France Archives - Earth Charter

Mapting at Viva Technology 2017

 

Viva Technology is a global rendez-vous for innovations, which gathered more than 6000 startups and close to 70’000 visitors in Paris from June 15 – 17. Co-organized by Publicis Groupe and Groupe Les Echos, the event was structured around the technologies that will shape tomorrow’s world and aimed to bring start-ups and leading companies together to create partnerships and advancements in Technologies.

Amidst the drones, robots, self-driving cars, 3D printers and other connected objects, Viva Technology wished to highlight projects that use technology to provide solutions to major global issues. Thanks to Spark News and their #PositiveImpact Map, visitors were given a great opportunity to discover initiatives that have a positive impact on society and the environment.

Mapting on the Sparknews Booth

Mapting on the Sparknews Booth

Mapting was one of the projects invited on the Spark News booth and, together, we encouraged visitors to snap&map all the #PositiveImpact initiatives according to the SDG they are contributing to. An entertaining way for people to discover great projects and learn more about the 17SDGs, which sparked a lot of interest among professionals, students, young entrepreneurs and families. Not only did we receive positive feedback, we also discussed potential partnerships with important groups. We will keep you updated  on these, in the meantime, have a look at some of the pictures from our two days at VivaTechnology 2017.

Written by: Dino DeFrancesco

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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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French Art magazine “HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture” publishes art book inspired by the Earth Charter

 

book smallHEY! – 4 DEGREES ART, is a new art book inspired by the Earth Charter and developed by Anne & Julien and Zoé Forget, which brings together 102 artists from 20 countries. The book, published by Ankama/619 Editions, counts with the Preface and Afterword by French scientist Jean Claude Ameisen.

Alarmed with the scale of contemporary challenges and ecological degradation, Anne & Julien, founders and editors in chief of the art magazine Hey! Mordern Art & Pop Culture and Zoé Forget, in charge of photography service for the art magazine, decided to embark in this new project to spread the Earth Charter through their work in the field of art (painting, sculpture, drawing). In this context they have invited artists to reflect and answer some questions that emerges from the Earth Charter Text.

 

You can find more in the following links:

http://www.heyheyhey.fr/fr/billets/4-degrees-art-new-special-issue.

http://www.ankama-shop.com/fr/home/837-hey-4-degrees-art.html

Following is a text from the authors:

Exploring the language of arts

By: Anne & Julien and Zoé Forget

Photo 4For thirty years, our energy has concentrated on the observation of the influence of pop countercultures and art that emerges in the margins of the world´s main currents; This process has led us to build HEY! Modern art & pop culture in 2010, an artistic project around three axes: an art magazine, exhibitions and performances (under the name of HEY! La Cie) – three ways of exploring pop culture in a non-conventional way in all its complexity. As individuals, this autonomous initiative has enabled us to affirm an artistic vision (the return of the figurative in the field of contemporary art) by serving the multiplicity of practices that nourish it; The outlook of works and artists presented in the magazine is often ignored by the academic radars of art criticism, placing it at a distance from a hegemonic, industrial and commercial culture built with the aim of entertaining. Switching from awareness to engagement by linking local action with global consequences: this is the militant perimeter we have agreed to work on – Today HEY! brings together a large network of artists in the world.

Photo 1Currently, a lot of alarming information about environmental problems is available in the public sphere – of which we are part of. A year ago, we decided, as ordinary citizens, that it was no longer acceptable not to react to the situation in which humankind plunged the planet. But the question was how to position HEY! in the midst of the complex range of environmental issues, while our only weapon remains the art? This questioning mobilized our research and leads us to the discovery of The Earth Charter. The humanistic character of this document, its participatory perspectives and its accessibility have nurtured our decision: The Earth Charter has become the catalyst of our new project HEY! 4 DEGREES ART. This book is for us a fighting tool and a statement.

