Celebrating Earth Charter Day 2023 in The Netherlands

On Thursday, June 29, members and friends of Worldconnectors, affiliate organization to Earth Charter International, gathered at the beautiful Estate Zonheuvel (The Netherlands) to celebrate Earth Charter Day 2023 with a roundtable called: Our common agenda.

The celebration began with a toast by President Kathleen Ferrier on the terrace in front of the beautiful Maarten Maartenshuis, during which the new Worldconnectors logo and website were launched. The theme of the celebration was “Our Common Agenda,” the agenda for the international society starting in 2030, strongly linked to the continuation of the SDGs. It is also the theme of the newly launched working group.

After Kathleen’s toast, all visitors went to the Open Air Theatre where Alide Roerink, member of the Earth Charter International Council and collaborator of the Lab Future Generations, shared about the Earth Charter. She mentioned that the Earth Charter is still the most integral, holistic document for a just, sustainable and peaceful world.

Sandra Pellegrom, national SDG coordinator of the central government, addressed the participants after Alide’s speech. Sandra mentioned that a key point needed for change is to realize that achieving the SDGs in a more effective way will entail a stronger support from different actors and political will.

The strength of Worldconnectors lies in the network: there is enormous collaborative power and brainpower. This should be used to mobilize Our Common Agenda.

After the inspiring speeches of Alide and Sandra, it was time for participants to share their ideas about Our Common Agenda with each other. This was done through two break-out sessions, the first of which was led by Jan Bouke Wijbrandi.

Several themes outlined by António Guterres for Our Common Agenda were discussed in the breakout groups, for example, global solidarity, social contract, information plague, new economy and future generations.

The second breakout session was led by Herman Mulder, president of SDGs Netherlands. The participants moved to the terrace to enjoy a Future Proof dinner to discuss the following topics:

– Underlying values: “Fratelli tutti”

– Thematic topics: SDGs recalibrated & enriched

– Intergenerational/vertical/long-term aspects

– Current society/horizontal approach: inclusiveness

– NL: international value chains: problems & opportunities

After the hard thinking, it was time for relaxation, this was facilitated by Dorine van Norren, independent researcher at Leiden University and strategic advisor at Foreign Affairs. Dorine recited the Manifesto the Forest Speaks.

The following activity was led by Peter Akkerman, chairman of the Forest Foundation, a governmental Organization. He took the participants on a nature experience walk through the forest. In silence, participants walked through the forest, experiencing peace and connection with nature.

Following the walk, Dick de Groot recited the poem about Anthropos’ effect on the environment, called the “Eligion of the Earth”. The central theme is how humans deal with time. Afterwards a short film with music was shown, called GAIA: Scattering of Time.

It was an inspiring day to reconnect with nature and with each other, with the Earth Charter as a framework.