Earth Charter International China Forum held in Costa Rica

On 30 November, a special Earth Charter International (ECI) China Forum called “Earth Charter supports the Green Silk Road, China’s Practice in Sustainable Development,” took place in Costa Rica with the purpose to enhance collaboration and linkages between the Earth Charter, the quest for an Ecological Civilization, and the efforts towards the Green Silk Road and China’s Practice in Sustainable Development. The Forum was co-hosted by Earth Charter International and ECI China and was sponsored by the Institute of Contemporary Social Services (China). It was the occasion to launch a new collaboration that is emerging between ECI and ECI China.

The ECI China Forum was a special session prior to the 2022 Earth Charter Conference on “Putting Planetary Well-being at the Core: A call to Turn our Conscience into Action.” It counted with the participation of Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Costa Rica H. E. Tang Heng, Professors Ma Shuang and You Yu of Liaoning University, Zhao Hairan, Co-executive President of Earth Charter International China (ECI CHINA) and the Institute of Contemporary Social Services, ECI Council members, Michael Bracken, Rick Clugston, Sam Crowell, Jane Kilonzo, Song Li, Paul Lubbers, Kartikeya Sarabhai, Ricardo Young,  and close partners, and ECI Education Center Faculty, Alicia Jimenez, Irma Verhoeven and Grian Cutanda.

Opening remarks were offered by Mirian Vilela, ECI Executive Director and Director of the EC Education Center at the University for Peace Michael J. Bracken, Chair of ECI Board and Song Li, ECI Council member, who expressed interest in this new opportunity for collaboration.

In his speech, Ambassador Tang shared China’s commitment to ecological civilization and ecological protection and said that the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which concluded last month, pointed out that Chinese modernization is a modernization in which people and nature should live in harmony. He reiterated China’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection and that China upholds the concept of sustainable development and proposes to build a Green Silk Road. The Ambassador mentioned that China continues to expand the circle of friends for green development under the Belt and Road, so that green can effectively become the color of the Belt and Road. He indicated that “we must strengthen our solidarity and overcome the difficulties together, so that the fruits of development and good ecology can benefit all peoples in a greater and fairer way and build a global home for the common development of all countries in the world.

Mrs. Fang Hong reminded participants that “China is the only country in the world that has written into its Constitution the commitment to ecological civilization.” She also shared how the collaboration with ECI emerged and the initiative to create ECI China was with the purpose of bringing the Earth Charter and ECI education courses and programmes to China. With this, she announced the establishment of ECI China.

Professor Yu Miaojie, President of Liaoning University, who delivered a keynote speech by video, introduced Liaoning University and emphasized that higher educational institutions in China can contribute to helping promote education for sustainable development. He said that “Liaoning University is very glad to play an active role to promote this great movement. We believe that Liaoning University can have a wide scope of the cooperation with ECI.”

Ms. Zhao Hairan, President of the Institute of Contemporary Social Services (ICSS) and Co-executive President of Earth Charter International China (ECI China) shared how the ICSS became involved in the establishment of ECI China. She said, “With the continuous efforts of the government, public welfare organizations, enterprises and the media, the concepts of “green”, “environment conservation” and “sustainability” are gaining more attention. People have begun to choose greener lifestyles, buy greener products, and recognize the concept of sustainable development. It can be said that a new “silent revolution” is taking place in China, and that small changes in thinking and action are moving the society as a whole, further towards sustainable development. We must keep trying to make breakthroughs and create more possibilities for a sustainable world of the future.”

Ricardo Young, ECI Council member and founder of Ethos Institute for Business and Social Responsibility, underlined the importance of international collaboration towards sustainability and ecological civilization.

Dr. You YU, Vice Dean and Professor of Li Anmin Institute of Economic Research, Liaoning University expressed his interest to build collaboration and exchange on education programmes and research.

These presentations were followed by a tea break and informal discussions.

The following day, Professors Ma Shuang and You Yu of Liaoning University took part in the ECI 2022 Conference and contributed with presentations on “Education and the Practice of Earth Well-being and Sustainable Development” and “Chinese Experience on the Construction of Earth Well-being Evaluation Indicators” respectively.