United Nations and Global Governance Archives - Earth Charter

Tribute to Maurice F. Strong (1929 – 2015)

 “We are victims of ‘the struggle between ecosystems and egosystems’.
It is the egos of people, governments, businesses that prevent solutions and generate a terrible lack of political will.

 

Maurice F. Strong speech at the Earth Charter+5
November 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

 

Earth Charter International mourns the passing of Maurice F. Strong, co-chair of the Earth Charter Commission. All of us involved in the sustainability movement share special feelings of gratitude and admiration for the unique role he played and brilliant leadership he provided over many years in the global process of social transformation.

As the Secretary General of the 1992 Earth Summit, founder of UNEP, The Earth Council, The Earth Charter Initiative and many other great movements, he was able to significantly influence historical changes, proven by the numerous conventions and international policies that emerged on the environment and sustainability over the past 30 years. At the turn of the century, Koffi Annan invited him to take on the task of revitalizing the University for Peace, to which he dedicated all his efforts as the Rector and the chair of the Council for several years.

As a member of the Brundtland Commission and Secretary General of the Earth Summit in 1992, Mr. Strong took on the commitment to carry the idea of an Earth Charter forward (which was a recommendation made in the Brundtand Commission Report and according to him an unfinished piece of business of the Rio Earth Summit). Therefore, in 1994, together with Mikhail Gorbachev he launched the Earth Charter Initiative and became the co-Chair of the International Commission.

We would like to stress his unique ability to communicate with people from all walks of life and his tireless commitment and vision towards elevating the voices of non-state actors in the international policy arena. The fact that Agenda 21 has a whole section on The Role of Major Groups, which has subsequently opened up many possibilities, is in great part due to his capacity to envision a new multi-stakeholder process of decision making.

In light of the opening of COP21, it seems appropriate to take a moment to reflect on some of the messages he used to convey:

“We know what we should do; science and technology can help us to do it. We know the solutions and we know what to do in the future. But we are not doing it. We are not able to make the transition to a sustainable way of life. Moral, ethical and spiritual responsibility hangs on today’s generation and emerging generations. We must reach into the hearts and souls of all people, and work with them for what we all want: a healthy whole community, happy children, and a secure life on Earth.”

 

Maurice F. Strong, Earth Charter+5 Event,
November 2005, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Following in his footsteps, we would like to move ahead with determination and a deep sense of intergenerational commitment to carry forward the great work that he started and that we still have ahead of us, which is to continue to influence the process of changing the development model through the awakening of a new global consciousness.

We want to express our condolences and sentiments to his family, friends, and past colleagues and above all remember and celebrate his life with gratitude.

Earth Charter International Secretariat and Council

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“I want to thank Mr. Strong for everything he has done. A leader is someone who has a vision to make things better and dedicates all possible efforts to make it happen gathering the cooperation of many. A leader is able to communicate that vision well, inspire and engage many, and influence processes of change. Mr. Strong did that in an outstanding way. I feel deep admiration, respect, and gratitude to him for his consistency over the years, for his vision, and life dedication to address the world´s environmental challenges and make sustainability a reality.”

Mirian Vilela, Executive Director, Earth Charter International

“We have read with sadness and empathy of the passing of Maurice. We are all indebted to his leadership on environmental issues these many years.
May his work live on! We send our prayers and deepest sympathy to his family.”

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau’s statement.

Al Gore’s statement.

UNEP statement.

The Guardian article, Maurice Strong: A Sustainable Life by Felix Dodds

The New York Times article AP, UN: Maurice Strong, Climate and Development Pioneer, Dies

A tribute from Ronald Leger.

Please, feel free to leave a tribute message of your own in the comment section below.

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Earth Charter International partners for climate change theater production

The Little Theatre Group of San Jose, Costa Rica, with the support of Earth Charter International, recently participated in an international Climate Change Theatre Action with more than 100 other groups around the world to raise awareness through the art of theatre on the issue of climate change before the Conference of Parties in Paris (COP21) at the end of November 2015. ECI was inspired to join the effort by the Earth Charter principle 14 b., which states, “Promote the contribution of the arts and humanities as well as the sciences in sustainability education.”

The Climate Change Theatre Action was a joint initiative among three organizations, NoPassport, The Arctic Cycle, and Theatre without Borders. Together, they organized this global Climate Change Theatre Action and more than 100 groups in more than 20 countries are participating, joining the Little Theatre Group and Earth Charter International.

