Asia and the Pacific Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Earth Charter

New Zealand

new zealandThe New Zealand Center for Environmental Law (NZCEL), of the University of Auckland, took on the role of coordinating the New Zealand National Earth Charter Campaign in mid-1999. In addition, Pauline Tangiora, a member of the Earth Charter Commission supported and promoted the Earth Charter since its drafting process.

In February 2000, the Tindall Foundation provided a grant to the NZCEL to help set up the National Earth Charter Campaign. Two months later, a coordinating group was formed to establish a National Earth Charter Committee. Since then, they have undertaken many activities, including setting up a local Earth Charter website.

Two faculty members of NZCEL, Klaus Bosselman and Prue Taylor have been using the Earth Charter for many years and promoting it through the National Committee. They have written various books and articles about the Earth Charter. They have also been using the Earth Charter in their undergraduate and graduate level classes in the Law School, and the School of Architecture and Planning.

In 2002, SGI-New Zealand hosted a series of Earth Charter meetings, where the principles of the Earth Charter were discussed.

The Congregation of Aotearoa New Zealand Dominican Sisters started an education center for the communities of Korimako. Since 2001, this Center has generated a process of education for sustainable development using the Earth Charter.

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nepalAn Earth Charter dialogue process in Nepal was initiated in 1999 under the auspices of the Center for Community Development and Environmental Research. The process culminated on December 29, with the organization of the National Consultation Workshop on the Earth Charter. In 2000, the Nepal Earth Society was created with the purpose of supporting the Earth Charter Initiative in Nepal. This group produced an Earth Charter brochure in both the Nepali and Newari languages. The Nepali version was disseminated among the Upper and Lower House Members of the Parliament.

Education programs for school children using the Charter as a tool have been planned in various parts of the Nepal Kingdom, with over 1,600 students already having benefited from these programs.

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The Water, Research and Training Centre (WRTC) of Myanmar, an Earth Charter endorser, have disseminated the Earth Charter and have used it in their training courses since 2003. Prof. Dr. Ir. Khin Ni Ni Thein, Founder and President of WRTC, met Mrs. Erna Witolear EC Council member from Indonesia in 2009, and this gave an important push to WRTC’s interest to keep supporting the Earth Charter.

Myanmar Youths In Action joined the Earth Charter youth network to promote the Earth Charter in Myanmar.

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Recently there have been more efforts to promote the Earth Charter in Mongolia. The first task was to have the Earth Charter text and a website available in Mongolian. Several people participated in the translation and offering the technical services to upload the website. 

ECI Secretariat is very grateful with all the people that participated in this, special thanks to Erdenechimeg Altankhuyag for the translation services, also the staff of ITEM Co. Ltd, especially to Darkhanbaatar Damdin and Sukhbaatar Enkhjargal; and to Sukhbaatar Gansukh, from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

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malaysiaIn 1999 there were a series of meetings, some organized by the Earth Council and others by Soka Gakkai, to discuss the Earth Charter with key stakeholders of Malaysia. An important contributor to the Earth Charter drafting process was Ambassador Razali, the former UN General Assembly President and a special advisor to the Prime Minister.

In 2000, Soka Gakkai Malaysia organized a forum called “Earth Charter: Its contribution to Mankind in the 21st Century”, with approximately 1,200 participants. During that time, the Local Agenda 21 Committee organized several training workshops on the principles of the Earth Charter.

In 2001, the Earth Charter Malaysia Committee was formed. It has organized seminars to promote the Earth Charter principles, and also training workshops for local community leaders. The group translated the Earth Charter into local languages and distributed it to schools and College Libraries.

Under the leadership of the Sabah Environmental Protection Association (SEPA), several civil society organizations from Malaysia
organized what they called Himpunan Hijau 109 or GREEN GATHERING in Kuantan on 9 October 2011. This was a massive event for peace and the environment, where over 5,000 people attended to endorse the Earth Charter and commit to make use of it in their areas of activities.

Also in 2011, “Seeds of Hope: Visions of Sustainability, Steps toward Change” exhibition featured the Earth Charter as part of its message. This exhibition was held from 9 April till 1 May, 2011 at Wisma Kebudayaan Soka Gakkai Malaysia (SGM) in Kuala Lumpur, as one of the main activities for SGM’s Month of Sustainable Development in April 2011. More than 3,400 visitors, including many school children, toured the exhibition which was opened to public for 23 days.

In 2008, Earth Charter Malaysia organized a series of lectures with more than 1,000 local community leaders. They produced and distributed EC materials (especially brochures), organized a drawing competition on the EC Logo for school children, and have sent press statements to local newspapers to call on the people to endorse the Charter. On August 29th, 2008 a Grand Cultural Festival Night was organized to celebrate the nation’s 51st Independence Day, the Earth Charter was part of the event.

