Belize Archives - Earth Charter

Course on public policies of education for sustainable development, UNESCO GAP on ESD

The final phase of the Course on Formulation and Design of Public Policies for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was held from 12 to 14 September 2017. This was a special course that we planned and implemented at the request of the UNESCO San Jose Office with the support from the Japan Fund for ESD. The course’s objective was to: “Strengthen the capacities of senior level decision-makers and key personnel in the Ministries of Education and Environment of Central America and Dominican Republic for the development of Education for Sustainable Development Public Policies.” This effort is related to the first priority area of the UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD and to the Sustainable Development Goal 4 Target 7.

Foto 16 Grupo

This course lasted three months (June to September), and had two modalities: face-to-face and virtual. The first part of the course consisted of face-to-face sessions for three intensive days, held at the Earth Charter Center of ESD facilities in the University for Peace, Costa Rica. It continued with a virtual phase that lasted seven weeks, where participants had the opportunity to deepen the topics introduced in the initial face-to-face phase. The course ended with a face-to-face meeting, also held at the EC-ESD Center in Costa Rica, where participants presented their final projects and proposed some actions to follow up this course.

In their assessment of the course, the participants mentioned having had a transformative experience, where some experienced a change in their worldviews and perception of the type of education that each country in the Central American Integration System (SICA) should promote. For their final projects, participants had to generate a proposal for an ESD public policy and an action plan for the design of this policy in their countries. These proposals were an exercise that it is expected to generate actions to instill the vision of ESD in their countries’ education systems.


Participante Curso Politicas Publicas Educacion Desarrollo Sostenible

For the Earth Charter Center on ESD, it was a great satisfaction to have developed this process in a way that helped participants to have a better understanding about sustainability, ESD and ways to generate a public policy on ESD. Some participants expressed that this experience help to generate what some called “a change of paradigm” or “falling in love” with sustainability. The majority of the participants are Ministry of Education officials who have the potential to promote changes in national education policy, curricula, as well as to promote sustainable schools and teacher training programs on ESD. We hope to continue supporting the empowerment process of these participants, so they become agents of change in their institutions and contribute to the 2030 UN Education Agenda.

Curso UNESCO Carta de la Tierra Politicas Educacion Desarrollo Sostenible

Logo UNESCO Japan

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Reflections from our Online Course: Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics

As we close our 5th week of the second online course in Spanish, Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics, we have had much enthusiasm, energy and student cooperation. This course began on April 3 and will end on June 12 with the participation of young leaders from all over Latin America facilitated by Earth Charter Young Leaders, Julián Arias Varela and Karen Proa, and Youth Projects Coordinator, Christine

The international course is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who want to expand their capacity as leaders in sustainability and leadership. As participants complete the sections through an online platform, they learn important information about Sustainability, Ethics, Facilitation, and the Earth Charter. The course is also given in English with the next beginning on June 19 and the deadline to apply on May 17. The next course in Spanish will begin on September 11 with registration one month before. At the end of the 10 weeks, participants are invited to become an Earth Charter Young Leader for a year in the Earth Charter Youth Network. Young leaders connect, motivate and engage with their contemporaries to join the Earth Charter movement and build a more peaceful, just and sustainable world.

Personal reflections of our current participants:

“This is the opportunity to start with the change that we are always looking for but haven’t found. The learning space is incredible, I am committed and I will make a double effort for those who do not.”

-José Ignacio Fernández Víquez, Costa Rica

“Being part of a global movement of young leaders who dream of a more humane, more free and conscious world, gives me strength to continue fighting, but above all hope that the good do not keep quite nor gain indifference.”

-Pamela Zúñiga López, Costa Rica

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Regional Workshop for the Caribbean on Education for Sustainable Development

On April 28-29, the Cropper Foundation, in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Office for the Caribbean, organized a regional workshop in Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago.  The meeting’s objectives were:

  • developing a comprehensive framework of DESD activities and initiatives which will involve bringing better synergy and thus coherence to activities underway, and catalyzing activities and initiatives to fill gaps and address areas which have been neglected to date 
  • identifying possible mechanisms which would allow for more effective coordination of DESD activities
  • enhancing networks and collaboration in support of the DESD
  • encouraging donor support for ESD activities within the Region

This workshop presented an opportunity to follow up on a previous workshop organized in October 2010, in Jamaica, to discuss and give inputs for the monitoring and evaluation process for the DESD.

Around 30 participants attended this meeting from a wide variety of countries, including Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis and Trinidad & Tobago. 

The meeting started with welcoming remarks from the Minister of Education of Trinidad & Tobago, as well as representatives from collaborating institutions such as the University of the West Indies, UNEP ROLAC, Caribbean Examinations Council and CARICOM.

Dr. Tim Gopeesingh, Minister of Education, shared about the commitment of the Trinidad and Tobago government to bring about changes in the curricula and methods of assessment, with the vision of having students that are socially integrated, physically fit and capable of realizing their potential.

The organizers prioritized discussions and group work over plenary talks.   Nonetheless, it was important to offer background information and analysis of the progress of the DESD to date, both globally and in the Caribbean Region.  It was also important to report on the monitoring and evaluation process for the Decade, and to offer examples of good practices on ESD.

The Earth Charter was presented in one of the plenary talks on good practices.  A description of how the Charter was used in a nation-wide teacher training process on ESD in Costa Rica was offered, in addition to an account of the process to build the Latin American and Caribbean Strategy for the DESD in 2006. 

