Russian Federation Archives - Earth Charter

Tribute to Marina Bakhnova, our dear friend and colleague

Tribute to Marina Bakhnova

This morning we had a memorial ceremony here at the University for Peace Campus to remember Marina, to express our sorrow for her passing away and celebrate her life. We thank all of you for the many messages of condolences we have received. We shared them all with her husband, Tom and son Yuri.

When a dear friend or family member departs, it often makes us evaluate… assess… think about what we are doing with our own lives… How are we relating with our loved ones and others… and whether we are fulfilling the purpose of our life… This is what probably happened in many of our minds and hearts during this past week as we were grieving the loss of Marina, our dear friend and colleague.

We want to express our sorrow for this loss, Marina passed away last Friday 22 April, she was at home early in the morning, but at the same time, we want to celebrate her life and beauty.

We want to express gratitude for having had the opportunity to know her and to learn so many things from her. It seems that many things emerge, or shine more clearly as our dear ones go – as if she had to leave so that her purpose in life could be seen or perceived more.

Marina’s first encounter with the Earth Charter Initiative was during an Earth Charter consultation that Rustem Khairov organized in Moscow in 1996. She was there and always helped the foreigners understand the discussion with her translation. She has been our bridge between the Russian speaking world and its culture and the others involved in the Earth Charter Initiative.

My first impression of her was, and has continued to be all these years, related to her elegance and sense of care for others. Throughout all this time there seemed to be a constant in her life: a unique mixture of sophistication and modesty. She made me think this week that if we want to make the world a beautiful place we need to start with oneself, taking care of one’s self and being beautiful inside out. At the same time she had a unique sensitivity to others, not only to friends and colleagues, but also to all the animals that we have around the Upeace campus. She was very caring, actuation concerned, for street dogs and cats. As our colleague Alicia mentioned this week, she realized she started liking cats after she met Marina. We receive lots of interns in our office and Marina often had a special dedication of her time, off office hours, to help them feel more “at home”. She paid special attention to the gardeners, drivers and guards around our office and had a singular relationship with them. This shows her unique human qualities with this special attitude.

On behalf of all of those in the Earth Charter Initiative, ECI Council members, Affiliates, colleagues and friends, we want to express our deep gratitude to Marina for everything she has done for us as human beings and for her unique contribution to the goals of the Initiative. Especially we want to thank her for reminding us that the essence of the human being lies in a deep connection with other human beings and the large living world.

The Earth Charter Team and Council members

We share some images of our gathering here today

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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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EC + 10 in Russia to be celebrated with several events

The Earth Charter Affiliate in Russia, the Center for Russian Environmental Policy and Culture, is planning to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Earth Charter launch with several large-scale activities which will start on March 23, 2010, in Moscow with the first Social Forum on Energy Efficiency. The Forum will have a special break out session focusing on the role of the Earth Charter sustainability values in reshaping national and energy production along the lines of corporate, social and environmental responsibility. The second meeting of the Forum will take place in six months, on September 23.

These events will be followed by the All-Russian conference “Sustainable Development and Civil Society” to be held on May 5-7 also in Moscow.

One of the working group of the Conference, “Education for Sustainable Development: 10th anniversary of the launch of the Earth Charter” will have a special focus on the problems of the integration of the principles of education for sustainable development based on the principles of the Earth Charter into the Russian educational system at all levels, starting with the Department of the Curriculum Development of the Ministry of Education, universities, secondary schools, institutions and NGOS dealing with professional, life-long, non-formal and informal education. More than 30 people from many regions of the Russian Federation are expected to participate.

The Republic of Tatarstan (The Russian Federation) plans to commemorate the first decade of the Earth Charter international Initiative by building a memorable monument in Kazan, the capital of the RT.

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Interns from a Finnish University

Earth Charter International is grateful to have three full-time interns, Samira, Veronika and Volodymyr. Samira and Volodymyr are from the Finnish University of Jyväskylä and conducting for 6 months long internships whereas Veronika is going to spend a year in Costa Rica. All interns are doing highly valuable work, such as translations, collecting Earth Charter stories for EC +10 reports and Annual Reports.

