Costa Rica Archives - Earth Charter

Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Youth Course Ends! Find out dates for Courses in 2018!

Our third online youth course this year on Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics has ended with much energy and high participation!

This training programme is designed for young people, 18-35 years old, who aim to develop and expand their capacity as leaders in the creation of more just, sustainable, and peaceful societies. In  a way it contributes to the UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD and with SDG 4.7

The programme invites participants to engage through an online platform, social media, and local actions to amplify their knowledge and skills in the critical areas of:

  • Leadership
  • Sustainability
  • Ecoliteracy
  • System Thinking
  • Ethics
  • Facilitation
  • The Earth Charter

This past English course started on 19 June and for 10 weeks participants engaged in the course content from their hometowns through the platform and their facebook group. During this course we had participants from Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, India, Spain, US, UK, and the Netherlands. Just a few of the many workshops implemented to finish the program included; Sustainability Indicators in Banking in Nigeria, How to Apply Systems Thinking in our Day-to-Day lives, and Children and Sustainability in Cameroon.

Our final course for the year started on September 11- November 20 and will be facilitated in Spanish. The programme calls all youth leaders who speak Spanish to train themselves on becoming sustainability leaders in their communities and to strengthen their capacities in sustainability leadership. In this final training program for 2017 we have participants from Venezuela, Mexico, Spain, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, and Paraguay sharing their rich leadership experiences in each of their countries.

To apply for the next Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics course in English starting on January 15, 2018 please visit:

Deadline to apply is January 2, 2018.

For more information on the next course watch our video:

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EARTH University endorses the Earth Charter

We congratulate the EARTH University in Guácimo, Costa Rica, for its Earth Charter endorsement. This endorsement took place in a ceremony on 22 September 2017, in the framework of the world day without cars.

EARTH University endorsement 3

The Rector of EARTH University, Mr. Arturo Condo, and the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International, Ms. Mirian Vilela, spoke during this ceremony. Mr. Condo mentioned that with the Earth Charter “we are gaining more elements of a global language” for their actions in favor of sustainable agriculture.  EARTH University mission and projects are very aligned with the principles of the Earth Charter and have been realizing them into practice; therefore, it is important to articulate these actions with the language of global ethical principles.

EARTH University endorsement

It was a colorful ceremony, with dance and the participation of students, professors and administrative staff.  Participants were able to sign the endorsement in a tree-like poster, where each signature was in one of the leaves of the tree.

EARTH University, is an international university established in 1990, its mission seeks to “prepare leaders with ethical values to contribute to sustainable development and to construct a prosperous and just society.”

EARTH University endorsement Costa RicaEARTH University endorsement

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Major International Symposium on Laudato sì to be held in Costa Rica at the end of November

Laudato si conference imageThe International Symposium on Ecology “Laudato sì, Care for Our Common Home, a Necessary Conversion to Human Ecology”, one of the most important international, academic and ecological event of the year organized by the Vatican, will take place in Costa Rica from November 29 to December 1, 2017, at Wyndham Herradura Hotel in San Jose. It is the first time this event will be held in the Central American and Caribbean region.

This International Symposium will be addressing the topic of sustainable development and climate change on our planet through the lenses of the Laudati sì. The activity is organized by the Catholic University of Costa Rica with the support of Joseph Ratzinger – Benedict XVI Vatican Foundation, which holds this event on an annual basis. This year´s event will be its seventh symposium and it is expected to involve academics, scientists, businesspeople, priests, seminarians, students from different areas, religious people, educators, government officials, and other participants interested in the care for our common home. Registrations are opened.