Photo 3The collection of artists who contributed to this book work from territories irrigated with fundamentals, references, diverse filiations and crosscutting areas of influence from which a mapping of connivances is born. HEY! Constitutes in this forest a kind of “guide” suggesting a different approach, beyond the conventional classifications, a stylistic diversity dialogue. Included in the broad perspectives art & environment, the aesthetic space shared in this special issue is not defined by the grammar of eco art or environmental art. Commenting systematically on the imaginary as a safe haven, these artists all discourse in a figurative way, facing a contemporary art dominated by a work of installations and / or conceptual works. It is interesting to note a natural association with a political and social content and the artistic gestures stemming from the conceptual and performative heritage of the 1960s and / or the video art; A kind of “natural environment” in sum, where the denunciation / claim / reaction are in fact legitimized. In this context, figurative painting of the 21st century has not yet been observed as a visionary territory and / or a wake-up caller, but in the fiber of its creative energy the environmental concern is printed as a principle under-stretched or active.

Photo 2We therefore agreed to ask to many artists eleven questions based on reflections on the Earth Charter text. They are neither “eco painters” nor “eco warriors” nor ecologists using art to coagulate their thinking. Together with us they gathered around a variation of points of view and approaches, all concerned and upset by the state of the world, deeply disturbed by the treatment to which our planet is subjected, they have seized a possibility to express themselves, through their favorite medium of expression, as artists and citizens of the Earth, at a time when it is more common to see an artist producing exclusively to supply a work to a dedicated market.

We plan to develop an exhibition which would be a logical continuation following this project.

 


A book directed by:

Anne & Julien: Over the years and in almost 30 years of activity, Anne & Julien’s work is recognized for its ability to unveil new talents and open fields of exploration hitherto unknown. Specialists in alternative arts and outsider pop, they work on two axes already specified in 1990 on the occasion of the opening of their art gallery L’Hydre de L’Art, Paris. In connection with the preoccupations and interests of the present time, they make reappear the forgotten worlds, choosing themes and works that tend to make visible an avant-garde; And decipher sharp subjects offering an alternative to the vision of a normative one-sided culture. Visionaries as to the influence of pop countercultures and alternative art, the Anne & Julien duo is the source of several major and now historical exhibitions in France (Miyazaki vs Moebius, Museum of the Monnaie of Paris – 2004/2005 // Tattooists, Tattoos, musée du quai Branly, Paris – 2014/2015). Meanwhile, they have set up three founding exhibitions of pop outsider and figurative pop art: HEY! Modern art and pop culture at the Halle St Pierre Museum, Paris (2011 – 2013 – 2015), the first of its kind in Europe and in the museum, named after the eponymous magazine created in March 2010). On paper as well as on rails, Anne & Julien have demonstrated their ability to open fields of exploration hitherto unknown, crossing borders which have subsequently demonstrated their virtuality.

Zoé Forget is a photographer, a graduate of ENS Louis Lumière (Paris) and a doctor in aesthetics, science and technology of the arts. The body, as a marginal subject, a political place and expression of anti-norms both visual and social, is at the heart of his photographic and theoretical works – his thesis, published in 2015 at L’Harmattan, dealt with the representation of non-standard bodies in contemporary photography. Focusing in studio work and directing, Zoé Forget produced eight photographs for the exhibition “Tattooists, tattooed” at the musée du quai Branly (Paris), presented in the last room – the photography cabinet. This series will also be presented at the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto) as part of the exhibition “Tattoos: Ritual. Identity. Obsession. Art “from April 2016. Zoé Forget is photo editor in the editorial office HEY! Since the n ° 8 (September 2011), official photographer of HEY! The ICE, co-author of HEY! TATTOO with Anne & Julien and pilot projects at their side since 2014.

Preface and Postface by Jean-Claude Ameisen:
Doctor and researcher, professor of immunology at Paris Diderot University, his research concerns the origin of the phenomena of cellular self-destruction during the evolution of the living and the role of “programmed cell death” in the development of diseases . Engaged in ethical reflection, in November 2012, he was appointed Chairman of the National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE), he chaired the Ethics and Scientific Committee of the International Foundation for Applied Research (FIRAH) and the Inserm Ethics Committee. Involved in the development of relations between science, culture and society, he is director of the Center for Life Studies (Institut des Humanités de Paris – Paris Diderot University), a member of the Scientific Council of the International College of Philosophy and author of Many scientific works. Since 2010, he is the author of the program Sur les épaules by Darwin (France Inter). The subjects deal with the work of Charles Darwin and some of the most recent scientific works resonated with literature, philosophy, ethics, poetry, and art. The 2013 CB News Grand Prize awarded the Best Broadcasts Award to Darwin’s On the Shoulders.

