Netherlands Archives - Earth Charter

SDG World Tour Kick-Off Event

56587619_10161469857115328_3559405360026484736_nThe SDG World Tour project was launched during a special event on 9 April in New York. The purpose of this project is to raise the awareness of a broad public on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals through a two-year tour around the world with a sailing boat, the Clipper Stad Amsterdam, starting on 16 August 2020 in Amsterdam and ending mid 2022 in New York. During this sailing tour, the boat will stop in 17 harbors for about 10 days. During each stop, it will focus on one specific goal of the 17 SDGs to be highlighted by means of dialogues, forums, festivals, networking and thematic events.

It is envisioned that the SDG World Tour will become a facilitating platform, a catalyst, and a travelling connector. This effort will also serve to highlight local projects related to specific SDGs from the countries where the SDG World Tour stops. The projects that will be showcased will be selected based on their potential to inspire and initiate similar initiatives elsewhere. Five out of the 17 stops (cities/countries) have already been defined: New York, Rio de Janeiro, Capetown, Mumbai and Shanghai. The other 12 cities are to be defined by fall this year.

EC CompassThe Earth Charter International and the SDG World Tour have joined forces and will collaborate in this project as this sailing boat tour will take not only the SDGs with them, but also the Earth Charter as an ethical compass for this journey with projects that will engage youth on the ship, on shore and on line. ECI will invite Affiliates, Partners, Young Leaders and friends to engage in this project for instance, in collaborating by hosting events when the Clipper Stad Amsterdam Sailing boat is anchored in the harbor of an EC Champion’s country. In short, it is envisioned that EC Champions will have their organization and network be part of the SDG World Tour programme when it comes to a certain harbor.

The Kick-off Event for this project, held on 9 April in New York counted with the participation of UNUSG of Global Commmunciaitons, Allison Smale and the first youth mayor of Amsterdam, Avianka Aventurin. At this occasion, an agreement of collaboration was signed between the SDG World Tour and ECI.

You are invited to spread the word of the SDG World Tour and find out more about it at

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Launch of the “Hague Principles”

On 10 December 2018, the “Hague Principles for a Universal Declaration on Responsibilities for Human Rights and Earth Trusteeship” will be launched at the Earth Trusteeship Forum in the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Klaus Bosselmann, Earth Charter International Affiliate from New Zealand is promoting this declaration, which is in line with the Earth Charter.

In addition to the Hague Principles, they will launch a global initiative towards establishing institutions of Earth trusteeship in close relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Earth Trusteeship Forum on 10 December calls upon global civil society to speak out in favour of governance at all levels (global, national and local), to address Human responsibilities and Earth trusteeship.

The Earth Trusteeship Initiative (ETI) is a consortium of human rights, human responsibilities and environmental organisations. Over the past 10 months, the ETI worked and agreed on the Hague Principles. They define three fundamental responsibilities for citizens and governments to protect human rights and the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems.

We invite you to visit for further details, for the Hague Principles declaration and how you can support it. You can also find the provisional programme for the 10 December Forum.

Read the press release here:

For more information, contact:


Hague Principles

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Walas and the Earth Charter in Sustainable Urban Development

Gerben-van-Straaten-03-png-684x1024The Earth Charter newsletter published in July, featured the interview with Gwendolyn Hallsmith, renowned city planner, who shares her experience using the Earth Charter and a specific methodology called EarthCAT (Earth Charter Community Action Tool) with several cities.

In this newsletter we share with you several videos of the interview with Gerben van Straaten. He is the founder and CEO of World of Walas. This international company, specialized in Sustainable Urban Development, uses the Earth Charter as the ethical compass in all levels of the organization, for its projects and all its other activities. Gerben was inspired by the principles of the Earth Charter from very early on and decided the document had to be used as the guideline on which all decisions were based. This drew the attention of Earth Charter International and a partnership with the World of Walas was developed. Gerben thought it was necessary to develop an Earth Charter adaptation for cities to make it easier to put its principles in practice in urban development and city planning. As a result, the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto was created and presented at the 2010 celebration of the Earth Charter in The Hague, The Netherlands. Driven by the Earth Charter, the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto guides people everywhere in creating communities that are healthy, inclusive and sustainable. The Earth Charter Cities Manifesto defines 16 principles to inspire and guide all citizens, urban organizations, businesses, communities, governments and institutions.

The interview tells a personal story of dedication to create a just, sustainable and peaceful global society based on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. This video interview also shares how this company, working in the field of urban sustainability, implements the Earth Charter principles in its business model.

