40th UNESCO General Conference Unanimously Adopts a Resolution on the Earth Charter

The 40th General Conference of UNESCO, held between 12 and 27 of November, 2019, adopted a resolution that reaffirms the importance of the Earth Charter as an ethical framework for sustainable development. The reference of this resolution is Earth Charter and ESD – 40C/Resolution 20 (2019).

In the statement UNESCO encourages Members States to use the Earth Charter in Education for Sustainable Development processes, in particular in the implementation of the new ESD for 2030 framework and in connection with the 2017 UNESCO Declaration of Ethical Principles in relation to Climate Change.

The Government of Mexico presented the text resolution for the first time  to the 207th UNESCO Executive Board in October 2019, with the support of various Member States including Jordan, Portugal and Greece. Then, the Education Commission discussed the text during the 40th UNESCO General Conference.

UNESCO’s work with the Earth Charter

The Charter’s four pillars – respect and care for the community of life; ecology integrity; social and economic justice; and democracy, non-violence and peace – have guided and underpinned UNESCO’s ESD work. Taking into account the current world situation and environmental crises, delegates felt it was now time to act, hence Earth Charter provides the principles and values needed for that. Furthermore, the importance of implementing ESD in conjunction with the Earth Charter was stressed to address climate change and biodiversity conservation issues.

UNESCO will continue to build ESD on these principles, among others, in the framework of Education for Sustainable Development: towards achieving the SDGs (ESD for 2030). The resolution at the same time encourages Member States to take into account those principles in their ESD efforts.