In addition, Earth Charter Malaysia began an email campaign in 2008 to call on Municipal Councilors and politicians in the country to endorse and use the Earth Charter as a reference and ethical framework for decision making and policy development.

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JapanIn June 1999, upon request of Mr. Gorbachev, Green Cross Japan(GCJ) organized an Earth Charter meeting to discuss the Charter with major stakeholders on sustainable development in Japan. The output of the meeting was sent to the Earth Charter international secretariat as a contribution to the EC Drafting Process.

In 2000, the Earth Charter Japan secretariat was organized by Mrs. Wakako Hironaka, member of the House of Councilors, the Diet of Japan, and member of the ECI Council. The text of the Earth Charter was translated into Japanese and was printed for distribution among Japanese citizens.

On Nov 28th 2001, a group called the Earth Charter Commission Japan was organized around a major event: The Global Environment Action (GEA) Conference. Important guests for this meeting were Mr. Tsutomu Hata, former Prime Minister of Japan; Prof. Hans van Ginkel, former Rector of the United Nation’s University; and Prof. Hiroyuki Yoshikawa, former Science Council Chairman of Japan. Mr. Maurice Strong gave a Keynote Address at the conference. Nearly one hundred people participated in this inauguration meeting from NGOs, business, journalists, academia and politics.

The Earth Charter Japan was later called the Earth Charter Asia Pacific & Japan Committee. It has produced educational materials in Japanese and English, and a webpage to promote the Earth Charter.

This Committee has also been encouraging the Government of Japan to increase its overseas development assistance to developing countries, as a way to put the Earth Charter principles in action. The Embassy of Japan in Costa Rica has contributed financially to the Earth Charter International Secretariat, specifically for developing educational materials for schools in Costa Rica.

The Earth Charter Committee of Japan produced an Earth Charter Manga booklet, with illustrations from the famous manga artist Mr. Norio Yamanoi, the holder of the Manga copyright. This manga booklet is available in Japanese and English. It presents the major global sustainability issues, which are mentioned in the Earth Charter Preamble, in a way that is easy to understand by the general public. The Earth Charter Manga was launched in Japan in a parallel event at the UNESCO ESD World Conference in Nagoya in November 2014. Find this publication here.

The Earth Charter Japan – Asia Pacific Committee has been actively organizing activities since 2005.  These include the organization of conference and symposiums, to cultural performances and translation of important documents. Find here a summary of activities organized and planned, from 2005 – 2012.

In 2005, the UN Classic Live produced a musical on the environment called “Our Forest is Alive – Part III: Our Earth Charter”. They have performed all over Japan as well as abroad, including at the UN Headquarters in New York and in Geneva.

In October 2003 the GEA Conference for a Sustainable Future held in Japan was attended by Earth Charter Commissioners HRH Princess Basma, Wakako Hironaka, Steven Rockefeller and other friends of the Earth Charter. Presenters urged Japanese society to embrace the Earth Charter and use it as a reference and educational tool. At the end of the Conference a set of recommendations was adopted, including one on the Earth Charter which reads as follows: “Partners to promote the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development should consider establishment of an ethical framework of sustainable development. The guiding principles in the Earth Charter should be reflected in materials used in all learning efforts to promote sustainable development, including those in the school systems”

A series of seminars about the Earth Charter were held in Osaka, organized by the KEEP group of Soka Gakkai Internationa (SGI) between 2001 and 2002, with speakers including Earth Council Executive Director Mr. Maximo Kalaw and Mr. Eiichi Yamashita, Vice Minister for the Environment. In 2002, SGI in collaboration with the Earth Charter International Secretariat, produced an Earth Charter exhibition entitled “Seeds of Change: The Earth Charter and Human Potential” which was first launched at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, and has been translated into 11 languages. The Earth Charter is one focus of the Soka Gakkai’s “21st Century Environment Exhibition,” launched in 2006. By 2009,
this had been seen by over 500,000 people in 65 locations in Japan.

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In 2000, the Earth Charter text was translated into Chinese to help the effort to raise awareness about the Earth Charter in China. This translation has been revised and improved several times. Inspired by its content, numerous groups and individuals in China have participated in different activities and meetings to promote the Earth Charter.

The Earth Charter has also been broadly used and quoted on various occasions by different groups of people. Several Earth Charter Commissioners and Council Members have taken advantage of their presence in China to exchange views and discuss issues related to the spirit and principles of the Earth Charter with Chinese society. For example, high officials from the Ministry of Environmental Protection recently praised the books of one EC Council Member, in which Chinese traditional spirituality and philosophies were explored to promote environmental protection.

Visit the Chinese Earth Charter Youth Group profiles here.

