Earth Charter in Action in Daugavpils, Latvia

A diverse group of one hundred people from 18 countries gathered at the 7th International JTEFS/BBCC Conference in Daugavpils, Latvia, on May 5-8, 2009. The conference, which focused on the interrelationship between sustainable development, culture and education, was organised by the Institute of Sustainable Education at the Faculty of Education and Management of Daugavpils University in cooperation with the Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability (JTEFS) and the Baltic & Black Sea Circle Consortium (BBCC) and the UNESCO Network on Reorientation of Teacher Education towards Sustainability.

The sub-theme of the conference was “Research and Implementation of Education for Sustainable Development,” which allowed for a great diversity of contributions under the suggested sections of the conference. The main emphasis of the conference was synergy between the research and implementation of ESD and the enrichment of research methodology and methods in the current context of ESD. The proposed sections entailed the wide scope of research and practice aspects initiated during the previous conferences and suggested by BBCC and UNESCO network members.

The sections at the conference were:

  • Phenomenology of Education for Sustainable Development:
  • Research for Education for Sustainable Development:
  • Teacher Education for Education for Sustainable Development:
  • Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education:
  • Organisation of Learning and Research Environment in Education for Sustainable Development (preschool, primary, and secondary level):
  • Education for Sustainable Development and Social Work:
  • Education for Sustainable Development and E-learning:
  • Photography in the Context of Globalization and Sustainable Development:
  • Earth Charter as a Framework for Education for Sustainable Development:
  • Earth Charter Youth Initiative and Multicultural Approach to Education for Sustainable Development

Marina Bakhnova-Cary, the Earth Charter Coordinator for Europe and Central Asia, joined Marcos Estrada de Oliveira, a 2008 alumus of UPEACE, former intern of the Earth Charter and member of the Brazilian Institute of Education for Life (IBEV), and Dmitry Savelau, of the Youth International Education and Earth Charter Youth Group NEWLINE, at the conference. They gathered together with members of the Earth Charter youth network at Daugavpils University to present and discuss the Earth Charter as an ethical framework and multicultural approach to education with a wide international audience of educators.

During the poster session, Marcos Estrada de Oliveira contributed by presenting his research project, ENSI’s “Quality Criteria for ESD-Schools,” as a school self-evaluation tool. His research was carried out, with the support of the Earth Charter, at the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. He also facilitated the workshop “Boundary Crossings: the Interaction of the Earth Charter” and “Quality Criteria for ESD-Schools.” This workshop was co-facilitated by Dmitry Savelau, who also led a workshop and discussion on “Global Citizenship for Sustainable Development,” which was carried out both in Russian and English. Working together, in a dual language workshop, was an enjoyable and stimulating experience for all. The outcomes of this workshop could be seen by the continuing discussions and drawings prepared by the participants.

After this, Marina Bakhnova-Cary facilitated a session about the “Earth Charter as a Framework for Education for Sustainable Development” and the “Earth Charter Youth Initiative and Multicultural Approach to Education for Sustainable Development.” In this session, Marcos Estrada de Oliveira presented his investigation “Education for Sustainable Development within the Formal Curriculum in Costa Rica: The Example of Earth Charter Materials in Primary Schools.” The session continued with Solvita Raga presenting an “Integrated approach for the implementation of the principles of sustainability in preschool,” which was followed by Ieva Utin??ne with the research “Students about Sustainability.” The session was finished with the presentation “Students about the Earth Charter,” by Inga Miez??te.

Hopefully, this meeting of minds across borders has increased awareness and stimulated a spirit of research and practical application of the Earth Charter among those who had a chance to participate. May their efforts continue, unite and grow in scope for the promotion of the basic values of the Earth Charter through new initiatives and activities both locally and globally.

This article is based on a report made by Marcos Estrada de Oliveira with the help of Inga Gedzune, Ginta Gedzune, Dmitry Savelau and Ieva Utin??ne.

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