In November 2007, the Earth Charter Office in Costa Rica carried out several activities in Manila, in an effort to bring the Earth Charter (EC) message to a broad group of people and to motivate educational organizations to use the Earth Charter as a useful instrument, particularly in the context of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.
The activities in Manila were organized and supported by Ella Antonio, President of Earth Council Asia-Pacific and also an Earth Charter Affiliate in the Philippines. In this city, three Earth Charter Forums were held: the first one (November 14) at the Environmental Studies Institute, Miriam College. The second (November 15) at the Philippines Women’s University, and the third (November 17) at the Soka Gakkai venue.
The forums format consisted of three main parts: welcoming remarks, then one or two key note presentations and finally an open forum session where participants shared their views and questions about the presentations. The number of participants varied from 70 to 300 people. Among them were students, faculty members from different universities, representatives from the government, members of the House of Representatives, officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and NGOs such as Mother Earth Foundation, and
Environmental Broadcast Circle
and PATLEPAM (The Philippine Association of Tertiary Level Educational Institutions in Environmental Protection and Management).
The forums turned out to be an interesting opportunity to let participants know about the Earth Charter, and also its usefulness in promoting the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. It was also interesting for the participants to know that the Philippines has an Action Program for DESD that fully subscribe to or is aligned with the Earth Charter principles. Many of the youth representatives expressed their strong desire to put EC principles into action, nonetheless acknowledged they do not know how. In this sense, the discussion with other members of the audience was very fruitful.
In addition to the forums, Ella Antonio organized to have a special edition on the Earth Charter in a prime time radio program of the Philippines (Kalikasan at Kaunlaran Radio hosted by Corazon Claudio). The drafting process and the main principles of the Earth Charter were discussed, in addition to ways that people can put the principles into action. And the active EC work will surely be continuing in the Philippines, not least with a commitment of the Kalikasan radio program, to continue reflecting on the Earth Charter principles with their listeners on a weekly basis.