There are several Earth Charter videos that have been translated into Chinese, find them at our Vimeo Channel:

In Beijing, China, Stephanie B. Tansey, a longtime supporter of the Earth Charter, published the book “Recovery of the Heart, Dialogues with People Working towards a Sustainable Beijing.” This book introduces nine extraordinary Beijingners, both Chinese and American, their struggles, passions, and why Chinese wisdom and values are interconnected with a future, sustainable Beijing. Some of the Beijingners in this book have used the Earth Charter in their work. For example, Mac Fan was one of the founders of the New School of Collaborative Learning, in China. This school used the Earth Charter as a tool for intercultural dialogue. Mac Fan explains his experience with the Earth Charter in detail.

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bangladeshIn 1999, the IUCN and the Earth Council organized a “National Forum on Multi-Stakeholder Sustainability Planning in Bangladesh”. 40 participants representing different sectors of the society attended the Forum. A discussion about the Earth Charter was part of the agenda.

In 2000, the Centre for Sustainable Development produced and disseminated a booklet on the Earth Charter in the national language, Bengali. Currently, the Centre for Sustainable Development continues to be Affiliated with and supportive of the Earth Charter.

There was one Earth Charter Youth Group in Bangladesh, called ECYG Climate Natural. They joined the Earth Charter Youth network in February 2008. ECYG Climate Natural’s mission was to create youth network in Asia to promote climate strategy and sustainable development.

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australiaBetween 1998 and the year 2001, an Australian National Earth Charter Steering committee was very active and successful in encouraging broad-based participation and involvement in the Australian Earth Charter process. This organizing committee was comprised of innovative partnerships between environmental NGOs, social justice organizations, local governments, businesses, and industries. They met regularly during its first couple of years to coordinate efforts that would raise awareness about the Charter and focused mainly on generating educational materials and connecting with different groups across the country.

In February 1999, to encourage public participation, a National Earth Charter Forum was organized in Canberra at the Australian National University’s Center for Resource and Environmental Studies. During that time the Australian EC Committee also developed curricular material on Earth Charter themes for the Australian school system.

A number of other efforts were made, including a major Asia-Pacific EC Conference in Brisbane in December 2001.

The Earth Charter Australia Committee organized the Brisbane Peace Lecture in St. John’s Cathedral on 21 September 2013 during the United Nations International Day of Peace. The guest speaker was the Honorable Michael Kirby, international jurist and retired High Court Judge of Australia. Over 250 people attended the Lecture, which included a programme of choirs and musical performances.The President of EC Australia attended the Global Environment Integrity Group Conference in Costa Rica and visited Earth Charter International offices in Costa Rica. Plans were also undertaken for the EC Australia treasurer to attend one of the Education and Values Executive Programme, organized by EC Center for ESD in 2014. The goal of these visits is to increase capacity and generate projects to better promote the Earth Charter in Australia (mainly Brisbane), focusing on developing education programs for the Earth Charter Initiative.

On June 21st, 2005 the Australian Senate endorsed the Earth Charter with a motion stating, among other things, that the Senate:

  • Recognizes and supports the Earth Charter as an important civil society contribution to our understanding of sustainable development and the ethics and principles needed to promote a more just, sustainable and peaceful world;
  • Encourages the use of the Earth Charter by Federal and state educational authorities during the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

The Brink Expedition project was started in 2002. It consists of two adventurers visiting different schools and communities across Australia, as well as many other countries. They only use clean sources of energy, and they use the Earth Charter as an instrument to inspire people to live sustainably. More information here.

In 2003, the city of Joondalup applied the Earth Charter to its strategic planning process, as well as the city of Melbourne which envisions the city as thriving and sustainable by 2010. Also, the Australian artist Graeme Payne created an exhibition of sixteen paintings inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter.

The Minister for Education, Training and the Arts presented to the Queensland parliament the “Statement on Sustainability for All Queensland Schools – Enough for All forever” (12 March 2008). The statement complements the National Environmental Statement for Australian Schools – Educating for a Sustainable Future and builds on the commitment made at the 2006 Brisbane Earth Dialogues to integrate the Earth Charter and embed sustainability across school curricula and operations.

The Earth Charter Australia group is very active. They organized an EC+10 celebration in September 2010.  Another very active affiliate is the Edmund Rice Centre, whose Pacific Calling Campaign has been using the Earth Charter as a framework for their actions.   Besides the Affiliates, there are many other organizations and schools using the Earth Charter in this country, some examples in Queensland are: Wondai State School, HOPE Toowoomba, Pullenvale Environmental Education Centre, Yoga in Daily Life Australia, Multi-faith Centre – Griffith University and Queensland Academy of Creative Industries, among others.

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indiaThe Earth Charter has been active in India since the late 1990s. The late Earth Charter Commissioner Kamla Chowdhry and Ashok Khosla of Development Alternatives were very supportive of the EC drafting process and helped introduce the EC in India. Both linked the Charter to Gandhian thought, especially with regard to non-violence and peace. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director of the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), is currently contributing to the ECI as a Council member.

