The Earth Charter Initiative was present at the recent UN Conference on Sustainable Development. There were many ECI staff and Council members present, an active Brazilian network, and a variety of Earth Charter events. The Earth Charter is still clearly considered an important foundation and framework in the ongoing sustainable development discourse and attracts important thinkers, high-level actors, dedicated educators, and passionate activists.
On June 13th, ECI held its first side event to present a publication called “Exploring synergies between faith values and education for sustainable development” at the Rio Centro Convention Center on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. This was a publication commissioned by UNESCO and it is a contribution to the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development.
The side event consisted of a panel with three authors of this publication: Rick Clugston, who is also the editor, Arthur Dahl (from Baha’I faith), and Nobuyuki Asai (Budhism and SGI). Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of ECI and EC Center for ESD, also helped with the presentation. Many of the people in the audience were themselves active members in faith communities, and there were also many youth leaders. Comments of the audience were focused on the importance to connect with the intergovernmental process, and the importance of common ethical principles and values that would help move forward the sustainability agenda. Approximately 60 people attended this event.
On June 15th, the EC Brazilian network was launched at the Peoples’ Summit in Flamengo Park. The event featured Neca Setubal, Mirian Vilela and Leonardo Boff who spoke of the importance of the Earth Charter for creating the sustainable future we need. The event was attended by more than 700 people at the crowded and energetic Peoples’ Summit, where the energy was very different to that of the Rio Centro, the location of the official state negotiations.
In the evening of June 15th, Soka Gakkai International, with the City of Rio Government and ECI support launched the “Seeds of Hope” exhibition, at the Planetarium Foundation. This exhibition is open to the public from June 16th to July 15th 2012. Mirian Vilela had the opportunity to offer a speech at this event, in addition to the Vice President of SGI and the Secretary of Environment of the City of Rio. Find photos of this exhibition at EC and Rio Photo Album.
ECI organized a side event on June 17th at Rio Centro called “An ethical framework for global governance”,which was chaired by ECI Director Mirian Vilela and whose panelists included Klaus Bosselmann, Professor at the Center for Environmental Law, Auckland University and IUCN-CEL, New Zealand, Rubens Born, President of Vitae Civilis Institute, Brazil, Alexander Likhotal, President of Green Cross International, and Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, The High Court of Justice of Brazil (STJ). The discussion on governance and the importance of an ethical framework was lively. The event was attenden d by approximately 100 people.
Find in these links the interviews of Alexander Likhotal, President of Green Cross International, Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin, Brazilian High Court of Justice and Klaus Bosselman University of Auckland, New Zealand. These can be found on our YouTube channel.
The Brazilian Earth Charter Youth Network organized an international youth event at the Peoples’ Summit on June 18th. Gabriela Batista and Pedro Piccolo led this process. The event was attended by ECI Director Mirian Vilela and ECI Youth Coordinator Nora Mahmoud. Several hundred young people attended to share experiences with the Earth Charter and to hear former Environment Minister of Brazil Marina Silva, Moacir Gadotti, Leticia Sabatela and Severn Cullis-Suzuki. The speakers talked about the importance of creating networks, of working together and sharing our ideas to create projects and find support for our efforts using the Earth Charter as inspiration and guide. Various projects and initiatives were presented and youth from Canada, Brazil and the Netherlands shared their accomplishments and challenges.
It is believed that the two EC events held at the People´s Summit were among the most well attended events of the NGO Forum. Here is the the video recording of Severn’s speech at the Peoples Summit.
On June 19th, ECI organized a large event in Rio’s downtown at the Nelson Rodrigues theater. The event started at 1:30 PM and lasted until almost 8 PM. There were three panels and the speakers and guests included many important figures in the sustainable development field including Marina Silva, former environment minister of Brazil, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, the young girl who addressed the Rio 1992 plenary Leonardo Boff, Mateo Castillo, Kartikeya Sarabhai, Ricardo Young and Jacob Soetendorp of the Soetendorp Institute for Human Values, among others. The talks focused on ethics, the Earth Charter as a basis for a new business model, the need for the Earth Charter values to emerge at the policy level, as well as how the Earth Charter can be used as a values-based educational tool for Sustainable Development, and many other inspirational messages about and inspired by the Earth Charter. The event was attended by over 300 people.
This event was covered by the most important news media channels from Brazil, for example Globo News, who included this as one of the highlights of Rio+20; and Ricardo Young, famous Brazilian enterpreneur, who reported live on this event and participated in one of the panels.
Also, watch the video interview with Severn Cullis-Suzuki.
On Saturday, June 16th, the Mirian Vilela received an award by the instituto e of Rio de Janeiro for her leadership work at the Earth Charter Initiative in empowering people and communities over the past 20 years. Mirian Vilela, ECI Director accepted the award on behalf of the Initiative and delivered a speech in acceptance in Portuguese.
Watch a video of her acceptance in Portuguese.
Read more about these and other happenings at Rio on the Earth Charter at Rio+20 blog.
See the EC and Rio Photo Album, with a sample of pictures taken by ECI staff and collaborators.