Samira Aghabayova
Samira is from Azerbaijan. She has been living in Finland for the past two years, before this she spent one year doing European Voluntary Service. Currently she is a student in the Master’s Programme in Development and International Cooperation at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, majoring in education. As part of her Master’s programme she is doing an internship at the Earth Charter Center for Sustainable Development. Her background and interest in education for sustainable development, combined with her language skills and desire to become part of the Earth Charter network, inspired her to join this community. She is certain that the opportunity of working at the Earth Charter will give her essential practical experience.

Volodymyr Motyrov
Volodymyr of Ukraine is a Master’s degree student in Intercultural Communication at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. For a long time he has been interested in learning about different cultures and the variety of ways in which peoples of the Earth interact with each other. He has a keen interest in child rights, education for sustainable development, special needs education, and sustainable development. He did an internship in UNICEF at the Department of Child Rights Education in 2008. Later, he went to a summer school in Sustainable Development: “Youth Encounter on Sustainability” and during his last academic semester did a study exchange at the University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he followed courses in special needs education.

Veronika Georgieva
Veronika holds a Master’s degree in Marketing from Mari State Technical University in Russia, and she has lived and worked in Russia, Europe and now in Central America. Veronika is currently doing a one-year internship in the Earth Charter International Secretariat. Since her internship started, Veronika became passionate about Sustainable Development and environmental issues. Also Veronika came to ECI Secretariat from Finland where she was working for a year before moving to Costa Rica.

The work of interns is very important for the small secretariat and we are happy to continue receiving master’s students from the University of Jyväskylä. Two new inters will start in March when Samira and Volodymyr will finish their duties with the ECI secretariat.

Thank you, kiitos, Samira, Veronika and Volodymyr!

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New Earth Charter course in Kazan University, Tatarstan

The new academic year of 2009-2010 started on 1 September, with a class on the principles of Earth Charter for the sophomores, juniors, and seniors of Kazan State University of Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences.

A year earlier, in the fall of 2008, the University signed the Affiliate Agreement with the ECI Secretariat and established the Center for Education for Sustainable Development on its premises. At that time they, were introduced to Earth Charter educational materials.

This year, students from the Department of Geography, the future geologists and environmentalists, participated in the training workshop on the Earth Charter. This training workshop was held in an interactive way: the participants formed smaller working groups that had to choose one or several favorite principles of the Charter; reflect on their connectedness and interdependence with other parts of the document and then dialogue about their point of view during their group presentations.

This event was organized and held at the University by Dr. Elena Minakova, a young Assistant Professor, and an active member of the Earth Charter Youth Group in Tatarstan. Elena’s next project is the Earth Charter children’s book for pre-school and primary students. The book will contain various principles of the Earth Charter presented in an entertaining and emotional way and expressed by means of story-telling and poetry written by Elena (she has the experience of introducing Earth Charter to her own young daughter who is a primary school student ). All colourful illustrations are being made by the University graduate and a member of the ECYG.

The Earth Charter Affiliate in Russia, Center for Environmental Policy and Culture, under the leadership of Vladimir M. Zakharov, together with the Russian Public Chamber are sponsoring this project. The first publication will have 700 copies to be distributed in kindergartens and primary schools across Tatarstan.

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Earth Charter Youth Art Contest in Russia

The Russian Earth Charter Affiliate, Center for Environmental Policy and Culture, together with the Environmental Commission of the Russian Public Chamber, held a two-month art contest entitled “Earth Charter through the eyes of children and youth”.

The organisers pursued a number of goals including: raising awareness of the Earth Charter among school pupils and university students, promoting commitment to the Charter’s principles and values, and stimulating creative thinking on global problems.

The contest was held among three age groups in three nominations:

* the best children illustration for the Earth Charter booklet (6-10yrs)

* the best creative demonstration of an Earth Charter principle (11-15yrs)

* the best artistic technique in the reflection on the Earth Charter ethics (16-25)

The winners were elected for their ability to demonstrate the logical connection between their drawing and an EC principle, as well as their creativity and the art of execution.

