News and Events Archives - Earth Charter

International Congress on Habitat and Sustainable Cities GBCCR 2018

17 – 18 May 2018, Costa Rica.

Green Building 2Forty-five presenters in the field of Sustainable Urban Development gathered to share their expertise and vision on the current and future life in cities during the 5th Congress of Sustainable Cities organized by the Green Building Council Costa Rica (GBCCR). Many emerging challenges and solutions in urban development were pointed out, especially given the rapid growing urban population and the pressure it generates on natural resources use. All agreed on the fact that we need to stop working in silo’s, create multi-stakeholders alliances, start sharing knowledge and find ways to cooperate to transform urban area’s into vibrant, safe, livable cities.

 

City of Love

At the opening session, the President of the Green Building Council, Mr. Tai Lee Siang said that building innovation should focus on zero waste and the basic understanding of the broad vision of sustainability. At the end, he presented key ideas of his book ‘Cities of love’, in which he makes a point that if we love something, we care for it. “If we love our city, we will care for it as we do for our family.” Mr. Tai Lee Siang stressed the importance of constant feedback loop between the users, the builders and all those involved in a development project.

The morning session also counted with a speech by the new first lady of Costa Rica, Claudia Dobles (architect and urban planner), who reaffirmed her determination to help address the challenges of public transportation and mobility in San Jose. She stressed a number of key ideas on the importance of better articulation, cooperation and true commitments of both the public and the private sector. She said that “we need to rethink how we design urban planning… and the vision of the city we want…. we have to consider cities as instruments to generate employment and to address social inequalities”.

Green Building 3Several presenters emphasized the importance to move ahead towards the vision of “smart cities” as a place that seeks the quality of life of its inhabitants and that considers the interconnectedness of various sectors.

Earth Charter

Among the Sustainability experts was Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Center on Education for Sustainable Development. At the closing plenary, she talked about the excitement many feel when they arrive in a big city until you realize the huge number of people consuming water, food, energy and generating waste in such a condensed space and short time. Mirian emphasized the need for long-term urban planning and visioning through a broad sustainability and values-based approach. She shared a few examples of cities that have used the Earth Charter as a road map for their policy design and urban planning. She encouraged participants to consider these examples and use the Earth Charter as an ethical framework for sustainable urban development and as a compass when seeking to transform cities into centers of innovation.

Irma Verhoeven, Programme and Partnership Development manager at the Earth Charter International Secretariat and project manager at the World of Walas (author of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto) shared the techniques Walas’ uses to transform old industrial areas into vibrant neighborhoods. These techniques are based on the values described in the Earth Charter.

The Weight of Cities

Green Building 1Adriana Zacarias (Regional Coordinator of Resource Efficiency sub-programme at UNEP at the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean) presented a summary of the UN Environment report “The Weight of Cities” at the opening plenary.

During the session ‘Smart Cities II’ Prof. Mark Swilling of the Stellenbosch University in South Africa, presented details of the findings of this important research study on Requirements for Future Urbanization. The UNEP report is a ‘must read’ for everyone, especially in the work field of Sustainable Development. Find here the link to both the summary as well as the full report.

¨We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to shift this expected urbanization on to a more environmentally sustainable and socially just path. Decisions made today on urbanization and land-use models, as well as on critical infrastructure, will determine whether our investments are future-proof, or whether they lock us on to an unsustainable path.¨

To achieve a transition to low-carbon, resource-efficient, socially just cities, the report recommends:

  •  Monitoring the flow of resources entering and leaving the cities to understand the local situation and to help develop resource-efficient strategies.
  •  Planning cities to have:
  • Compact growth, to avoid urban sprawl and so economize on the square kilometres of asphalt, the concrete, the electricity and the water wasted in spread-out cities.
  • Better connections by efficient and affordable public transport (e.g. light rail, bus rapid transit).
  • Liveable neighbourhoods where design encourages people to walk or cycle.
  • Resource-efficient urban components, such as car sharing, electric vehicles and charging point networks, efficient energy, efficient waste and water systems, smart grids, cycle paths, energy-efficient buildings, new heating, cooling and lighting technology, etc.
  • Infrastructure for cross-sector efficiency, such as using waste heat from industry in district energy systems and industrial waste materials in construction, such as fly-ash bricks.
  •  Establishing a new model for city governance and politics that supports imaginative business propositions and experimentation.