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Earth Charter Opinion article by Climate Ethicist, Don Brown

In a few weeks, nations of the world will meet in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, also known as COP21. This Convention emerged out of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, just like the Earth Charter did, and has been one of the most interesting, successful, and also not successful international agreements. The ethical perspective of sustainability, which is the central focus of the Earth Charter, should play a larger role in government policy making, and this is apparent when looking at the climate change challenge. In his essay, Don Brown looks at several of these issues, using an ethical lens to dissect the climate change discourse, and urges governments and policy makers to include ethics specialists when forming climate change responses and policies.

You can download the essay here.

Earth Charter International is grateful that Don Brown has offered this essay to us for publication in our virtual library and we extend him our heartfelt thanks for his excellent work on ethics and his lifelong commitment to making the world a better place.

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Workshop "Unity in Diversity" at “Spring” the first edition of the “Defy the Seasons” festival in Paris!

Workshop “Unity in Diversity” at “Spring” the first edition of the “Defy the Seasons” festival in Paris!

More Earth Charter activities in France as the network there begins to take root.

On 21 March, 2015, while near the headquarters of Earth Charter International in Costa Rica citizens came together to write a “giant poem” with their wishes and hopes for our common future, Earth Charter International’s activator in France and ECI’s partner, Common Good Forum, co-facilitated a workshop in Paris.

It was during “Spring”, an event of the “Defy the Seasons” festival, organized by Pari Osé. The workshop invited participants to reflect on the idea of “Unity in Diversity”, the official watchword of the initiative ECI is implementing in France with ECI partner Common Good Forum. The idea of “Unity in diversity” imagines a dialogue that recognizes the differences and moves past them in order to find a common vision around shared values. That’s the whole idea of the Earth Charter and the thought of the Common Good.

The workshop began with a short musical performance by Andrea Zubialde, ECI France Activator, who sang “Imagine” by John Lennon, accompanying herself on guitar. The song expresses the desire to approach the other to overcome competing interests and imagine a better world. Then, Violaine Hacker, Common Good Forum Director, briefly introduced the concept of “Unity in Diversity”, to make room for the two guest speakers who illustrated two practical derivations of this idea.

Sylvain Hatesse, consultant and creator of the sustainable development board game Terrabilis, showed how his game forced players to think about the existing interconnections between different sectors and issues involved in the development of a society, and the effects of each choice for development. He addressed the issue of the adaptation of tools for new uses, especially digital tools.

Yann Lesestre, member of CliMates (Think & Do Tank for climate change), presented the vision and actions of his organization, which is involved in the awareness and participation of civil society in ongoing climate negotiations. This presentation allowed contemplation and discussion about how these types of negotiations can succeed.

Finally, after the two presentations and discussion, all the participants jointly created a cloud of keywords and drawings symbolizing their thoughts on “Unity in Diversity”. Everyone had the opportunity to talk about their own experiences and to identify “Unity in Diversity” in their own lives and in current affairs.

The actions of the Earth Charter in France will continue soon. Do not miss our events and follow us on social media! www.facebook.com/BienCommunEarthCharter

For more information: http://commongood-earthcharter1.strikingly.com/

ECI is grateful to Pari Osé (Basma and Kelly), Sylvain, Yann and all the members of CliMates.

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Earth Charter International and The Common Good Forum webinar

On 22 January 2015, as part of the 15th anniversary of the launch of the Earth Charter, ECI co-organized a webinar on the topic “Imagine le Bien Commun – Avec la Charte de la Terre” (Imagine the Common Good – with the Earth Charter) with the Common Good Forum, a French organization founded and directed by Violaine Hacker. The Common Good Forum focuses its work on the concept of the Common Good. The webinar was held in French and it was the first step in a promising collaboration between Earth Charter International and The Common Good Forum.

