On January 31st, 2014, Earth Charter International inaugurated its new Center for Education for Sustainable Development at the University for Peace, and then co-hosted with the University for Peace a two-day conference on education for sustainable development, leadership, and the Earth Charter. The event was attended by the building’s main sponsor and Earth Charter Commissioner, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Ruud Lubbers, as well as other building sponsors from steel giant Acelor Mittal, Amana Key, Avina, Helvex, and Soka Gakkai International. The inauguration was also attended by the Dutch Ambassador to Costa Rica Mette Gonggrijp, as well as several other Ambassadors to Costa Rica from foreign governments including Japan, Panama, Chile and Qatar, top-level academics, and other leaders in the international sustainability field.
The event also featured a recently completed mosaic mural by renowned Costa Rican artist Isidro Con Wong, as well as the first showing in Costa Rica of the Seeds of Hope exhibition organized by Soka Gakkai International.
The new Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development project has a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) pre-certification and is in the process of obtaining the LEED Silver level. LEED is the United States Green Building Council’s sustainable building certification program. The main sustainability features include a reduction of 90% of construction waste, the transportation system for users, natural ventilation and lighting, the use of more than 40% of regional materials for construction, and on-site wastewater treatment and use for irrigation. The Center is the first educational facility in Costa Rica to be designed to LEED standards.
Following the inauguration, Earth Charter International and the University for Peace held a two-day conference, which featured an array of private sector leaders, sustainability experts, and educators. The conference showcased presentations from Oscar Motomura from Amana Key in Brazil and ECI Council co-chair, Kartikeya Sarabhai from the Center for Environment Education from India and ECI Council co-chair, Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN’s Director General, Itaipu’s Nelton Friedrich, PASA Mexico’s Carlos Gomez and Manuel González, and many others from UNESCO and UNDP, the University for Peace, and the international business and sustainability communities.
The end of the first day of the conference featured a performance by Costa Rican Minister of Culture and Youth Manuel Obregon on piano and accordion.
The event was highly successful and positive for both Earth Charter International and UPEACE. You can see a photo album here and also revisit the social media coverage at #earthcharter on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.