In 2000 the Center for the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESDI) organized a number of consultations and initiated discussions on the Earth Charter in different regions of the country.

In India, the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), an Earth Charter Affiliate, organized several activities with the Earth Charter in 2013. One of them was a campaign against polythene use with the theme “SANKALPA- for a polythene free city”. This campaign was coordinated by CEE’s Paryavaran Mitra programme in collaboration with the Regional Science Centre, Kalpadroom Foundation, and others. The event took place on 1 January 2013 and it was inspired by Earth Charter principle 7a: “Reduce, reuse and recycle the materials used in production and consumption systems, and ensure that residual waste can be assimilated by ecological systems.” CEE celebrated Earth Day 2013 with a three-day event in Bajali HS School in the Barpeta district of Assam, India. The theme was Face of climate change, and many activities were carried out with large groups of students. A cycle rally passed through the locality to create mass awareness about the importance of Earth Day. An Earth Charter Think Café was organized during the second day of Earth Day celebrations. It was a day-long interactive session with students from five schools, where the CEE team presented the Earth Charter principles and guided students to take action to sustainably conserve mother Earth. During the session, students realized their role in making the earth a livable place.
In Andhra Pradesh, India, the Montfort Social Institute (MSI), Earth Charter Affiliate since 2008, has been working on the establishment of an education center on human rights and sustainability, to be launched in February 2014. The organization has been undertaking developmental activities aimed at reconstruction of village societies for the advancement of individuals, families and communities; eradication of the high prevalence of child labour; and ensure basic education and health care for all through a rights based approach. Formation of Neighborhood Parliament, Young People’s Initiatives (YPI), and Children’s Parliament helped harness the human potential for collective action and to create a democratic ethos in villages. Sustainable agricultural methods, cooperative farming by women and vocational education were introduced. The Earth Charter is used as an education instrument for empowering women, low paid workers, the youth and other vulnerable groups in the villages MSI work.

The first Earth Charter Youth Group was formed to India in January 2010.

In 2007, CEE (EC Affiliate) and UNESCO, organized the 4th International Conference on Environmental Education in Ahmedabad. The EC Secretariat participated with several activities. The Earth Charter was discussed and included in the final declaration of this Conference.

CEE’s Youth Environment Network (YEN) is closely working with the EC Initiative. Aparna Susarla, member of YEN, is part of the Earth Charter Youth Leadership Team.

Between December 2005 and November 2008, the People’s Commission on Environment and Development India (EC affiliate), in collaboration with its partner-NGOs, organized a series of public awareness campaigns on the principles of ecological integrity in Srinagar, Naukuchiyatal and Kodaikanal.
In India, the Montfort Social Institute (MSI), Earth Charter Affiliate since 2008, opened their Center for Human Rights and Sustainable Development in Andhra Pradesh. MSI has been engaged in integral human development for social transformation in the state of Andhra Pradesh, by undertaking developmental activities aimed at reconstruction of village societies for the advancement of individuals, families and communities; eradication of the high prevalence of child labour; and ensure basic education and health care for all through a rights based approach. Formation of Neighbourhood Parliament, Young People’s Initiatives (YPI) and Children’s Parliament helped harness the human potential for collective action and to create a democratic ethos in villages. Sustainable agricultural methods, cooperative farming by women and vocational education were introduced. The Earth Charter has been an education instrument for empowering women, low paid workers, the youth and other vulnerable groups in the villages MSI work.
In India Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Ahmedabad, Gujarat encourages and supports the educational use of the Earth Charter in schools. One example is an exhibition on Earth Charter principles. This exhibition is the product of a photography competition on the Earth Charter themes held at the national level. In order to use this exhibition in schools teachers need to be oriented on how to use this photography exhibition as a resource in schools. In this context CEE decided to do this project to develop a facilitator’s guide to familiarize teachers on EC values and its implementation through photography exhibition, with the expectation that this project can contribute a broad understanding of the scope of learning across exhibition in the context of education and to promote the use of EC in education.

Since early 1999, the Delhi Public School Society (DPSS) used the Earth Charter to raise awareness among thousands of children regarding sustainability principles. Then in 2005, Development Alternatives (DA) developed a children’s version of the Earth Charter through its CLEAN-India programme and translated it into eight Indian languages. The Hon. Chief Minister of Delhi and CLEAN-India launched the “Earth Charter for Schools” project in April 2007 – making Delhi one of the first cities to integrate the Charter into its curriculum. DA developed teachers training manuals, textbooks as well as educational and training packages for integrating the charter in Indian schools.
In November 2001 the People’s Commission on Environment and Development India (PCED), a national environmental advocacy NGO, organized a “Roundtable on the Earth Charter” in Delhi. The event was inaugurated by Dr. Karan Singh, member of the Parliament and President of PCED.

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