In conclusion

Although there are many good examples of sustainability urban planning, broadly, urban planning and cities are still being managed with fragmented, short-term and unsustainable approaches. Cities generate an incredible pressure on natural resources. Therefore, educating the general public, policy makers and builders on the basic understanding of sustainability and the true value of green building is essential. It is safe to say that the CICS2018 conference offered high quality information presented by key experts working on the transformation toward Sustainable Cities.

For more information on this Congress click here.

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Presentation by ECI Affiliate in Earth Day Conference in USA

Noticia Earth Day Conference 3On April 23, Alejandro Meitin, founder of Ala Plástica, director of Casa Río Argentina and Earth Charter Affiliate, made a presentation at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States, on occasion of the 12th Earth Day Conference.

This panel called “Stories, aesthetics and transformation politics” addressed the question: How does narrative, aesthetic and political work change conversations about environmental issues and what we consider “environmental”?

Noticia Earth Day Conference 1Considering that journalism, film, and stage art are used to convey and illustrate the interconnectedness of humanity with nature, in interesting and sometimes powerful ways, the tools and forms of expression have evolved, but the desire to celebrate, protect, understand and communicate the connection of humanity with the Earth and the responsibility for it remains constant.

Also participating were Justin Gillis, editor of The New York Times on environmental issues, filmmaker Emmanuel Urey, and cultural critic and artist Brian Holmes. On that occasion, Alejandro spoke about the Earth Charter and took the opportunity to disseminate it through the different moments in which he presented.

During his presentation, Alejandro emphasized, “Art is a vehicle for the construction of new imaginaries that feed the symbolic magmas that stimulate human action.” This is a decisive moment for artists of all branches to incorporate and find inspiration in the values of the Earth Charter, collaborating in the deconstruction of the self-destructive myths that guide the destiny of humanity. ”

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Earth Day Conference

12th Annual Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Let’s Talk About the Environment: Storytelling, Aesthetics, and the Politics of Transformation

Monday, April 23, 2018
Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Noticia Earth Day Conference 2Artists, writers, and activists provide narratives for understanding environmental complexity.

The tools and forms of expression have evolved, but the desire to celebrate, protect, understand, and communicate humanity’s connection to and responsibility for the Earth remains constant.

How does narrative, aesthetic, and political work shift conversations about environmental issues and what we consider to be “environmental”? Journalism, film, and performance art are all used to convey and illustrate the interconnectedness of humanity to nature in interesting, and sometimes powerful ways.

MODERATOR: Alexandra LaKind, Doctoral Student, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison

Justin Gillis, former New York Times editor and environmental reporter

Brian Holmes, Professor of Philosophy, The European Graduate School

Alejandro Meitin, artist, lawyer, environmental activist and co-founder of the art collective Ala Plástica

Emmanuel Urey, Doctoral Student, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, UW-Madison

More details at:

https://www.nelson.wisc.edu/events/earth-day/2018/index.php

https://www.nelson.wisc.edu/about/nelson-legacy.php

https://nelson.wisc.edu/events/earth-day/2018/speakers.php

 

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UNGA Resolution moves ahead France proposal for a Global Pact for the Environment

IMG_9425On June 2017, the government of France introduced a draft of a Global Pact for the Environment as a proposal for a new legally binding instrument on the principles of international environmental law. It took less than a year after that for the United Nations General Assembly to agree to move forward on a process to develop and agree on such a Pact. This demonstrates an exceptional leadership and diplomatic skills of the French government.

On 10 May 2018, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution “Towards a Global Pact for the Environment” (document A/72/L.51) with 143 votes in favor for the document, while just six countries voted against and six others abstained.  This effort received an almost unanimous support. The resolution opens the way for the negotiation of this new Pact and establishes an ad hoc working group to identify gaps in international environmental law. The sessions of the ad hoc working group will be open for all member states and relevant NGOs.

While French representative F. Delattre, claims that it is time to take on new responsibilities, the representatives of the countries voting against the resolution believed that there are enough agreements and policies and the need is to focus on the implementation and better articulation of existing instruments.

IMG_9424Thus, Russia and Philippines highlighted the role of the 2030 Agenda as already existing comprehensive framework. Russian representative, S. Kononuchenko, pointed out that we already have more than 1,000 instruments to protect the environment and the focus should be on their implementation instead of creation of new ones. The representative of the United States, M. Simonoff, claimed that this initiative should not disrupt existing environment commitments and the wording of the document should not prejudice the discussions.

As stated in the Earth Charter, “In order to build a sustainable global community, the nations of the world must renew their commitment to the United Nations, fulfill their obligations under existing international agreements, and support the implementation of Earth Charter principles with an international legally binding instrument on environment and development.”