The event will gather highly prestigious speakers from the Vatican and some of the best universities around the world, including:

  • His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M. Prefect Emeritus of Sacred Congregation for clergy and Amazonia Commission President
  • His Most Reverend Eminence Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education
  • Gonzalo Tejerina Arias O.S.A., Dean of the Theology Department of the University of Salamanca
  • Tomás Insua, Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School- Executive Director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement
  • Augusto Zampini, University of Durham, Department of Theology and Religion, member of CAFOD
  • Michael Green, Executive Director of Social Progress Imperative
  • Roberto Artavia Loría, President of VIVA Trust
  • Fernando Chica Arellano, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to FAO
  • Father Josafá Carlos de Siqueira, S.J., Dean of the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Unlike the previous events, which addressed theological/dogmatic topics, this year’s symposium focuses on practical theology, addressing a topic that is of global and common interest to everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs, political affiliations or nationalities, given that climate change and the protection of our planet concerns everyone. The symposium seeks to foster dialogue between reason and faith, bringing together theologians and scientists to discuss inevitable situations such as climate change, the health of our planet, and our legacy for future generations.Pope with partial quote

The event will include the presentation of an assessment tool to measure countries’ implementation of the Encyclical Laudato si. The Laudato sì Observatory of the Catholic University of Costa Rica will also be inaugurated. The objective of the observatory will be to conduct environmental and social monitoring for the planet, by collecting data to feed the development index as well as disseminating the results of each measurement and any related studies.

The Earth Charter International was invited to take part in this Symposium and help coordinate one of the roundtables, and to join the Laudato Si Observatory, collaborating with some of its projects. We welcome this collaboration, and intend to finds ways to show the close similarities and linkages between the Laudato sì and the Earth Charter.

See reflections on this in the following link:

For more information and registration, please visit:


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Course on public policies of education for sustainable development, UNESCO GAP on ESD

The final phase of the Course on Formulation and Design of Public Policies for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was held from 12 to 14 September 2017. This was a special course that we planned and implemented at the request of the UNESCO San Jose Office with the support from the Japan Fund for ESD. The course’s objective was to: “Strengthen the capacities of senior level decision-makers and key personnel in the Ministries of Education and Environment of Central America and Dominican Republic for the development of Education for Sustainable Development Public Policies.” This effort is related to the first priority area of the UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD and to the Sustainable Development Goal 4 Target 7.

Foto 16 Grupo

This course lasted three months (June to September), and had two modalities: face-to-face and virtual. The first part of the course consisted of face-to-face sessions for three intensive days, held at the Earth Charter Center of ESD facilities in the University for Peace, Costa Rica. It continued with a virtual phase that lasted seven weeks, where participants had the opportunity to deepen the topics introduced in the initial face-to-face phase. The course ended with a face-to-face meeting, also held at the EC-ESD Center in Costa Rica, where participants presented their final projects and proposed some actions to follow up this course.

In their assessment of the course, the participants mentioned having had a transformative experience, where some experienced a change in their worldviews and perception of the type of education that each country in the Central American Integration System (SICA) should promote. For their final projects, participants had to generate a proposal for an ESD public policy and an action plan for the design of this policy in their countries. These proposals were an exercise that it is expected to generate actions to instill the vision of ESD in their countries’ education systems.


Participante Curso Politicas Publicas Educacion Desarrollo Sostenible

For the Earth Charter Center on ESD, it was a great satisfaction to have developed this process in a way that helped participants to have a better understanding about sustainability, ESD and ways to generate a public policy on ESD. Some participants expressed that this experience help to generate what some called “a change of paradigm” or “falling in love” with sustainability. The majority of the participants are Ministry of Education officials who have the potential to promote changes in national education policy, curricula, as well as to promote sustainable schools and teacher training programs on ESD. We hope to continue supporting the empowerment process of these participants, so they become agents of change in their institutions and contribute to the 2030 UN Education Agenda.

Curso UNESCO Carta de la Tierra Politicas Educacion Desarrollo Sostenible

Logo UNESCO Japan

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Municipality of Tibás, Costa Rica Endorses the Earth Charter

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.

dennis municipalidad Tibas

ECYL Dennis Perez Pérez Umaña gives his speech to Municipality Council

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

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Mapting International Youth Day Photo Contest Winners!

Thank you for those who participated in our International Youth Day photo contest from 12- 19 August. We were looking for captivating images  of SDG 16, Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions with engaging titles as well as those who used the hashtag #YouthDay or #Youth4Peace!

The top 3 winners received either a full scholarship for our next online youth courses on Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics in Spanish (starting 11 September 2017) and English (starting 15 January 2018) or for those who have already taken the course, a copy of our Earth Charter in Action book!

Check out the winners:

To download Mapting on iOS or Android go to:

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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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