To watch the interview with Gerben van Straaten click here:

Click here for more information:

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The Earth Charter in Practice in World of Walas

parkade_underAugust 2018 was a special month for the World of Walas in The Netherlands. The CarbonBlue Solar Park was officially opened. This project is a great example of putting the values of the Earth Charter in action in the private sector. Reading this article, you will recognize the Earth Charter’s principles on ecological protection, the eradication of poverty and equitable economic development.

World of Walas, an international company concerned with sustainable urban development, is driven by values and principles of the Earth Charter. CEO Gerben van Straaten has been a friend and supporter of the Earth Charter since its launch in 2000, and is author of the Earth Charter Cities Manifesto.

carbonblue_topviewThe Walas team was concerned about the electrical energy use of the Carbon6 complex, one of the Walas projects in the city of Heerlen, The Netherlands. Leveraging the spacious parking lot, the CarbonBlue Urban Solar Project was created to offer a solution to further reduce the energy costs and reliance on the energy grid, and to transition to cleaner energy sources.

Parking is required for the local community and to meet the demands of commuters using the nearby train station. While the parking spaces could not be eliminated, mounting solar panels on an elevated structure not only solves the problem of the panel placement, but also provides filtered light during the day, captures rain water, cleans the surrounding air and water, creates jobs (such as jobs for people with employment challenges or personal or professional barriers) and provides a green retreat for the community.

parkeerdek-CarbonBlue-Carbon6-en-Dudoc-Parkstad-waar-innovatie-samenkomt-960x480The CarbonBlue solar park will feed the solar energy (with an estimated production of 900,000 kWh each year) into the building as well as charging stations for electric vehicles, meeting an expected 35% of the energy demand of the Carbon6 complex.

The total investment of € 2.7 million has an expected payback period of 6 years and new business models include a car wash and energy storage will add to the final success. The project is the result of a close collaboration of partners from The Netherlands, Germany, Nigeria, Austria, and Canada.

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International Earth Trusteeship Gathering in The Netherlands

Governance, law, advocacy and practice
22 and 23 June 2018 in The Hague, The Netherlands

IMG_2340From all parts of the world, more than 80 people gathered in The Hague, The Netherlands for the International Earth Trusteeship Gathering. The gathering served as a welcome space for different initiatives, which share an interest in governance, law and legal structures, Earth practices and advocacy with the aim to heal the relationship between humanity and ecosystem Earth and fulfill our responsibilities as Trustees of the Earth.

“The protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity and beauty is a sacred trust.” – Preamble, Earth Charter

The gathering took place on 22 and 23 June, as a follow-up to the Earth Trusteeship Roundtable organized by Hans van Willenswaard (School of Wellbeing, Thailand) on 13 July 2017, in Utrecht, the Netherlands in the context of the international conference “Practicing the Commons”. This Roundtable brought together academics, lawyers, politicians, activists, farmers, researchers and others sharing a variety of initiatives and ideas. Keynote speaker Prof. Klaus Bosselmann presented an initiative of the Planetary Integrity Project, supported by the Common Home of Humanity project, to establish an Earth Trusteeship Council that would focus on maintaining or restoring ecological integrity on a United Nations / planetary scale. He also mentioned other ideas, such as a Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Responsibilities, which could be presented on 10 December 2018, the 70 years Celebration Day of UDHR. Klaus Bosselmann and Hans van Willenswaard initiated the Gathering to discuss these themes and prepare for 10 December 2018. The Earth Charter International acted as one of the organising partners, thanks to the active participation of Alide Roerink, member of the ECI Council and coordinator of Earth Charter The Netherlands. Rick Clugston, former member of the ECI Council and member of the Earth Charter Associates board took part in the Gathering.

IMG_2342The call for an International Gathering further stems from an e-mail discussion of January 2018 with several key persons of different nature rights organizations on the need and opportunity to present a draft Additional Protocol on Nature Rights to the UDHR at the next UN General Assembly. In this e-mail discussion, a proposal was made to organize a gathering that would bring together many closely related initiatives and ideas that exist around the world and have been raising the global awareness of the urgent need to restore our relationship with nature.

Another reason for an International Gathering was to create an opportunity for Dutch human rights, environmental and sustainable development organizations to have an exchange with these international initiatives.

On Friday 22 June, six thematic sessions took place to share ideas and explore ways of working together. Different initiatives were presented, such as the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth and the Rights of Nature Europe.

The meaning of the term Earth Trusteeship was discussed and a draft joint proclamation was presented by Klaus Bosselmann. This draft document will be edited and a next version will be distributed among participants to prepare for an event on 10 December 2018 in The Peace Palace in The Hague, in the context of the 70th anniversary of UDHR.