The production by the Little Theatre Group was titled “Nature Acts”, adapted from a quotation by Voltaire, “Men argue, nature acts”. The performance consisted of both thought provoking and humorous monologues and short plays performed by actors of the Little Theatre Group and by actors from the University for Peace community. The production sold out all three of its shows and more than 100 members of the audience learned about the Earth Charter and took home messages about the importance of climate change action and sustainability.

Find out more here.

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ECI hosts fifth EC+15 webinar of 2015

On November 5th, 2015, Earth Charter International held its fifth webinar in a series of online events to celebrate the Earth Charter’s 15th anniversary. ECI held the event in the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development in Costa Rica on the University for Peace campus. The event was attended by more than 50 people from the UPEACE community with another dozen joining in online.

The special guest speaker was Mr. Jan Pronk, former Dutch Development Cooperation Minister and Former Minster for Environment, a hands-on leader in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations. Mr. Pronk was also the Chairman of the 6th Conference of Parties UN Convention on Climate Change (2000-2001) and Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary General for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2001-2003). He is now a Special Advisor to the Earth Charter International.

Mr. Pronk took about 30 minutes to talk about his experience and observations of climate policy over the last 20-plus years. He described the history of climate negotiations, stressing the importance of achievements in policies developed in the 1990s, especially the articulation of five major terms or principles: 1) The Precautionary Principle; 2) Common but Differentiated Responsibilities; 3) Responsibilities beyond national borders; 4) Sustainability; and, 5) Fair and equitable solutions. He also emphasized the importance that the Kyoto Protocol negotiations managed to agree on a binding treaty and the fact that we cannot rely on voluntary agreements only. He continued to describe the deficits in the current process and measures to be taken at the COP21 in Paris starting at the end of November. Mr. Pronk highlighted the drawbacks to the voluntary carbon reduction strategy, the necessity of questioning the right to comfort lifestyles by the wealthy countries, and he lamented what he observes to be an inadequate response to the climate challenge by states in the current negotiations.

The observations and explanations by Mr. Pronk were followed by more than 45 minutes of questions and answers by both the audience in the room and the online participants. The back and forth was lively and informative. Mostly, Mr. Pronk offers a pessimistic opinion of the prospects for a good climate deal and, although he doesn’t spell out consequences, he cited Darfur and Syria as being examples of climate change exacerbated tragedies. While he also didn’t explicitly state it, his talk implies his thinking that more of these occurrences will take place in the future. Speaking about the Earth Charter +15 slogan, “One Earth Community, One Common Destiny”, Mr. Pronk shared the feeling that on one hand this notion is a dream and on the other it is a fact. He expressed concern about who is to decide global society’s common destiny, and that present-day consequences might not affect the whole world community in the same way. He also placed an emphasis on the predominance of globalization as a market phenomenon, and lamented that the market paradigm frames the global mindset, making the “Earth Community” more of an Earth marketplace than a community. He also stated that while the idea of the Earth Community is a vision, it is also a reality, only one that has not embraced the values of the Earth Charter.
 
You can see and hear the recording of the session here.

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Two more webinars in November, one on climate change, the other on global citizenship



Earth Charter +15 Webinar

From Rio ‘92 to COP21 Paris: Challenges and Opportunities
for Climate Change Politics and Policies

On November 5th, 2015 ECI will host the fifth in a series of webinars in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Earth Charter. This time we will be joined by former Dutch Development Cooperation Minister and Former Minster for Environment Jan Pronk, a hands-on leader in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.

More information here.

Earth Charter +15 Webinar

The Way Forward: Earth Community and Global Citizenship

On November 17th, 2015, ECI will host its sixth webinar in a series that began in February to celebrate the Earth Charter’s 15th anniversary, to look back, observe the current issues of relevance to the Earth Charter, and to look ahead to the future of sustainability work and ethics. We will be joined on November 17th by Nigel Dower, a senior academic specializing in the ethics and philosophy of development, environment, and international relations, and by Prue Taylor, an expert in environmental law and ethics.

More information here.