The conference featured four main speakers. Violaine Hacker, co-organizer of the webinar, made an introduction on the concept of the Common Good and on the idea of the collaboration between Earth Charter International and The Common Good Forum. Following her, two experts presented their thoughts and work on the two essential topics of the conference. Firstly, Johannah Bernstein, an international environmental lawyer who has worked with the Earth Charter for a long time, spoke about the status of the Earth Charter in the juridical world, and its potential role in ongoing and future processes of negotiation, decision-making, and action related to sustainable development. Secondly, Michel Bauwens, an expert in the management of the commons, peer-to-peer practice, and President of the Peer-to-Peer Foundation, talked about the new practices emerging in social and civic organization and management, and the main issues in sustainable governance today that relate to the visions of the Earth Charter and the concept of the Common Good. Finally, several cases of the Earth Charter “in action” were presented by Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of Earth Charter International. These examples described different processes of implementation of the Earth Charter and a set of examples of how the Earth Charter is used today by different types of organizations. The webinar was moderated by Andrea Zubialde from Earth Charter International, one of the main co-organizers of the webinar.

The event was successful with a diverse and large group of participants. The presentations led to an interesting and passionate discussion between the participants and the speakers, approaching a series of key issues related to sustainable governance, the role of the Earth Charter in the world, the different tools provided by perspectives such as the Common Good or peer-to-peer approaches, and others. The recording of the conference can be seen here (starting at min. 20).

Earth Charter International and The Common Good Forum are proud of the success of the event, and especially of the following interest shown by certain participants in the webinar. It has opened new opportunities for collaboration, partnerships, and for spreading the word about the Earth Charter in France, a country where it is still mostly unknown. Earth Charter International is setting up new projects in France in cooperation with The Common Good Forum. The most important one, which began last month at La Paillasse in Paris with a meeting with members of French Youth organizations (CliMates, Jeunes Ecologistes, OIKOS, Alter’Actions, among others…) aims at communicating, raising awareness, and experiencing the Earth Charter and the tools provided by the concept of the Common Good with a number of Youth and Senior organizations and agents working in sustainable development. All the information on this project is published and updated here.

The ultimate goal is to bring these diverse stakeholders together to foster deeper cooperation. The co-organizers hope to achieve this by putting the values of the Earth Charter and the tools of the Common Good into practice, both of which envision sustainable development in a systemic way. They expect that although each stakeholder has its own objectives, interests, and culture, all will support the common vision promoted by the Earth Charter and The Common Good Forum. That common belief is “unity in diversity”.

Join us and participate in this inspiring initiative!

Earth Charter International would like to thank Violaine Hacker for her initiative and excellent leadership in undertaking the project, Johannah Bernstein and Michel Bauwens for sharing their expertise at the webinar, Didier Gleyzes for his help and support, and La Paillasse for their willingness to opening their doors for kicking off the initiative in Paris.

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Second UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education

ECI was invited to participate at the Second UNESCO Global Forum on Global Citizenship Education (GCE) that took place in Paris on 28-30 January 2015 at UNESCO Headquarters. Alicia Jimenez, ECI Secretariat staff member and Kartikeya Sarabhai, ECI Council Member, participated in this Forum.

The two main objectives of the 2nd Forum were to consider GCE in the context of the post-2015 education agenda including consideration of the emerging Framework of Action Post-2015. It also addressed the role of GCE for peace to clarify future policy directions of GCE at different levels, working as well in building partnerships.

The timing for this Forum was very strategic, since it happened during the UNESCO regional consultations on EFA and post-2015 and before the Global Education Forum (WEF) in May 2015 in Incheon, Republic of Korea.

Around 250 participants from 62 countries from all regions of the world participated in this event, representing different education movements, such as peace education, education for sustainable development, human rights, development, and health education, among others.

Day 1: 28 January.  Opening and Plenary session 1: Global Citizenship Education in the post-2015 education agenda

In the opening session, Mrs. Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General spoke about the importance of strengthening networks of practice and knowledge to better define the education we need on the XXI Century for a more sustainable world.   She mentioned the importance of new forms of cultural literacy considering the ongoing process of globalization. Also, she spoke about new foundations for a culture of peace. “It is important that we all learn to connect the dots between social, economic, and environmental aspects”. Mrs. Bokova stressed the role that Education has in the post-2015 development agenda, and that it is important to create a roadmap for Education in the post 2015 process, where global citizenship education can be a common framework.

