment Assembly (UEA) under the theme “Towards a Pollution Free Planet.” This session will take place in Nairoi, 4-6 December of this year where ministers of the Environment of all countries around the world, private sector representatives, and civil society organizations will come together to discuss the actions needed to be taken to address our current pollution issues in all its forms: air, water, soil, land, and marine.

As this was one of my first times attending this sort of event, I did not know what to expect. The purpose of the consultative meeting was to increase the number of  civil society organizations that work with the UN Environment and to provide a space to communicate about UEA’s theme “Towards a Pollution Free Planet” with a special focus on clean oceans and seas. As well as to create an opportunity for the civil society to become more involved in UN Environment and ‘UEA-3’ and to facilitate the exchange with the different groups on the challenges and opportunities for partnership and cooperation and possible commitments. During the first two days of the Regional Civil Society meeting, we spoke much about the processIMG_20170607_192437656of UN Environment, what each organization is doing in their countries, and what we would like to see come out of this meeting. At one point, we broke up into separate groups. One group (those new to UN meetings and reunions like myself) were responsible for coming up with questions we might have about what needs to be cleared up for the general public and how these processes can be more transparent. The other group discussed how to improve these processes. As we came up with our questions a discussion between two people from different backgrounds started to evolve; Monica Araya, a journalist devoted to clean development, clean energy, and climate politics and founder of Costa Rica Limpia and Isis Alvarez with the Global Forest Coalition representing NGOs, Indigenous People’s Organisations, and grassroots movements. Araya argued that if we want to win the battle and see big changes, we have to learn how to sit down with climate polluters in order negotiate effectively with them. Alvarez stood her ground with noting that climate polluters and the private sector will always put profit and power first at the expense of human rights so what we need to do is continue to strengthen the grassroots and civil society participation in these different processes so their voices can be heard as well.

Annual Regional Consultative Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Civil Society

Annual Regional Consultative Meeting of the Latin American and Caribbean Civil Society

I couldn’t help but notice that both equally intelligent and passionate women had a point. How will we ever bridge the gap between the public and private sector, scientists and businessmen, politicians and citizens if we don’t begin to talk to one another? But how can we feel we’re making a difference when every time we reach one small goal, corporate and political greed seems to push us a million steps back? One thing that is certain, is the generalization


President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solís

and pointing fingers has to stop if we want to see meaningful actions. We need to stop pointing our fingers and

saying that all corporations and all politicians are corrupt and stop generalizing that all environmentalists are radicals. For the sake of the good seeds in these groups, we need to learn to work together to amplify each others strong suits and improve each others weak points. We MUST prioritize and work together.

The last two days were dedicated to the Global Oceans Dialogue hosted at Villas Caletas, a beautiful hotel

overlooking the Pacific Ocean. We heard some inspiring talks and presentations from Pelayo Salinas a Conservation Scientist with Pristine Seas at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands, Maria Eugenia Arreola with the Mexican Fund for the Conservation of Nature in charge of a Leadership program empowering the next generation of Mesoamerican Reef Conservation leaders, the Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica Mr. Édgar Gutiérrez,  as well as our President Luis Guillermo Solís, with an inspiring speech:

“Being a nation between two oceans, Costa Rica is aware of the incalculable benefits that the seas provide to life on Earth. With this in mind, we are striving to become a plastics-free country and expand marine protected areas along with local governance models to manage fisheries and tourism sustainably.”



I met many representatives from different nations that would like to collaborate with me on youth actions and Earth Charter projects. I was thrilled to meet the representative of Sea Shepherd Costa Rica, Jorge Sendero who I will work alongside with to help develop further his campaign For the Oceans, as well as Pedro Cunha who I will be working with as a focal point for the Major Groups Facilitating Committee (MGFC) for Latin America and the Caribbean for this initiative of Dialogue and Action for the Ocean.