In this context, creation of the working group for the identification of gaps and challenges in current regime for the protection of the environment is a welcome development. Nevertheless, the task should combine the work under the new resolution with the aim to enhance mechanisms of implementation (and better coordination) of existing instruments.

This effort builds on the outstanding work IUCN has developed over the years in drafting the IUCN Covenant on Environment and Development, the 2004 IUCN Resolution on the Earth Charter and the 2016 IUCN World Declaration on the Environmental Rule of Law.

There is no doubt there are synergies between the Global Pact and the Earth Charter. Hopefully, the Global Pact process will adopt explicit language on ecological integrity and strong sustainability. In 2012, a study was conducted to find the links between principles of the Earth Charter and International Law instruments. This publication was the basis of a doctoral research developed by Maria Elisa Febres. This document can be found by clicking here.

Click here for more information on the UN General Assembly Resolution adopted last week.

See the resolution adopted here.

See previous article on the Global Pact for the Environment and Its Overlap with the Earth Charter.

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“It Starts with One!”—Seeds of Hope Exhibition Shown at FAO HQ in Rome and Launch of New Mapting Version 2.0

Rome, Italy, April 3–5, 2018

Photo 1The exhibition titled “Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps Toward Change,” a colorful display showing how one person’s actions can make a difference, was shown in the David Lubin Memorial Library at the Headquarters of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome, Italy, from April 3 to 5.

The 24-panel Seeds of Hope exhibition, a joint initiative of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and Earth Charter International (ECI), was shown as an official side event at the Second International Symposium on Agroecology.

Photo 2The main speaker at the April 3 opening ceremony was FAO Deputy Director-General for Climate and Natural Resources Maria Helena Semedo, who commented, “Seeds of Hope is a very inspiring theme . . . we at FAO often focus on larger-scale actions, but this exhibition reminds us that many times scale starts at the individual level. I am inspired by the real-life testimonials in this exhibit.”

Other speakers included Apostolic Nuncio H.E. Silvano M. Tomási, ECI Council Member Alide Roerink and SGI Director General of Peace and Global Issues Hirotsugu Terasaki.

Photo 3The Seeds of Hope exhibition has been seen by more than seven million people in 39 different countries and territories, and translated into 14 languages. The panels can be viewed here.

During this opening event the launch of the new version of Mapting 2.0 was announced. Mapting is a free tool that invites users to look for everyday actions that people can take to help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While learning more about the SDGs users can find out which Earth Charter Principles are linked to each SDG. Mapting was officially launched at an event called “Youth Boosting the Promotion and Implementation of the SDGs” held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on November 10, 2016.

With this new version, users can now sign up as either an Photo 4individual or as an institution, to showcase and track their work as an NGO, institution, organization, or school. In addition, users can now click on other users’ profile pictures to send a private message in order to find out more about their project. Spanish descriptions have also been added to the new version.

For more information click here.

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Dawn of Interspirituality Conference in Latin America

The Earth Charter International Secretariat was invited to participate in the International Conference “Dawn of Interspirirtuality in Latin America”, which took place on March 12 to 16, 2018 in Costa Rica.

Conference Dawn Interspirituality

Satyana Institute organized this conference.  This Institute, based in Colorado, USA, is trying to build on the Snowmass interreligious dialogue that Father Thomas Keating organized in a period of 30 years with religious leaders.

This was the first time that a conference of this type took place in Latin America, and they joined efforts with Institute of Interreligious Dialogue, co-founded by Pope Francis in Argentina.

“You are invited to take a step into the unknown, toward a possible future that can only be imagined, when the religions of the world truly meet each other”.  Father Keating.

This was part of the invitation of this conference; find a future of peace together.

The Conference speakers were important spiritual leaders of different religions, for example Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, Tibetan Buddhist Nun; Sister Lucy Kurien, Catholic nun, founder of Maher;  Bishop Marc Andrus, Episcopal Bishop of California and many others (see the Conference’s web page). The richness of their messages was enormous, but this conference tried to go beyond the rational and academic thinking, there were many moments of meditation and personal reflection, also music, art and ceremonies. It was a transformative experience for those who had the privilege of participating.

A graphic facilitator was capturing the messages of the different talks; the drawing below is her poetic interpretation of what Alicia Jimenez, ECI Staff member shared about the Earth Charter.

