Czech Republic Archives - Earth Charter

High school student represents the Earth Charter at a Model UN Conference

Guest post by Benjamin Haertel

My name is Benjamin Haertel. I’m 17 years old and attend the Riverside School in Prague. I’ve always been interested in the Model United Nations (MUN). For my second year in the club at school I was assigned to represent the Earth Charter Initiative for the Webster MUN in Vienna. I originally was going to be the delegate of Iran, but my supervisor, Mr. Hart, asked me if I would be willing to represent the Earth Charter instead. Before being asked to represent the Earth Charter at the Webster MUN (WebMUN), I didn’t know anything about it. Through my research before the conference, however, I was able to fully appreciate the amount of thought and effort put into the existence and ideology of the document and the organization.

Representing the Earth Charter at the WebMUN offered me a wonderful learning opportunity because the principles of the Earth Charter Initiative are fully relevant to the topic of the WebMUN: the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and combatting climate change. From the start of the conference, I strived to push for the Earth Charter’s Principles to be taken into full consideration by the delegates of other countries, especially on issues regarding renewable energy, energy efficiency, and humane standards of living.

It is my belief that at first the other delegates saw the Earth Charter as another environmental initiative organization with an obsession for protecting panda bears, so to speak. Throughout the rest of the conference, after initial encouraging speeches pushing for alternate energy solutions, I tried to best represent the Earth Charter as not only providing solutions to global energy issues but also to social issues such as poverty. I consistently stressed the multiple issues tied in to the problem of the energy crisis and the importance of goals such as the MDGs.

While I attempted to give others insight into the work of the Earth Charter Initiative, I also gained some insight on the Earth Charter myself, and was able to use its principles to improve my own personal global perspective. Representing the Earth Charter helped me to see the connections between the global issues that our world faces today, and why a collective response is needed to solve them.

Overall, I am very grateful for the chance to represent the Earth Charter. It gave me a unique opportunity to not only learn more about the Earth Charter and its principles but also to use those principles to improve and mature my own views.


Mr. Haertel heard about the opportunity through the UNESCO Club Vienna and also had the opportunity to consult with an Earth Charter International staff member during his research into representing the Earth Charter. Earth Charter International is grateful to UNESCO Club Vienna for making this learning opportunity for Mr. Haertel possible, and through his diligence in representing the Earth Charter, many other young people learned about it at the Webster Model United Nations.

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Conference: “The Earth Charter and Sustainable Development in Tajikistan”

Inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter, an international conference on “The Earth Charter and Sustainable Development in Tajikistan” took place on 22-23 April 2011 in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, commemorating the 22nd as Earth Day. The conference was organized by the Foundation to Support Civil Initiatives (FSCI, Dastgirie-Center), a public organization of the Republic of Tajikistan. The UNESCO National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan also provided considerable assistance and financial support for the conference. The aim of the conference was to highlight the role of the Earth Charter principles in Tajikistan, and to come to agreements on how to move forward with putting those principles into practice. Among the participants at the conference were members of state departments and agencies, national and international experts on the issues of sustainable development and environmental protection, scholars, university faculty and students, other NGOs, international and mass media organizations, and a number of international guests from Russia and Kyrgyzstan. Furthermore, the conference was also aired that day on Tajik television.

The following people kicked off the conference and greeted the participants:

  • K. Olimov, Chair of the UNESCO National Commission of the Republic of Tajikistan;
  • A. Tursunov, academician, Academy of Science of the Republic of Tajikistan, Director of the Institute of Language, Literature, Oriental Studies and Written Heritage;
  • M. Babadjanova, Director of the Tajik Branch of the Regional Ecological Centre of Central Asia.

The opening report, “Earth Charter – International Document of the UN: Phases of development and implementation + video clip on the Earth Charter”, was presented by M. Burkhanova, the Chair of the Foundation to Support Civil Initiatives (FSCI, Dastgirie-Center) and National Coordinator of the Earth Chapter in Tajikistan.

Special emphasis was given to ways in which the implementation of principles for sustainable development can be undertaken in Tajikistan, as reflected in short- and long-term national and international documents and processes such as poverty reduction strategy papers, the UN Millennium Development Goals and the RIO+20 Conference.

Climate change and the implementation of the Earth Charter principles on environmental protection were also highlighted in the analytical reports of the leading national experts.

Inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter, the creation of a culture of peace and nonviolence was also highlighted in the conference. Well-known national and international leading scientists of the Academy of Sciences focused their presentations on the topic of creating a culture of peace, including one on “From rationale mind to wisdom: The evolution of ecology” and another discussing “Islam: The ecology of the soul”.

As a result of the conference, a resolution was developed that will be submitted to the Parliament of Tajikistan, the Environmental Protection Committee, the Office of the President of Tajikistan, and other interested organizations. A collection of reports from the conference “The Earth Charter and Sustainable Development in Tajikistan” will be widely distributed to organizations and NGOs, as well as being available on the FSCI website ( The reports will be dedicated to the memory of Marina Bakhnova, Earth Charter Coordinator for Eastern Europe and the NIS who passed away recently.

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Earth Charter youth network wants to expand in Europe!

An example of an European Earth Charter effort:

In March 2011 the Earth Charter International along with the Earth Charter Youth Team organizes a one-day online conference to inform the European youth organizations and individual activists on the Earth Charter and its usefulness as an educational instrument when building a more just, sustainable and peaceful world.

