Buoyed by recent events in Mexico, Brazil, and India, and inspired by a week of strategic workshops, arts performances, and dialogue in the beautiful AmanaKey Training Center outside Sao Paolo, the Earth Charter International Council used the occasion of its 2007 annual meeting to set a bold new direction for expansion of the Earth Charter Initiative….
Earlier in the week, Brazilian (and international) youth had met for a day of strategic brainstorming. This was followed by a special day of strategic dialogue about the earth Charter with Brazilian leaders from business, government, and civil society. Participants included state governors, corporate CEOs and directors, ministry officials, and leaders in Brazil‘s extremely vital NGO and popular education movements. The testimonials about the impact of the Earth Charter in Brazil, and the stories of projects that are using it to facilitate awareness raising and change, were moving and enlightening to those visiting from outside the country. As it happened, the session also served to introduce Earth Charter-engaged leaders to each other; in many cases, they did not previously know of one another’s existence.
Both events fed ideas and significant inspiration into a two-day planning workshop with Earth Charter Council members, staff, and several Advisors and Affiliates. The workshop was led by Council member Oscar Motomura, whose AmanaKey center routinely hosts top executives and government officials to support strategic thinking and “radical innovation” for leaders.
The results of this workshop then became an “input” to the two-day regular meeting of the Earth Charter International Council, the governing body created by the original Earth Charter Commission Steering Committee in 2005. The Council is charged with overseeing the activities of ECI and with leading the global Earth Charter Initiative.
Results from this meeting will be published in more detail in the weeks ahead, but in brief summary, the Council developed a vision for more rapid and extensive expansion of the Earth Charter Initiative, following a general principle of “decentralized empowerment.” The Council sees a need to respond to the growing interest in the Earth Charter and to create guidelines and structures that will empower people throughout the world to use the Charter effectively, to inspire and impact the process of development with the Charter’s comprehensive ethical foundation for a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society.
Participants left Brazil inspired and focused on a process of long term strategic development of the Earth Charter Initiative. They also were focused on bringing the Earth Charter’s integrated vision to important upcoming events, such as the Civicus Global Assembly in Glasgow (May 2007), the World Congress on Environmental Education in Durban (July 2007), the “Live Earth” concert events on climate change (July 2007), the “Tblisi +30” Congress in Ahmedabad India on education for sustainability (November 2007, sponsored by UNESCO and ECI Indian affiliate CEE), and the World Congress of the IUCN in Barcelona in 2008.
The ECI Council meeting of April 2007 will certainly be marked as a watershed moment in the development of the global Earth Charter Initiative, thanks to the extraordinary events surrounding it (in Brazil, Mexico, and India); thanks to the amazing support provided to the workshop and meeting participants by the staff of the AmanaKey Training Center; and thanks to the steadfast commitment of the Council members to the further spread, adoption, and use of the Earth Charter throughout the world.