Other speakers at this plenary were Amira Yahyaoui, President of Al-Bawsala organization from Tunisia, and Peter Ronald de Souza of the Institute for Advanced Study, India. Both of them agreed on the importance of values and a common normative framework. Peter de Souza also emphasized that education should be seen as a common good.

Gloria Carrasco, from the Bogotá Municipality in Colombia, shared the strategy from her local government to move from the right to access education to the right to access quality education. This means promotion of competences like critical thinking for building students’ empowerment.

In terms of the post 2015 development agenda, Mr. Alberto Motivans from UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics mentioned that right now Member States are actively involved in developing the indicators for the targets related to the 17 proposed Sustainable Development Goals.   There is just one goal on education, with seven targets. Most likely the indicators will focus on skills and knowledge necessary to promote sustainable development, and they need to be adapted to global, regional and national levels.  Measuring socio-emotional skills and behavioral changes is a challenge for the SDG on education, although in the OECD isworking on this.

Several concurrent sessions were organized with small groups, one of them related to the outcomes of the World Education for Sustainable Development Conference in Nagoya and its implications for GCE. One of the main conclusions is that because the Global Action Programme launched in Nagoya in 2014 is very clear and concise, it has the potential to help advance GCE in national policies and at local level processes (in education institutions and communities).

Day 2: 29 January. Plenary session 2: Global Citizenship Education forging peace

The claim that GCE can contribute to global peace was widely accepted by the panelists in this session, what they further discussed was the meaning of global peace, how lessons from peace education experiences, interfaith and intercultural dialogue and promotion of gender equity can inform GCE.

Carlos Alberto Torres, Chair-holder, UNESCO Chair on Global learning and global citizenship education at UCLA stressed the factors that undermine peace, such as inequality, poverty, neoliberal policies, banking education and predatory cultures. For him, GCE should promote a sense of planetary citizenship that seeks a more sustainable world, and adds values to national citizenship. “Global or planetary citizens should be aware of the global commons, that we share this planet not only with humans, but other living beings that also have the right to live. In this sense, a global citizen would cultivate a spirit of solidarity with people and other living beings they don’t know. This has to go hand in hand with building a multicultural tradition, promoting respect and tolerance, and preventing separatism.”  Mr. Torres concluded by saying that the launch of GCE is an opportunity to stir up a silent revolution, using UNESCO’s soft power, to promote the changes needed for a more peaceful world.

Tony Jenkins, Director of the Peace Education Initiative, talked about the pedagogical challenges to generate the changes we want to see in the world. One of the biggest challenges is a lack of a theory of change to education that allows us to understand how change happens to learners. Educational change, he said, happens at a personal and institutional level. The personal refers to psychological aspects of the internalization of values, socio-emotional learning to help individuals to overcome problems related, for example, to the practice of peace.  At the institutional level, change is sometimes more difficult to perceive. Whole institution approach can help to overcome the problem of a disconnection between what the individual is learning and the day-to-day actions in the educational institution.

“We need to understand how identity functions otherwise we can’t work on positive change” said Patrice Bordeur, from the KAICIID  Dialogue Center. He referred to the importance of promoting intercultural and interfaith dialogue for practicing and promoting peace and a sense of global citizenship. Dialogue helps to identify and clarify our values, what we bring to the table when sharing or making decisions.  Education processes of GCE should promote dialogue skills.

After this second plenary, more concurrent sessions took place over the rest of the day. These are some key messages that were shared:

  • Tony Jenkins said that the peace definition contained in the Earth Charter was very important to the United States, since peace is a politicized concept in this country, and is difficult to bring to education settings, but the concept in the Earth Charter showed a non-politicized view that was not considered as threatening to others.
  • How to teach about human rights in a place like Palestine? The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is doing it with teachers on the ground. One teacher explained how they do it: “We may not be able to live in a safe environment, but at least we will make the classroom a peaceful and safe place. Here is where we practice peace”.
  • The Framework for Action that will be defined in the World Education Forum in South Korea (May 2015) will aim to support the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, and its education goal. One of the targets proposes that all learners acquire knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, through ESD, GCE and others. Now, even if this target is not retained, it is important for stakeholders to continue to work on making this target happen.

Day 3: 30 January:  Plenary session 3: Moving forward together: GCED in the Framework for Action for post-2015 and Closing Session.