The ceremony of the exhibition opening of the selected works of the contestants was held at the grand hall of the Russian Public Chamber in the presence of the more than 300 participants of the National Conference “Ecology and Culture is the Future of Russia” which took place in June. The winners of the contest were awarded the prizes, the best works constituted a full-color album that will be soon published by the Earth Charter Affiliate and distributed in secondary schools and youth groups in various regions of Russia.

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Earth Charter is part of the future Russian National Ethical Code for Sustainable Development

It was organized by the Russian Center for Environmental Policy and Culture and hosted by the Russian Public Chamber. Among the participants were renowned environmental experts, representatives from educational institutions at all levels, from universities to the local Departments of Education, members of the Russian Public Chamber and its regional branches, Russian mass media and other institutions. In addition, representatives of the various environmental and cultural youth movements constituted a considerable portion of the participants and made a noticeable input into the outcome of the three-day event.

The attention of the audience during the first day of the conference was focused on the four main themes:

1)  Environment, Economy, Crisis: The need to move along the path of sustainable development;
2)  Energy, Climate, Environmental Services;
3)  Local Municipalities as Vital Instruments for Sustainable Development and
4)  Building-up environmental culture for sustainable lifestyles.

Marina Bakhnova Cary, from the EC International Secretariat in Costa Rica, addressed the audience by recognizing their continuous activities in integrating the values and the ethics of the Earth Charter into national, regional and local developmental programs. She also encouraged them to strengthen the presence of the Earth Charter in the realms of education, business, governmental programs, youth movements and the national mass media. It was very satisfactory to see that due to continuous participation of Earth Charter representatives in such national events for the last three years, most of the participants exhibited a visible change in their attitude to the Earth Charter vision and made it an integral part of their work and life.

A very important event took place on the second day of the conference; it was entirely dedicated to the Youth National Forum, “Youth for Sustainable Development Environment and Culture,” and was held in the presence of all the participants of the conference. At the forum’s plenary session the young leaders of the National Environmental Movement for Sustainable Development brought to attention of their peers and older colleagues their success stories and also told about the roadblocks that slow down the momentum in their regions, cities and local communities.

The second part of the forum was set up in the following working sessions:

  • School Environmental Movement: The Association of Environmental Teachers.
  • Environment, Economy, Innovations, Financial Crisis: Youth Initiatives for Sustainable Development
  • Friends of Pristine Islands: The Youth Movement for Protected Territories
  • The Earth Charter, Russian Youth Movement and the National Ethical Code for Sustainable Development

Marina Bakhnova Cary chaired the working session on the Earth Charter. She invited Muazama Burkhanova, the Earth Charter Affiliate in Tajikistan, and Ljudmila Tulina from Uzbekistan to share their experience in the integrating the Earth Charter values into youth movements in their countries with young leaders of the Russian environmental movement. In the course of dialogue between the representatives of regional and local youth movements, it was decided to integrate the Earth Carter values into the drafting process of the National Ethical Code for Sustainable Development. They emphasized the need to involve youth organizations, formal and non-formal youth groups and movements into the promotion of the Earth Charter in every Russian city, region and local community.

The plenary session of the Forum approved the Youth Declaration and addressed the Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with an appeal to acknowledge the fact that the values of sustainable development are a world–wide vision and an indicator of the cultural growth and maturity of the nation. The young environmental leaders called for joining the efforts of all sectors of the Russian society and the launch of a nation-wide movement “Environment and Culture is the Future of Russia.” 

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Tatarstan Surges Forward to Implement the Principles of the Charter

A remarkable meeting took place recently in Kazan, Tatarstan, where the President, Prime Minister, and many top officials and ministers reaffirmed their commitment to the Earth Charter. (Tatarstan is a semi-autonomous, multi-ethnic Republic within the Russian Federation. Its Parliament formally endorsed the Charter in 2001. For more background, see the end of this article, as well as Rustem Khairov’s chapter in The Earth Charter in Action, which you can download in PDF format English, Spanish, or Dutch.)


