The Earth Charter at the UNESCO World Conference in Bonn

The Earth Charter at the UNESCO World Conference in Bonn  (31 March – 2 April 2009)

The Final Bonn Declaration, a key outcome of the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, strongly emphasize the importance of incorporating sustainability values into educational processes at all levels. Throughout this conference, in plenary sessions and workshops, participants stressed that Education for Sustainable Development needs to be based on values of justice, equity, tolerance etc. The Bonn Declaration makes a reference to the Earth Charter in paragraph 8 and a number of participants referred to it as a key educational instrument that offers a clear vision of sustainability and the values and principles necessary to achieve a more just and sustainable world.

This conference represented UNESCO mid-term review of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. About 1,300 people, from over 150 countries participated from governments, NGOs or private sector. The government of Japan already requested to host the major event of evaluation at the end of the Decade (at the end of 2014).

During this Conference an Earth Charter Special Event entitled “Integrating the values and principles of sustainability into education; the promise of the Earth Charter” was held on Thursday, 2 April 2009. This special event was built on the overall goal of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development which seeks to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. And on the 2003 resolution adopted by UNESCO which “recognizes the Earth Charter as an important ethical framework for sustainable development.”

Some of the questions that were addressed in this session were:

  • How can we integrate values of sustainability into education?
  • How can the Earth Charter be used to advance processes of ESD and dialogue on shared sustainability values?

The session that addressed the importance of Intergenerational partnership counted with a number of young participants and presentations by Peter Blaze Corcoran (Florida Gulf Coast University, USA), Moacir Gadotti (Paulo Freire Institute, Brazil) and Kerstin (one World Ecumenical Initiative, Germany). At this occasion A guide for using the Earth Charter in Education was launched.