One of the key messages of panelist Choong-hee Hahn, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, was that GCE curricula should consider appropriate contextualization without compromising universal values.

Susan Hopgood, President of Education International said that teachers needed support for their professional development… and trust from authorities. In addition, she expressed the need to better connect values affirmation and values implementation, because most people affirm that being respectful is important, but not all practice it. So, it is important to find pedagogies that allow for the practice of universal values.

The youth present in this forum presented a Youth Statement in the closing session. In addition, the three rapporteurs of the Forum presented a summary of this event related to three aspects: Policy making; Education implementation; and Partnerships.

On policy making, it is important to incorporate teacher training and integration of GCE in programmes related to other education movements.

On education implementation, the rapporteur said that it was important to acknowledge that GCE is values oriented, and an ethical framework is needed as a reference for ethical reflection. Also, teachers are curriculum gatekeepers, so in this sense, teacher training to share GCE principles is a priority

In terms of partnerships, the role of UNESCO was highlighted as important to support the “silent revolution” to promote GCE principles, and to continue to be a convener.

The final statements were offered by Heeseung Yuh on behalf of the Secretary-General of the World Education forum, and Soo-hyang Choi, Director of the Division for Teaching, Learning and Content of UNESCO Headquarters. They both expressed that this was an interesting moment where different education agendas will be integrated to find synergies among them. Although at the national level there will be discussions about how to translate a global vision for sustainability and global citizenship into national targets, Mrs. Choi reminded us that it was important to take on board not only what can be measured in quantitative ways, but also what can be experienced by students.

Find more information about this Forum in this link.  And also read the publication that UNESCO produced to clarify Global Citizenship Education.

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ECI Executive Director participates in key meetings in Europe

In late August and early September, Earth Charter International Executive Director Mirian Vilela traveled to Europe to represent the Earth Charter Initiative at two events.

In Paris, Ms. Vilela spoke at the opening session of the three-day Common Good Forum. The Forum brought together experts and practitioners in various fields to reconsider economics and other areas of human enterprise while focusing on the common good. Ms. Vilela spoke about people’s charters and the significance of the Earth Charter and ethical foundations for fostering societies that focus on universal values and the common good.

The conference appearance and interaction in the following days and sessions served as sharing and learning spaces. The Earth Charter was well-represented as another session speaker, Saskia Troy from the Netherlands, was present and she has been active in the Earth Charter Netherlands and Earth Charter Europe Youth networks for several years. Here you can read a heart-warming reflection on the forum from one of the conference participants.

Following the Common Good Forum, Ms. Vilela traveled to Geneva for the 20-year Green Cross International conference. ECI Council and Commission members also participating in this event included Alide Roerink, Alexander Likhotal, Oscar Motomura, Rabbi Soetendorp and Ruud Lubbers. Mikhail Gorbachev, the founding president of  Green Cross International, and Earth Charter Commissioner, mentioned the Earth Charter in his opening address.

In his statement, he warned:

“…we are still in the process of losing our planet. We are very close to the “red line.” Even though we have had many discussions, and many conferences and forms on water and other environmental problems, we are not even close to achieving our goal. We still see that the environment and nature are shrinking. The Earth will of course survive anyway, but it will be a very different Earth for those who live on it.”

You can read about the conference at the Green Cross International website.

The welcome of the Earth Charter at the Common Good Forum and the clear continued relevance of the Earth Charter at the Green Cross International event show that the Earth Charter and sustainability ethics have growing and vital roles to play in ongoing dialogues and discussions on how to make the world better, safer, greener, more peaceful, and more just.

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UNESCO and post-2015 Education for Sustainable Development

The end of the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) is approaching and education for sustainable development is a major topic of discussion for the post-2015 and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agendas. Earth Charter International and the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) are prioritizing education and educational initiatives for the next phase of the Earth Charter Initiative. The Earth Charter has a vital role to play in these international agendas and that was recognized at the beginning of the decade by UNESCO in a resolution, and was reaffirmed last year when UNESCO created a Chair on ESD with the Earth Charter.

Earth Charter should be considered as an invaluable tool for ESD and as a guiding framework for education in the post-2015 and SDG initiatives. UNESCO invites individuals and groups to offer their feedback though an open questionnaire about ESD in the post DESD discussion and that questionnaire is still open, although the Web site states the deadline of March 31st.