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Third EC+15 webinar on Social and Economic Justice and the SDGs

On September 22nd, ECI hosted its third webinar in celebration of the Earth Charter’s 15th anniversary. The webinar was titled, “The SDGs and Social and Economic Justice”. This webinar focused on the third pillar of the Earth Charter on social and economic justice and guest speaker Ashok Khosla related some of the third pillars’ principles to the Sustainable Development Goals that were launched days after the webinar.

Mr. Khosla is a long-time sustainability professional, having been involved for the past three decades, since well before the 1992 Earth Summit where he was the co-Chair of the NGO Forum. He has also been a President of IUCN and the Club of Rome, serves as the Chair of the Board of Development Alternatives, and has served and still serves many important sustainability organizations around the world.

During his talk, Mr. Khosla, who was speaking from Delhi, focused on economic disparity and the ecological hazards of consumption that compound that inequality.  He also fielded questions for more than 40 minutes from participants and offered his expert opinion on a range of related issues. The webinar was informative, interactive, and engaging from start to finish. Participants joined from Costa Rica, Guatemala, the United States, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, Brussels, Austria, and Japan.

You can watch a recording of the webinar at this link:

http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/3084464-social-and-economic-justice-the-earth-charter-and-the-sustainable-dev

And you can download the slides that Mr. Khosla has generously agreed to share below.

SDGs and Earth Charter Ashok Khosla presentation to share

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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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Earth Charter invitation to webinar on Earth Community and Global Citizenship

EC+15 Webinar
The Way Forward: Earth Community and Global Citizenship

On November 17th, 2015, ECI will host its sixth and last webinar in a series that began in February to celebrate the Earth Charter’s 15th anniversary, to look back, observe the current issues of relevance to the Earth Charter, and to look ahead to the future of sustainability work and ethics. We will be joined on November 17th by Nigel Dower, a senior academic specializing in the ethics and philosophy of development, environment, and international relations, and by Prue Taylor, an expert in environmental law and ethics.

This webinar will air at the end of a very important year for sustainable development and international relations. 2015 has already seen the agreement to the Sustainable Development Goals, strong ethical statements including the Pope’s Encyclical, and is about to witness the much-discussed climate conference in Paris to begin at the end of November. What does all this mean for the future of the Earth Community and the human place in it? The two speakers will explore these issues and look to the future possibilities from the Earth Charter and sustainability perspectives in light of this year’s important sustainability processes.

Following both of the speakers’ interventions, there will be a question and answer period.

The webinar will take place on November 17th, 2015 at 18:00 UTC, 12:00 Costa Rica time, 07:00 Auckland time November 18th.

Join the webinar through the following link.

http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/3225840-ec-15-webinar-the-way-forward-earth-community-and-global-citizenship

If you want to participate, make sure your computer meets system requirements:

http://www.wiziq.com/info/technical-requirement.aspx

Guest speaker: Nigel Dower is Honorary Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, University of Aberdeen and Academic Consultant. In June 2004, he took early retirement in order to pursue his interests in ‘exploring ethics in a globalized world’ through teaching, lectures, writing, and consultancy. His main research interests are in the field of the ethics/philosophy of development, environment and international relations. He taught for many years two special subjects relating to his research, one on the ethics of international relations, covering normative theories, war and peace, theories of justice/human rights and global citizenship, and the other on the ethics of development, environment and technology. He has also taught various other courses on the ethics of sustainable development.

Guest speaker: Prue Taylor received her legal qualifications from Victoria University, New Zealand and Tulane University, USA. She currently teaches environmental and planning law at the School of Architecture and Planning. She is the Deputy Director of the New Zealand Centre for Environmental Law and an elected member of the IUCN Commission of Environmental Law and its Ethics Specialist Group. Prue’s specialist interests are in the areas of climate change, human rights, environmental governance, ocean law and policy, property rights and environmental ethics. She has authored numerous books and articles in these areas. Her current research projects involve the following topics: local government and climate change; climate change ethics; common heritage of mankind and legal strategies for the commons.

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Earth Charter Plus 15 Webinar: COP21 Paris and Climate Change Policy

Earth Charter +15 Webinar
Thursday, 5th November

From Rio ‘92 to COP21 Paris: Challenges and Opportunities
for Climate Change Politics and Policies

This webinar will be the fifth in a series of webinars in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Earth Charter. We will be joined by former Dutch Development Cooperation Minister and Former Minster for Environment Jan Pronk, a hands-on leader in the Kyoto Protocol negotiations.

