The ECI Secretariat, which is based at the United Nations-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica, endeavours to promote the mission, vision, strategies and policies adopted by the ECI Council. The Secretariat guides and liaises with efforts to bring the Earth Charter to the fields of education, youth, business and religion. It manages communications with the larger Earth Charter network, and promotes the use of the Earth Charter as an international soft law document.


The Earth Charter International Secretariat team

Mirian Vilela

Mirian VilelaMirian is the Executive Director of the Earth Charter International Secretariat and the Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE, Mirian has been working with the Earth Charter Initiative since early 1996. She coordinates the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter and served as a member of the UNESCO Expert Reference Group for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). Over the years she has lead and facilitated numerous international workshops, courses and seminars on values and principles for sustainability. Prior to her work with the Earth Charter, Mirian worked for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) for two years in preparation of the 1992 UN Earth Summit and a year at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). She actively participated in the 2002 World Summit of Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, and the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development/Rio+20. Mirian holds a B.Sc. in International Trade and a Master´s Degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where she was an Edward Mason Fellow. She is originally from Brazil.

Alicia Jimenez

Alicia nueva foto 2017 - for websiteAlicia is the Director of Programmes at the Earth Charter International (ECI) Secretariat in Costa Rica. She is a biologist from the University of Costa Rica, with a MSc in Resource Development from Michigan State University in the US. Since 1998 has been working in the field of conservation and sustainable development. She worked in the IUCN Mesoamerica’s Regional Office and the National University of Costa Rica, and has been involved as a visiting professor at the University for Peace.  In 2006, she joined the ECI, where she oversees the promotion of the Earth Charter as widely as possible, especially in Latin America, Africa & Middle East and Asia Pacific.  In addition, she is involved with the Secretariat’s projects on education for sustainable development, facilitaing courses and workshops.

Christine Lacayo

Christine Lacayo 2Christine is the Youth Coordinator for the Earth Charter International from the United States and Costa Rica. She holds a B.S. in International Relations and Italian from Florida State University and a MSc in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development from St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX and L’Université catholique de l’Ouest in Angers, France. Christine coordinates the global Earth Charter Youth Network through online courses, workshops, activities, and engagement with the Earth Charter Young Leaders around the world. She has previously worked for the Rachel Carson Council as a Communications Consultant. Christine has also worked extensively with communication and sustainability projects in Austin, Texas and in Italy with Worldrise, an organization dedicated to educating communities about marine conservation. Christine is passionate about using visual media to raise awareness on environmental issues.

Irma Verhoeven

Irma website 2Irma is Programme and Partnership Development Manager at ECI Secretariat. Between 2008 and 2017, she has worked as a teacher, coach, and education developer: specialist in human-nature relationships, sustainable development, teaching educational skills & communication, planning and organization at Helicon College in The Netherlands. Next to that, she worked at World of Walas since 1998 as project manager, co-founder and educational advisor with a special focus on International Projects on Sustainable Urban Development and Community Development. She also worked at Dudoc Vancouver, Canada and at Dolfinarium Harderwijk as programme developer and at Ivio Wereldschool developing educational materials for E-learning and was distant-coaching expat students. Irma is Dutch and is a high school science teacher by training.

Amanda Bennett

Amamandaanda is the Project Assistant at the Earth Charter International Secretariat and the Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE. She was born in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and grew up in South Carolina, United States. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Experimental Psychology at the University of South Carolina, and a Master in Public Policy at the University of Maryland. While studying in Maryland, Amanda interned at the National Center for Healthy Housing and the Fundred Dollar Bill Project. After graduating, she moved back to Costa Rica and taught English in San Pedro for six months, and briefly in Cusco, Peru. Amanda enjoys being back in Costa Rica and visiting its beautiful national parks, beaches, and towns.