ECI encourages you to fill out this UNESCO questionnaire (link on the right column) and if you have positive experiences with the Earth Charter in your educational activities, you can mention them here. Here is the link:

http://www.unesco.org/new/en/media-services/single-view/news/questionnaire_on_the_future_of_education_for_sustainable/back/18256/

ECI’s hopes that the new Global ESD Programme that UNESCO is currently developing (to be launched at the end of 2014) will affirm the importance of infusing sustainability values through the educational process and encourages the use of the Earth Charter as an instrument in this endeavor.

As part of these activities, Earth Charter International is partnering with UNESCO and participated in the past month in two separate meetings on the future of the international Education for Sustainable Development agenda. ECI Director Mirian Vilela attended meetings of the DESD Reference Group at UNESCO headquarters in Paris, and then Ms. Vilela and ECI project coordinator Alicia Jimenez attended the Latin American Regional Consultations for ESD post-2015 in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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Meeting of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development in Paris

Between the 4th and 5th of October, UNESCO headquarters in Paris organized a meeting of UNESCO Chairs in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which was attended by Mirian Vilela, ECI Executive Director. Ms. Vilela is the coordinator of the UNESCO Chair on ESD with the Earth Charter (this chair is co-hosted by the University for Peace and the EC Center on Education for Sustainable Development). This was the first time such a meeting was organized to promote the exchange of experiences and knowledge among the ESD Chairs, explore ideas of how to forge collaboration, and discuss the process towards and post the end of the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD).

There are over 300 UNESCO Chairs around the world, which are focused on different areas of research and education practice. Among these, there are 18 UNESCO Chairs focused on Education for Sustainable Development, each with their own specific interest. Some research the linkages between ESD and Climate Change Education, others engage youth (such as the Young Masters Programme on Sustainable Development from Lund University in Sweden, an online programme for high school students), and still others specifically work on teacher training or in  ESD through distance education. The Earth Charter Chair is a collaborative project of interested institutions studying ways to bring the values and principles of sustainability, as articulated in the Earth Charter, into educational settings.

Other UNESCO Chairs on ESD come from Germany, Armenia, Sweden, Spain, Mexico, the Netherlands, Canada, and France, among others. Two of them are already working with the Earth Charter. The University of Crete just underwent a two-year process of developing a new Master programme on ESD and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), which brings together seven other universities from Europe. This fully online programme, led by Vassilos Makarais, whose institution is also an ECI affiliate, has a course that is dedicated to the Earth Charter. It is expected to be launched in 2014. Also UNED in Spain, one of the biggest distance learning universities in Iberoamerica, has a Chair on Environment Education and ESD, and they have also being working with the Earth Charter in their courses and as part of their research.

Part of the agenda of this UNESCO chairs meeting was dedicated to addressing what still must happen in the next two years, before the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD). Some of the discussion topics were innovative projects that implement ESD in all dimensions of education (formal and non-formal spheres), how to assess them and capture good stories, and also how new global programme on ESD can be set up beyond 2014 as a follow-up to the Decade effort.

In November 2014, UNESCO and the Government of Japan will be organizing the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – Learning Today for a Sustainable Future. This event will mark the end of the UNDESD and a number of projects to undertake assessment of this effort will be in place between 2013 and 2014. Given that the 2014 World Conference will take stock of the implementation of the UNDESD and celebrate the Decade’s achievements, from an Earth Charter Initiative perspective we would like to identify key examples, collect as many stories of good practices as possible from schools, universities, youth groups, businesses, and others that feature and make good use of the Earth Charter.

On the first day evening of the meeting, Mirian Vilela also took part in a panel that was open for other UNESCO staff and delegates on Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Rio+20 and beyond. This panel discussion was organized by the Swedish Permanent Delegation and UNESCO’s Education Sector and was opened by Mr Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education and Mr Hans-Ake Öström, Deputy Permanent Delegate, Permanent Delegation of Sweden. The four panellists addressed the topic of the role of Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Rio+20 and beyond, the UNDESD, and had the opportunity to briefly introduce the work of their UNESCO chair.

More information about UNESCO’s work on ESD.

To read more about ECI’s Greek affiliate, click here.

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