Tatarstan, with its nearly even mixture of Muslim and Christian peoples, has long been a prominent example of how the Earth Charter can be used to promote common understanding and peace. And in the “Annual Message of the Tatarstan Republic,” delivered by President M.S. Shaimiyev to the TR State Council this year, the Earth Charter was publicly highlighted as a guideline document of increasingly practical significance and policy relevance.


This Message states: “Recently the work of all [public authorities] has intensified on implementing the Earth Charter, which we endorsed in 2001. We should bear in mind that this is not just an ecological program. It integrates economy, politics, ecology, and education. It works for the sake of ethno-confessional tolerance and to the advance the living standards of our population.”


The Prime Minister of the Republic also spoke about the Earth Charter to say that he has entrusted all the ministries and departments “to hold activities to promote the Earth Charter principles” and to submit relevant information in their regular reports. These public announcements follow on a series of internal policy directives in nearly every area of Tatarstan’s internal policies, from education to investment.


These are impressive steps toward implementing the principles of the Charter. The presentations took place at a three-day Ecological Forum and a Scientific-Practical Conference on the Charter. Among the many top officials and ministers who spoke at the meeting, M.G. Galeev, Chairman of the Committee on Economics, Investments and Entrepreneurship under the State Council of Tatarstan Republic, said Tatarstan’s Earth Charter events “are not temporary in character – this is a work for ever.”


Tatarstan’s Ministry of Education was given a special assignment to prepare and publish three text books on the Earth Charter, for junior, medium and senior school children. The books will be adapted to both natural and social sciences based on the international experience. A text book on history of religion has also been compiled for the schools of the Republic-for the first time in modern Russia. And a special course for teachers on the Earth Charter is envisioned.


Meanwhile, the book Earth Charter in Tatarstan — a beautiful coffee-table book in Russian with English summaries — is being republished. It was presented to Earth Charter delegates in Amsterdam at the “Earth Charter +5” conference in November 2005; the new version will have a new cover and will come with a CD.


Moreover, to fulfill the President’s instruction, the Tatarstan Republic Academy of Sciences has worked out an innovative historical-architectural program based on the Charter. The program includes projects of different commemoratives and monuments to be erected in parks, reserves, and even along big highways to publicize the Charter.


On the instruction of Mrs. I. Larochkina, the Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of the Republic, different competitions and contests are being held among reserves and biological reservations, along with special events at schools, and Earth Charter alleys of trees are being planted in a number of cities. Relevant websites feature some of these events, along with information about the implementation of the principles of the Charter in Tatarstan. If you speak Russian, please visit:  and .


The scope of the work underway for the Earth Charter in Tatarstan is extraordinary, extensive, and is taking place at all levels of government. Circulations of magazines, booklets, calendars and posts devoted to the Charter are also large and growing. In many cities, conferences are being organized around the Charter, including those of party conferences, as well as concerts and youth festivals. Tatarstan has become a world leader for putting the principles of the Earth Charter to work in practical ways.


Preliminary plans are now underway for an International Round Table in Kazan for the year 2008 to study Tatarstan’s experience in promoting the Charter’s principles, in response to President M. Shaimiyev’s proposal to promote the Earth Charter internationally


Tatarstan is located in the center of the Russian Federation on the East European plain, on the conjunction of two largest rivers of Europe-the Volga and Kama. The territory of the republic is about 67,836 km, and the capital of the republic is the city of Kazan. More than 70 nationalities live there, the most numerous of which are Tatars and Russians. The state languages are Tatar and Russian, and the population of the republic is about 3,773,800 people.


Kazan, sometimes spelled Kasan, was founded in 1401. The city became the capital of a powerful Tartar khanate in 1455, which emerged from the empire of the Golden Horde, but was conquered by Czar Ivan IV in 1552. Tolstoy and Lenin studied at the University of Kazan, founded in 1804. The city also has a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an ancient cathedral, several monasteries, mosques, and the Russian Islamic University Medrese, founded in 1998.

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