Localizing the SDGs through the spectrum of the Earth Charter Principles

Written by: Phil Eke-okocha, Earth Charter Young Leader

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” -Nelson Mandela

The Covid-19 pandemic took the world by surprise and has shown the importance of mass engagement across generations and sectors. The pandemic has also highlighted the need for sustainability education to help build skills and resilience.

The Sustainable Development Goals provide an excellent avenue for global citizenship as it involves addressing issues at individual, local, national, and global levels. Providing sustainability education to young people and assistance in the process of identifying ways to realize their ideas in addressing their local challenges could play a significant role in achieving the Agenda 2030. This also opens opportunities for future research and entrepreneurship to develop long-term solutions.

Earth Charter International recognizes the power and importance of young people as agents of positive change. Through its various programs and initiatives, the Earth Charter has continued to empower, inspire, and engage youth from all over the world.

EC principle 14 calls for the integration of knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life into formal and life-long training.

With this in mind, and connecting through the ECYL network, on the 22nd of March, EC Young Leaders Phil Eke-okocha and Emma Feyeux engaged the international students of Rondine Cittadella della Pace on sustainability and the Earth Charter principles. Rondine is an Italian organization that accommodates students from conflict and post-conflict countries for a certain period and educates them on leadership, conflict transformation, and peace building through its own method called the Rondine method. Each student must develop a social impact project that will be implemented upon return to their home countries. 

“It is important to have the Earth Charter principles at the back of our mind in every action we take.”- Daisy (Participant)

Research shows that by 2030, a projected 70% of the world’s population will live in cities. Although various attempts have been made to expand the role of youth, several stakeholders till date still overlook this role and the opportunities it could present. The workshop was designed to introduce the participants to the Sustainable Development Goals, the Earth Charter principles, and for them to incorporate these elements into their projects, and as citizens. The workshop aimed to explore the importance of the Earth Charter principles and SDGs at the local and global level, and assist participants in developing an action plan, raising awareness, and acting towards sustainability issues.

Thus, at the end of the workshop, the participants were able to correlate their projects to the SDGs and Earth Charter principles.

“One needs to know in order to act accordingly, and I believe the EC principles can serve a compass that will guide us in our daily effort towards achieving a sustainable and inclusive world”- Nirmeen (Participant)

In order to achieve Agenda 2030, education has to be at the forefront of our efforts. Education is the key to many other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by promoting actions and learning experiences for transformative change. The Earth Charter principles provide the necessary actions to power a global movement towards a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world.