So far some 100 organizations have joined the Earth Charter youth network from Europe and Central Asia. In addition, there are 16 official Earth Charter Youth and Student Groups (ECYG) in 16 European and Central Asian countries.

ECYGs are action-oriented societies, networks, or organizations that bring alive the vision of the Earth Charter in the local and/or national communities. The youth study the declaration, get inspired by it and then organize small action projects on sustainability.

Youth in Europe promote the Earth Charter by

  • organizing events where they present the declaration
  • translating the document
  • informing other organizations on it
  • training people on sustainable development and ways of living.

National Earth Charter Websites in Europe and CA:

Finland | Germany | Greece | Italy | Latvia Norway | Russia |

From the related articles below, one can see some examples of the European Earth Charter youth activism.

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Earth Charter +10 celebrations in Czech Republic

The Earth Charter Affiliate in Czech Republic, the Municipal Library in the town of Sedlchany, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2007, has always played a key role in promoting culture and education in the town and serving as a community center. The Earth Charter was chosen as an ethical framework for their educational and community projects for the 2009-2010 academic year.

In the first week of March 2010 the organizing team of community educational project Luká??ek met to discuss the celebration of the International Earth Day on April 22 and its connection to the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Earth Charter launch in 2000. It was decided that the activities would open with a programme about the Earth Charter for school kids on the local square during their school day. Usually the Earth Day activities are followed by an exhibition of the art work in the library, and this year there will be an exhibition celebrating the Earth Charter. Given that the Earth Charter text addresses major challenges of the modern unsustainable lifestyle and production, the organizing team of Luká??ek project has already decided to extend the use of the Earth Charter framework for their educational and community activities in the next academic year of 2010 – 2011.

The translated Earth Charter materials: Mission, Vision, Goals, Action Guidelines, and others will be used in the educational projects. The collaborating organizations intend to use the Earth Charter through educational processes planned throughout the year in local schools.. Besides the Sedlchany schools, the kindergartens are also included into their Earth Charter projects.

Honouring one of the Earth Charter pillars, “Respect and Care for the Community of Life”, the municipal library and the community center have also launched an intergenerational project to bring together citizens living in a local senior home and elementary schools students, so that the children could benefit from the traditional values which older generation can pass to youngsters. The young people are engaged in rendering necessary assistance and, sometimes, just a companionship for the elders, who might feel their disconnectedness from the active community life.

The Municipal Art School has already started the project by creating a ceramic “Memorial to Earth”, which will be built in the garden of the school on 27 October, and the memorial will be exhibited for the whole period of Luká??ek project. The organisers also use songs by Carolyn McDade who composed inspired on the Earth Charter text, some of them they have already translated into Czech. There is also going to be a press conference of the Municipal Library, and the Earth Charter ethical framework for the community projects will be introduced there too.

The Earth Charter Affiliates have recently created the Czech EC website ( which they actively use for promoting Earth Charter values in their country.

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Community project by a Municipal Library in Czech Republic. 2009-2010 theme: The Earth Charter

Inspired by the Earth Charter the Municipal Library in Sedl??any has chosen the Earth Charter as the theme for the 7th year of the community project entitled Luká??ek (short for Saint Lucas, the patron saint of surgeons, physicians and painters). The organizers believe in “healing” human relations with the help of visual arts, education and various creative activities.

The town of Sedl??any with its 7,623 inhabitants lies 70 km south of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The municipal library, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2007, has always played a key role in promoting culture and education in the town and serving as a community center. At present the library has 2,250 members, which is 30% of the town`s population. Among the readership there are 687 children, an amazing 68% of the town`s youth population. Beside traditional services (lending out the books and printed media) the library provides modern information services such as the Internet, CD-ROM, electronic databases (Anopress, ??TK), etc.

In 2001 the library acquired new premises with modern facilities improving the lending system and information services. The design of the interior provides an ideal space for other types of community activities including exhibitions, talks, lectures, and educational courses. The library is a so-called ‘family-type’ library and in October 2007 a new community center was built and became an integral part of it.

How it all started
The librarians of the municipal library have decided to focus on community activities such as project Luká?? which promotes education and improves relationships among the people of the entire region through visual arts and art education. Although the organizers live in a small town, the project, which is entering its 7th year of existence, is already known as a large-scale community project with clear goals.

The aim of the project
The aim of the project is to spread the knowledge about the new global ethics expressed in the Earth Charter and to encourage people to take responsibility for life in the region, being aware of interconnectedness of local and global challenges. The project traditionally has a direct impact on everyone who takes part in it, as well as an indirect impact on the entire population of the town and region by enhancing responsibility for the whole community of life. The organizers hope that the Luká??ek project becomes a source of inspiration for other individuals and groups in the Czech Republic.

The project coordinator, Rev. Iva Fi??erová, the Unitarian Minister said “We are happy we can join the global family in its efforts to introduce the Earth Charter locally. We also hope to inspire other groups in the Czech Republic to start their own projects.”

Starting in October 2009 information on the Project will be updated regularly.

Organizers in charge:
Chief organizer: Blanka Tauberová, Senior Executive of the Municipal Library in Sedl??any; phone: +420 318 821 186, e-mail:
Chief leader of the artistic part of the project: Mgr. Zora Sokolová, arts teacher; phone: +420 605 179 263
Methodologist of the artistic part of the project: Franti??ek Míka, educationalist and graphic designer; phone: +420 317 834 581
Coordinator of the project: Rev. Iva Fi??erová, Unitarian Minister; phone: +420 721 676 534, e-mail:

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