20180623_092504-1The Gathering was accompanied by a fire ceremony and the SGI-ECI Seeds of Hope Exhibition. Also, the new film “The Rights of Nature: A Global Movement” was screened and an interesting conversation emerged with one of the filmmakers. Click here for more information on the film.

Many participants of the gathering referred to the Earth Charter document as the ethical foundation to build on, also for efforts to acknowledge the rights of nature. In addition, the Earth Charter Initiative was considered as the movement, which could serve as an important partner in the follow-up of the gathering.

Dialogue on rights of nature movement, also brought to light that indigenous peoples do not need to redefine their relationship with nature. Mother Earth exists in her own right. Who are we humans to ‘give’ her rights? The rights based vision in some dialogues was considered relevant in a western context. With respect to the term Earth Trusteeship, a few participants stated that they rather use the term ‘Earth stewardship’.

Click here to see the complete report on the gathering.

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Earth Charter Celebrations in June

Earth Charter Friends Canada and the World of Walas celebrated  {Embracing a Sustainable Lifestyle} in Vancouver on the Earth Charter Day on 29 June 2018.

It was heartwarming to see old connections and to make new ones while talking about the values and the principles that guide our work and lives. Embracing sustainability means doing what is within our own capabilities and inspiring others to do the same. It starts with ourselves.

As part of the event, many businesses came together to show what they do; such as being a zero-waste commercial printing business, providing support for indigenous youth, and building a community space.

Being on the ground and making local impact means that change can start small and right in your own neighborhood.




        See below a video of the event by Dudoc Vancouver:

Dudoc Vancouver Earth Charter Day 2018
from Martin Chung on Vimeo.


NetherlandsSpinnerij Oosterveld, in Enschede the Netherlands, is part of World of Walas. This former textile factory has a history of more than a hundred years. Where people used to spin yarns in the mill, there is now a growing community of innovative and accomplished high tech entrepreneurs. The building is considered a Living Lab for innovation and sustainability. With this new economic function, it is a dynamic part of the city again.

World of Walas,  Earth Charter International partner celebrated International Earth Charter Day 2018 distributing organic apples to tenants and visitors and providing information about the Earth Charter. This resulted in a number of interesting and enthusiastic conversations. It was very nice to see that many people really like the Earth Charter. It was a sunny and cheerful day filled with inspiration!


On 5 July, a special event took place at the Zonheuvel estate in Doorn as part of the International Earth Charter Day in the Netherlands:

The book “Ruud Lubbers: the man of the Earth Charter”, was launched.  The book is a collection of stories from the Friends of the Earth Charter remembering Ruud Lubbers. It also features a message from Ruud Lubbers himself. The first copy was handed over to Ruud Lubbers’ son. “February 14 of this year Ruud Lubbers passed away. He was one of the founders of the Global Earth Charter Initiative and actively spread the message of ‘ecological integrity, justice, peace and non-violence’.



In Michoacán, the Michoacán University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo organized the Earth Charter Week from June 25 to July 5, with six talks on the principles and values of sustainability expressed in the Earth Charter. The talks took place in different venues of this university and were offered by Mateo Castillo Ceja, Coordinator of the Mexican Earth Charter Network. More information in this article of a local newspaper.

In Durango, Amorita Salas, focal point of the EC Mexican Network in this State, organized several activities to celebrate the 18th anniversary of the Earth Charter, with the support of Juarez University of Durango. A radio interview (23 June, Radiograma Laguna 106.7FM); two teacher training workshops on education for sustainability (27 June and 4 July, at the Municipal Institute of Ecology of Gómez Palacio) and a workshop for university students on sustainable professional performance with the Earth Charter (6 July, at Cuencamé Polytechnic University).

Taller CT Hidalgo 16-20 julioIn Pachuca, the focal point of the State of Hidalgo, Leodan Portes, organized an Earth Charter Workshop for Children, held between July 16 and 20, 2018.

In Tabasco, the focal point Leon Gutiérrez, organized a series of talks during the week of June 25-29. The talks focused on sharing what the Earth Charter is, and they were carried out in different locations: NGOs, a hotel, a bookstore, a school and a university.

In addition, several education institutions of Mexico endorsed the Earth Charter between May and June, more information here.

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Earth Charter class on Education and Values in The Netherlands

Netherlands photo 1Earth Charter Netherlands collaborated with NIVOZ, a think-tank on education, to hold the Earth Charter Masterclass from 29-30 May, imparted by Professor Sam Crowell, Earth Charter Education Center faculty.