In the lead-up to the 21st Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, guest speaker Mr. Pronk will offer his perspectives on the state of climate change policy and insights on the conference in Paris at the end of November. He will also discuss past successes and stumbling blocks, the potential of the COP21, and the future of climate policy. Climate change is one of the most important global issues and efforts to address climate change illustrate the intention of the Earth Charter +15 slogan, “One Earth Community, One Common Destiny”.

This webinar will be broadcast from Earth Charter International’s learning center in Costa Rica and will welcome live guests from the community of the University for Peace.

Following Mr. Pronk’s presentation, there will be a question and answer period.

The webinar will take place on November 5th, 2015 at 18:15 UTC, 12:15 Costa Rica time, 1:15PM New York time, and 7:15PM Amsterdam time.

Join the webinar through the following link.

http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/3216704-earth-charter-presents-jan-pronk-talking-about-climate-change

If you want to participate, make sure your computer meets system requirements:

http://www.wiziq.com/info/technical-requirement.aspx

Guest speaker: Jan Pronk is former Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and Environment (1998-2002) and former Minister for Development Co-operation (1989-1994) of The Netherlands. Pronk was also the Chairman 6th Conference of Parties UN Convention on Climate Change (2000-2001) and Special Envoy Secretary General United Nations for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (2001-2003). He is now a Special Advisor to the Earth Charter International.

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Third Earth Charter +15 webinar on Social and Economic Justice

This webinar will be the third in a series of webinars in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Earth Charter. We will be joined by Ashok Khosla, Chair of the Board of Development Alternatives, Co-chair of the NGO Forum at the 1992 Earth Summit, former President of the World Conservation Union, and co-president of the Club of Rome.

At the end of September 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals will be agreed to by heads of state at the UN in New York. These goals will set the global development agenda for the next 15 years. It is remarkable and a great success that since the launch of the Earth Charter, Sustainable Development has gone from being an alternative movement to the dominant development paradigm on planet Earth. The Earth Charter has played its role in this ascendance, but it is certain that the strength of the SDGs will not be as strong as the Earth Charter standards for sustainable development.

This webinar will analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed SDGs from an Earth Charter perspective. Guest speakers with strong knowledge of the Earth Charter and the SDG process will offer their respective thoughts on the SDGs through the Earth Charter lens, provide criticism, show strengths, and make recommendations for improving the proposed SDGs. More specifically, the speakers will look at the SDGs through the third pillar of the Earth Charter on Social and Economic Justice. Poverty eradication is the first SDG, highlighting the predominance of social and economic thinking in the SDGs. The speakers will look through this lens of the Earth Charter at the strengths and weaknesses of the SDG platform.

Following the speakers’ interventions, there will be a question and answer, as well as a back and forth discussion between the participants.

The webinar will take place on September 22nd, 2015 at 14:00 UTC, 10AM New York time, 4PM in Paris, and 7:30PM in Delhi.

Join the webinar through the following link.

http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/3084464-social-and-economic-justice-the-earth-charter-and-the-sustainable-dev

If you want to participate, make sure your computer meets system requirements:

http://www.wiziq.com/info/technical-requirement.aspx

Guest Speaker: Dr. Ashok Khosla founded and was president of the thirty-year-old Development Alternatives Group and now chairs its Board. Headquartered in New Delhi, the DA Group was among the first civil society organizations set up to address the issues of sustainable development as a whole. It also pioneered the concept of social enterprise, creating business-like approaches for eradicating poverty and conserving the natural resource base.

Currently, Dr. Khosla was president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), co-president of the Club of Rome, and co-chair of the Resource Panel, which has been set up by UNEP to investigate the status and trends of natural resource use in the global economy. He has served as Special Advisor to the Brundtland Commission (WCED), Co-chair of the ‘92 NGO Forum at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, and has served on the Boards of several environment and conservation organizations, including Chair of the Centre for Our Common Future, the Club of Rome, and Energy Globe.

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ECI and CEE call for contributions – Earth Reports

Where do we stand when it comes to achieving gender equality in today’s world?

Call for contributions: You are invited to participate in developing the Earth Reports 2015

Earth Charter International invites individuals, civil society, governments, media, transnational institutions and corporates to share case-studies, viewpoints, reports, research and interviews related to the ethics, values and cultural influences that impact gender relations. 

Click here for more information.

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Read the Earth Charter

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