Earth Charter Poetic Drawing20180315_191413

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Creative Educators International Network Conference held in Costa Rica

Creative Educators International Network (CEIN)

Costa Rica Conference: April 01 – 05 2018

Fostering a Sustainable World Through Value Creating Education

At Earth Charter Education Center, University of Peace and Quality Hotel in San Jose

Costa Rica Conference Day 1 ActivityCREATIVE EDUCATORS INTERNATIONAL NETWORK, Inc., (CEIN) is a non-profit NGO dedicated to helping communities become sustainable through value-creating education, and to inspire educators who are implementing Value-Creating Education in different ways. CEIN held its conference this year in Costa Rica.

CEIN wants to share our experience at the EC Education Center which was the first part of our conference. We learned here that educating and learning is to live in a space of reciprocal acceptance, where there is legitimate respect for oneself and others and a special deep gratitude, appreciation and respect for the environment. CEIN members come from different countries, so experiencing this together will have a profound effect on our work together.

Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of the Earth Charter International (ECI) CEIN foto mirianinspired us through workshops in nature using our own experiences and then had us share this new meaning with each other. Using our five senses, she invited us to learn to perceive our internal and external environment together. We acquired “sensory experiences” and then shared our feelings with each other and what we learned together.

Daisaku Ikeda, CEIN’s Value Creating Education mentor, (2002) echoes the importance of this kind of education. “It is only with a common vision and a joint effort to achieve it that we can welcome a more hopeful future. For this reason, it is imperative that the international community support and value the Earth Charter.”

Costa Rica Conference Picture 1We next learned to use the Earth Charter from a pedagogical perspective. ECI provides playful forms, teaching lessons, for educators and pupils; animated short films designed to educate the younger generation about the importance of doing little things to take care of our planet.

In the third workshop, Mirian presented how the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals, the SDGs, interrelate with the principles of the Earth Charter. Our deep support for one Earth Charter Principle or SDG goal will positively affect all global problems. This concurs with Value Creating Education too.

For Day 2 and 3 of our conference we further developed our CEIN Offline curriculum for Sustainable Community Educators. This began with Dialogue Skills for Communities, which will become a foundation class.

group photoThis was followed by presentations of three experiences: Sustainable Community Education from an Amazonian perspective, Value Creating Gardening at a school in India, and an International Peace Education conflict resolution issue from a suburban neighborhood dispute in the U.S.

Mirian Vilela and Alicia Jimenez were invited  to join the rest of our conference. We identified many ways to work together and how useful the Earth Charter will be to us. We also discussed our community-measuring tool and the role it will play to help communities discover their strengths.

Finally on our last day, at The University of Peace, we were invited to conduct a tree planting ceremony to commemorate our stay. We were overwhelmed with gratitude to be forever part of UPEACE and ECI.

Costa Rica Tree Planting SessionWith great solemnity, we did the planting and with great feeling in our hearts, we took our photograph with the knowledge we had created a conference with spectacular meaning on its campus.

We recorded a moment that will remain unforgettable. Next to this tree will be placed a plaque “CEIN: Promoting Sustainable Communities through Value Creating Education.” This is a small change from the title of the conference and done because each of us became dedicated to the community of life where we live.

Written by CEIN team.

For more information on CEIN go to: www.creativeeducators.org 

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Pre-school version of the Earth Charter

Adaptacion-CT-Implicate-2018Implicate+ is a group of educators from Spain and an Earth Charter Affiliate.

They have created an adaptation of the Earth Charter for Pre-school children, available in Spanish and Catalan.

You can download this publication here.

In addition, they have compiled a series of experiences with the Earth Charter in different education settings.

These stories are available in Catalan only:

Pre-school

Primary school

High school

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Latin America agrees on a treaty on access to information and environmental justice

LAC P10 CEPAL CeremonyRepresentatives of Latin American and Caribbean countries have concluded the negotiations for a new legally binding agreement on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration – Regional agreement on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (the Escazú Agreement) in Escazú, Costa Rica.

The conclusion of the negotiations and drafting process and agreement on the final version of the treaty took place on 4 March – the day of birth of Berta Cáceres – human rights and environmental defender who was killed in 2016 for her activism.

The Escazú Agreement will be open for signature by Latin American and Caribbean countries in September 2018 and it requires ratifications or other forms of approval by 11 countries of the region in order to enter into force.

In case of entering into force, the document becomes a legal instrument for:

  • Protection of human right defenders in environmental matters;
  • Better access of every person to information concerning the environment including dissemination of information about imminent threat to public health or the environment;
  • Participation in decision-making concerning the environment;
  • Access to justice in environmental matters with the procedures that are not prohibitively expensive;
  • Considering the interests of persons or groups in vulnerable situations, including indigenous people.