NIVOZ has been advocating, for several years, for the needs of children in education, and the consequences of those needs for the teachers educating them. NIVOZ and Earth Charter the Netherlands were very pleased to have Sam Crowell impart this two-day masterclass. He also offered a public lecture on education and a dialogue with Nivoz staff members.

The Masterclass was attended by 15 participants, who engaged into a dialogue around the WHY of education based on the concept of “Emergent Teaching”, the topic of an inspirational book Professor Crowell wrote.

The social and ecological imperatives of our time, together with the Earth Charter values, were integrated into the class discussions, which lead to curricular questions such as: ¨What kind of person do I want to become?¨, and ¨what kind of world do I want to live in?¨

One of the participants of the Masterclass stated: “Sam Crowell reminded me of the true purpose of education. Sam made us realize that in education, certain things can be anticipated, but the unique nature of each individual student and class is far from predictable. If these moments are given the space to unfold, the results are often transformative(…)”

This Masterclass was offered for the first time in The Netherlands on October 2014; however, Professor Sam Crowell has been co-facilitating this class with Earth Charter Executive Director, Mirian Vilela, since the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at the University for Peace, Costa Rica, was inaugurated in 2013.

Education, Ethics, & Values for Sustainability: Transformative Teaching and Learning with the Earth Charter will be imparted again at the Earth Charter Center for ESD in Costa Rica on July 2018.

Click here for more information on this programme.

Click here to find information on a subsequent gathering with 40 students and professionals working in sustainability and education.

Click here to read Prof. Crowell´s reflection on his experience delivering a similiar course.



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Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics Online Youth Course has Started and Next one in Spanish Begins 11 Sept!


Our fifth Leadership, Sustainability, and Ethics online youth course in English started on 19 June. With 25 youth representing over 13 nations we are thrilled to be interacting and engaging youth from so many countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Japan, India, Spain, US, UK, Netherlands, and Canada. The 10-week course will end on 28 August and will cover topics such as Leadership, Sustainability, Ecoliteracy, Systems Thinking, Ethics, Facilitation, the Earth Charter.

The course is being co-facilitated by Youth Projects Coordinator Christine Lacayo and Earth Charter Young Leaders, Victor Okechukwu from Nigeria and Rohdof Lactem from Cameroon.

We have some extremely inspiring and sharp youth in this course; representatives from UN Major Group for Children and Youth, 4 people from the National Union of Students in the UK, someone who is actively involved with the Agenda 21 in the Basque region of Spain, the head of a team of 8 passionate youth in Cameroon who form part of the Hope for the World Youth Association which seeks to bring hope to hopeless communities through entrepreneurship, youth capacity building programs, and someone from the Lopez Community Land Trust (LCLT) in Washington state, a non-profit organization on a small island making sustainable communities a reality by holding land in trust for residents of the island and building affordable homes for low income individuals.

Here are some inspiring quotes from the participants with the following forum question: When you dream about a better future, what are three things you envision?

“I envision a future where all basic needs are met. No one will worry about what they will eat, what they will wear, where they will live, or if they can afford to care for their medical needs. The future I envision has no place for greedy persons. There will be perfect leadership, exacting just judgments. In this world that I envision, no one will be convicted of crimes that they didn’t commit. If someone is disciplined or charged with something, they will have to acknowledge that the judgment pronounced on them was just and well deserved. I envision a world full of peace and true happiness. I believe that with the proper leadership and guidance this future will exist for mankind. I must take the first step to be the change that I want to see.” –Quaniqua Williams, USA



“I dream of a world where people are caring towards other people and other animals whom we share our planet with- there are so many injustices towards other human beings that is it difficult to think of a time where we will respect all humans and animals on this planet with equal rights to feel safe, secure and free in our world. Also where all humans understand the true meaning of peace and conflicts and war are no longer an issue. Ultimately where people and planet can thrive and where nature can support all human and animal life on the planet and the people can respect and support nature.” – Hannah Wiseman, UK


“A future in which human rights are respected. A future in which the basic needs of each individual are covered in a sustainable way. Where the production chain, starting with the procurement of the raw material, its handling, consumption and disposal is done in a responsible way and respecting the social and environmental rights of all involved.” – Itxaso Bengoechea Larrinaga, Spain

“The three most important things for a better future for me would be reduced economic inequalities within and between communities and countries, drastic decline in diseases such as malaria, cholera and HIV in developing countries and quality/affordable basic education for all children up until the tertiary level. I believe that if the world will truly become sustainable firstly we need to educate and equip as many people as possible in a short period of time. I believe that quality education will birth solutions that will unlock other Sustainable goals.”