On the first day, participants discussed in groups the main challenges to promoting ESD and implementing actions under the DESD context.  The lack of understanding of the concept of education for sustainable development was considered one of the main challenges.  There was agreement on the need for opening a discussion and dialogue process about the purpose of education, and to redefine it to meet the challenges that the region is currently facing. 
Other important challenges concern how to collaborate and coordinate efforts to promote ESD. To date there has been a fragmented approach to, as well as insufficient resources for, putting ESD into action.   There are a number of important steps that can be taken to address this, including capacity-building, generating research, using ICTs and media, and developing appropriate indicators to assess progress.

During the second day, participants identified various actions that ideally could be implemented to respond to the seven strategies for the DESD: 

  • Vision Building and Advocacy; Consultation and Ownership; and Partnerships and Networks
  • Capacity Building and Training
  • Research, Development and Innovation; Use of Information and Communications Technology; and Monitoring and Evaluation.

The inputs given by the participants were very relevant, with concrete suggestions for implementation.   The organizers will take all this information and generate a report (that will be uploaded here when available).

At the end of the meeting, a lively discussion started about the support needed and infrastructure required for moving forward with the implementation of ESD actions in the region, considering the inputs from this workshop.

Several participants proposed to ask the Cropper Foundation to take a leadership role for following up on some of the actions proposed here, and to make sure that the participants can continue to be in touch, sharing ideas and resources as well as collaborating on projects. 

In addition, each participant wrote some ideas about how the organizations they represent could contribute to the activities discussed in the meeting, and for the overall implementation of the DESD.

Find in this link the Meeting’s Final Report (to see it, right click the screen and select Show All. The pages can then be turned by clicking the bottom-right hand corner of the pages).  

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Earth Charter Project in Belize

“Earth Charter is great! Its helps to create a self-consciousness and awareness of what the Earth is about today! Also it shows us how we can help to improve our environment and our society.”
Adiel Cawich
15 years olds
Belize Rural high School

Two weeks ago 23 students and I embarked on a mission to indulge in the foreign culture of Double Head Cabbage, Belize. Throughout our experience many of us have found answers, friends and community. Parallels of our hopes for the future were also found within Belize Rural High School, where we resided at for the duration of our trip. The students attending the high school are within the ages 12-17 and on their way to discovering where they want to be after graduation. I enjoyed having discussions and debates with the students and it surprised me how unique every one of them was but also how similar they were to me. During our two week trip our group was exposed to the raw, natural beauty of Belize. We found this beauty while snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea, cave tubing in the ancient Mayan caves, hand washing our clothes under the light Belizean rain, and becoming apart of the community as they welcomed us into their town with joyous arms.

The Earth Charter is a building block towards peace and equality within and between nations. Before this trip I had never heard of the Earth Charter but now, by having the privilege of teaching it’s morals to peers my age, I realize the importance of associating with groups of people to achieve an overall goal. Introducing the Earth Charter to the students at Belize Rural High School was a challenge at first because our group had never heard of it before. Once the topic was open for discussion between the students each one started inputting ideas and contributing to the topic. The Earth Charter can help maintain the beauty of Belize by influencing people of the world to work together in order to benefit the environment and relationships among the people. Specifically in Belize, an atrocious amount of littering is done into the ocean and on land which can be fixed if awareness is raised among communities. This issue is also found at my home, B.C. Canada. That is why the Earth Charter is an important aspect of our trip because not only are we helping a foreign community improve their lifestyles in order to preserve the beauty of Belize, but we are also inspired to come home and put the Earth Charter into action again.

After introducing the Earth Charter I realized that everything we have done coincides with the Earth Charter and its goals. As part of our trip our group held educational workshops which initiated a school recycling program, compost and garden. By working with the Earth Charter along with our workshops, I feel like our group, along with the students at BRHS, has become more aware on how our actions affect the environment and our relationships with other people. In 2008 I had the opportunity to work with Reto Juvenil in Altamira, Costa Rica which was an entirely different trip but had the same amount of impact. Both trips make me want to continue working with Reto Juvenil and spread awareness about social justice and environmental sustainability through the Earth Charter.

Hannah Rempel
17 yrs old
Langley High School
2nd Program with Reto Juvenil

“The Earth Charter plays the most important role in the sustainability of the environment, teaching us that renewing things is a great idea and it helps us to respect our environment, too.”
Steven Herr
13 yrs old 
Belize Rural high School

“I really want to thank the Reto Juvenil Internacional group for doing the Earth Charter presentation at our school, because it really shows the importance of protecting the environment and also many other important things, that we and our families sometimes take for granted, instead of making the environment a PRIORITY, as we all should.”
Jasmine Dawson
12 yrs old
Belize Rural high School

“This was an awesome experience: not only for me, but for my whole school, too. The workshop helped us to learn how to create a better future for us all. Thanks to the Earth Charter presentation, I learned how important it is to live in peace with one another. We must respect and care for the community and life, and we should treat one another equally and be an activist.”
Gary Rowland
13 years old
Belize Rural high School

“Earth Charter is the best and the most beneficial tool to learn how to protect and care for the environment. It gives us a clear understanding, how to love and to respect the Earth and it also makes us to appreciate our nature. Earth Charter also shows us different ways how to promote peace.”
Shanique Broaster
15 years old 
Belize Rural high School

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