LAC P10 CEPAL GroupThe Escazú Agreement strongly correlates to the principles of the Earth Charter including its Principle 13 on democratic institutions, transparency, accountability, inclusive participation and access to justice.

Such a connection makes Earth Charter International believe that civil society will support the document and will cooperate with the governments of Latin America and Caribbean countries in order to turn the provisions of the Escazú Agreement into reality in the region.

There are several actions that organizations and individuals can do to promote the Escazú Agreement in their countries:

  • Organize round tables and conferences on the Agreement;
  • Include information on the Agreement in educational programmes, courses and workshops;
  • Organize contests of scientific papers and Media events on access to information, participation and justice in environmental matters (access rights);
  • Organize special events to commemorate the life and achievements of human right defenders in environmental matters.

For further information see:LAC P10 Civil society

The full text of the Escazú Agreement 

Official site – Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN agency that led the drafting process of the Escazú Agreement)

The Access Initiative the largest civil society network on access rights.

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Institute in Venezuela organizes discussion on the Earth Charter

IUT-FRP 4With the participation of Chemistry, Quality Systems, and Environment Control students, a discussion on the Earth Charter was held at the University Institute of Technology Dr. Federico Rivero Palacio, organized by the Research and Postgraduate Department, under Professor Joel Campuzano.

The activity began with a video called “The sustainable future is in our hands”, where awareness was generated among attendees about how and why we should all defend the rights of Planet Earth and that only together we can save our only ¨spacecraft¨, as Professor Walter Martínez in his Dossier program expressed.

Professor Joel Campuzano, Head of the Research and Postgraduate Department of the IUT-FRP said, “Our planet is the only space where we live, the Earth Charter as an ethical document, is a vision of hope, a call to action in defense of the rights of Planet Earth, for present and future generations, and for the community’s well-being¨.

IUT-FRP 3“The Earth Charter gives us the notion of integrality working from values, love, a culture of peace, solidarity, generating reflections to act under the fifth objective of the Nation’s Plan. Therefore, this call to action is aimed at IUT students who bring their proposals and their projects to carry them out jointly inside and outside the institution¨, stated professor Campuzano.

Campuzano added: “IUT-FRP endorses the Earth Charter, and therefore commits to disseminate and promote, from the Quality Systems laboratory and the Environment Department, the sustainable development of our Planet Earth. Also we invite all of those who want to join this noble initiative, to join the promoting team, and in addition, to thank all the directors of the institute lead by Professor Hector Constant, for all the support “.

IUT-FRP 2These activities encourage interest of students, such as Ronaldo Paiva, a student of Control of the Environment Sytems, who expressed “Initiatives such as the Agroecological Park are very interesting, as we must begin to revert the situations that are affecting the preservation of life in Planet Earth¨.

Other students, of the Quality and Environment Systems programme, such as Enyerlis Luzón stated, “I loved the discussion, I learned what the Earth Charter is and why we should all put its principles into practice for the benefit of all¨. Jean Carlos Boscán expressed “Pollution is a very serious issue affecting us now, we must all work to ensure our present and future, and the key to this is to put into practice, disseminate and promote the 16 principles of the Earth Charter¨.

Press IUT-FRP.
Text and photos by: Alejandra Guzmán and Guillermo Navarro.

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Earth Charter Austria celebrates Global Recycling Day with art exhibition

Global Recycling DayTo celebrate Global Recycling Day, the art exhibition called ¨Science, Technology, Innovation, and Art¨ opened on 18 March 2018 at the Earth Charter Austria Center in Klosterneuburg, Austria.

The goal of the exhibition was to inform the public and create awareness about the critical need of recycling in current times.

In this exhibition, austrian artists Christoph W. Band, who presented a work of art on aluminium, and Wolfgang Pawlik who presented a three-dimensional metal object, inspired guests to think about recycling and encourage them to take action.

Flyer photoThe exhibition is the result of a cooperation between UNESCO Club Vienna and Earth Charter Austria and was opened to the public until 17 April 2018.

People interested in the Global Recycling Day exhibition and the displayed art work can book a personal tour or workshop with one of the artists, Christoph Band.

To contact Christoph Band email at: [email protected] or call: +4369917274707

To sign the Global Recycling Day Petition: https://www.globalrecyclingday.com/
To visit the artists websites go to: www.christophband.com and www.pawlix.com
Earth Charter Austria: www.erdcharta.at

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We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future.
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