Sustainable Development Projects Workshop Inspired by the Earth Charter

A two day interactive workshop entitled “Sustainable Development Projects Inspired by the Earth Charter” was organized by Massar in Aleppo, a Northern City in Syria, on the 24th and 25th of January, 2012. During this 27 representatives from environmental NGOs, international agencies, governmental bodies, and representatives from 8 eco-schools participating in “Green Light: Environmental Education Initiative” came together to discuss sustainable development projects and to create synergies amongst the stakeholders.

Attendees of the workshop included people from eco-schools participating in Green Light Initiative, the Directorate of Environment, Youth Union, UNRWA, Agha Khan, UNEP, and seven active environmental NGOs in Aleppo. Overall, it was a very enriching experience and participants walked away with not only a better sense of what the Earth Charter is but also better equipped about how to take action towards more sustainable lifestyles.

The objectives of Earth Charter workshop were:

  •     Introducing the earth charter
  •     Updating the attendees on some interesting and recent facts in environment
  •     Discussing potential sustainable development projects inspired by the Earth Charter
  •     Giving an overview of climate change and planetary boundaries
  •     Explaining the principles of writing a project proposal
  •     Creating working groups based on the suggested project ideas by the attendees

Day One:

    – Give Earth a Hand… Green Peace Campaign
    – The Earth Charter formation
    – Envisioning sustainability…shedding light on Donella Meadows work
    – Why is the Earth Charter different?
    – Tree of the Earth Charter
Introducing the 4 main principles through interactive activities and discussions
       1.  Respect and care for community of life
            – The most important living thing
            – Types of participation and your institute
            – Community of life: an interconnected web

        2. Ecological Integrity
                – Types of ecosystem services and its current situation
                – Study on services of forests and woodlands in the UK
                – Ecosystems and equilibrium?
                – Story of our stuff

         3. Social and Economic Justice
                – Different perspectives on a social issue

          4. Democracy, non-violence, and peace
                – Art collage on the 4 principles of democracy, non-violence and peace

Day Two:

    – Overview of climate change and defining planetary boundaries
    – Eradicating ecocide and Polly Higgins work
    – Brainstorming sustainable development projects
    – Steps for writing a funding proposal
    – Introducing some funding opportunities
    – Creation of working groups and discussion of project ideas brainstorm:
        – A community problem and Earth Charter principles
        – Mind Map for Climate change

The Earth Charter workshop will be followed by another workshop to further elaborate the project ideas that were developed during this workshop.