On World Oceans Day, Costa Rica announced the designation of Cabo Blanco in the central Pacific and Southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica as a new marine protected area expanding Costa Rica’s protected areas from 12.68% to 15.69%. This expansion contributes to the global effortto achieve the Aichi Target 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to protect at least 10% of the world’s marine and coastal areas by 2020 (ONU Medio Ambiente). We’re currently at 5.7% and we have 3 years to get there. We have the manpower, the will, the technology, and the compassion to get there, what we don’t have anymore is time. We need to ACT now.


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Reflections as the New Earth Charter Youth Projects Coordinator

By: Christine Lacayo

My first month of work ends and I’m excited to share some of my reflections!

As the Earth Charter Youth Projects ChristineECCoordinator, my main responsibility is to motivate, guide, and engage young people to create a more just, sustainable and peaceful world. What is the best way to do this? I think the beauty of this position is the flexibility and creativity the job requires. I have the ability to incorporate my passions and interests to expand and create new opportunities and stories. I’m excited to bring my passion for visual media and writing to collect all Earth Charter Youth actions and stories that are taking place around the world. As an ocean advocate, I would also like to continue sensitizing my community members on the importance of taking care of our ocean ecosystems!

Some of the main projects I’m focusing on now include promoting our app Mapting, used to take pictures of actions related the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have our next photo competition to celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity starting from 12-22 May.Mapting_FB_AD

I’m also facilitating our next online training programme for youth, Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics (LSE) starting 19 June. This 10-week course is designed to prepare and empower young people with the skills and knowledge to be effective ethical sustainability leaders and implement Earth Charter-inspired projects.

One of my favorite roles of my job is having a group of Earth Charter Young Leaders, those who have completed the LSE course, from all over the world. These leaders are from countries such as St. Lucia, Germany, Kenya, Nigeria, Japan, Netherlands, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Rwanda, and Spain, just to name a few! My responsibility is to support them along their year commitment as an Earth Charter Young Leader implementing activities and workshops in their community.

I’m also diving into the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Leadership Training Programme created by esd-training-flierEarth Charter International for the UNESCO Global Action Program (GAP) on ESD focusing on priority area number 4: empowering and mobilizing youth. The training is designed for young people from 18-35 who are active leaders in sustainable development in their communities.  At the beginning of July, I will be co-facilitating the training programme in Brasilia, Brazil for selected young leaders from across Latin America!

I’m very excited to start this dynamic new job not to mention the stunning nature views and sounds from my office! I’m happy to be back in the country I grew up visiting as my second home while promoting a more peaceful and sustainable world using the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from my studies and experiences!IMG_0032




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Reflections from our Online Course: Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics

As we close our 5th week of the second online course in Spanish, Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics, we have had much enthusiasm, energy and student cooperation. This course began on April 3 and will end on June 12 with the participation of young leaders from all over Latin America facilitated by Earth Charter Young Leaders, Julián Arias Varela and Karen Proa, and Youth Projects Coordinator, Christine

The international course is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who want to expand their capacity as leaders in sustainability and leadership. As participants complete the sections through an online platform, they learn important information about Sustainability, Ethics, Facilitation, and the Earth Charter. The course is also given in English with the next beginning on June 19 and the deadline to apply on May 17. The next course in Spanish will begin on September 11 with registration one month before. At the end of the 10 weeks, participants are invited to become an Earth Charter Young Leader for a year in the Earth Charter Youth Network. Young leaders connect, motivate and engage with their contemporaries to join the Earth Charter movement and build a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Personal reflections of our current participants:

“This is the opportunity to start with the change that we are always looking for but haven’t found. The learning space is incredible, I am committed and I will make a double effort for those who do not.”

-José Ignacio Fernández Víquez, Costa Rica

“Being part of a global movement of young leaders who dream of a more humane, more free and conscious world, gives me strength to continue fighting, but above all hope that the good do not keep quite nor gain indifference.”

-Pamela Zúñiga López, Costa Rica

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