– Olabanji Jackson-oke, Nigeria

Our next online youth training programme will be in Spanish and will begin on 11 September until 20 November. Deadline to apply is 28 August! Email Christine Lacayo, Youth Projects Coordinator if you are interested in registering for our next course: Youthcooridantor@earthcharter.orgLSE Spanish Sept

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Earth Charter Youth, Kehkashan Basu, launches “PUSH for the environment” and Speaks in front of 10,000 youth at Young Impact celebrations in Amsterdam

Written by: Kehkashan Basu, Earth Charter Youth Nework & Youth Ambassador World Future Council

The current state of the environment is a matter of great concern and this is possibly the greatest threat to our future well – being. We see the effects of climate change everyday , yet policy makers continue to debate and procrastinate , while global warming keeps pushing the Earth’s ambient temperature higher every day. We are the last generation that has the opportunity to stop and reverse this environmental degradation before it is too late and in order to be successful, we need to mobilize young people from across the world and build a movement which will force our leaders to take action.
With this objective in mind , I launched the “PUSH for the environment” at the Young Impact celebrations in Amsterdam , in my capacity as the winner of the 2016 International Children’s Peace Prize winner. The founders of this PUSH campaign are KidsRights, Amsterdam and KidsRights Youngsters of which I am a member. The PUSH! Environment campaign is the start of an international movement of young change-makers for their rights. With this movement, we want youth to take action and to speak out for matters that concern them directly; from education, equal rights and the end of violence, to a clean environment.

The campaign launch took place at Amsterdam’s iconic Ziggo Dome where over 10,000 young people had assembled for the inauguration. It was hugely motivating to connect to this vast crowd of passionate young people . In my speech I reminded youth that the time to act was now and if we all joined hands we could definitively bring about a positive change .

The onus is upon us, YOUTH, to take a leadership role and mold the future the way we want it.


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Discovering the Child in Ourselves to Heal the World: An Impression of the Earth Charter Youth Meet up Netherlands

Written by: Femke Lootens

Are you still climbing into trees sometimes? When is the last times you made something without a purpose? Can you still be astonished by a beautiful feather, a stone or a little bug? These activities might be essential for building a better world, as I experienced during the Earth Charter Youth Meet up.

On a sunny day in May, more than 40 students and professionals working in sustainability and education participated in a Meet Up organized by the Friends of the Earth Charter Netherlands. There were presentations on education for sustainable development and the role of art in connecting us back with nature, multiple interactive games, a picnic, and a workshop outside where we build altogether a sequence of life in clay, letting us experience some big lessons rather than telling it.

NL Meet up

From this day on, one main idea got stuck in my mind: that discovering the child in ourselves will help us to build a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society. Why?

Because we need to look at the world through children’s glasses

For children, the world is a place full of wonder to discover every day. Being surprised by the beauty of nature, admiring, and appreciating it every day helps us maintain our sanity. Next to this, seeing pressing issues again in a slightly different way reminds us of their urgency and that they are still there. Looking at the world with new eyes is useful, but also art is a powerful tool to see the same things in a different light.

NL EC Meet up

Participants making an organic sequence of life during the workshop. Building an interactive common sculpture taught me lessons which are difficult to express in words

Because we need to feel what we are losing

We not only need to watch again with fresh eyes, we also need to feel again. Children can be indefinitely sad because of a dying bird, images of refugees on TV or an ill elderly person. When we grow up, we get more or less sensitized to seeing things which can make us potentially sad. We don’t feel it so much anymore. However, in order to value the earth and the life it shelters, we need to “hear within us the sounds of the earth crying” (Tchich Nhat Hanh). We should not be afraid to embrace despair and weep as a child because of the beauty we are losing and unjust practices present in this world. It is through this despair that we can also find strength to act.

Because we need to imagine and dream as a child

How does this just, sustainable, and peaceful global society look like? Use your imagination. It is not because it is not there yet that it does not exist. We need to envision what the alternative is to current unsustainable practices. We do not have to start from scratch; other visionaries have gone before us. We can walk in their steps and use existing frameworks as the Earth Charter or the Sustainable Development Goals to guide our way.

Because we need to build a better future

Seeing and feeling today’s greatest challenges is a start, but this needs to evolve in action. Action can be in our daily lives, through political choices, by putting on pressure through activism or lobbying for change in your community or organization. One example of this is the the MAPTING app created by Earth Charter and Soka Gakkai International. With Mapting you can share your own sustainable actions and projects through this photo-sharing app while also learning about the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Earth Charter principles.

Let’s try to reconnect with these characteristics which we can find inside ourselves. Look for your inner child, nurture it and combine it with your current skills and knowledge to make this world a better place for current and future children and grown-ups.

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