Values and Principles to Foster a Sustainable Future

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  Principle 14 of the Earth Charter emphasizes the importance of “Integrating into…education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life”.

Education is fundamental to the mission of Earth Charter Initiative. ECI has therefore created the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at the University for Peace in Costa Rica. The Center deepens students’ and program participants’ understanding of sustainability vision and practice, and build the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values they need to shape a sustainable future.

The Earth Charter Center’s mission is the same as the Earth Charter Initiative’s, “…to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy and a culture of peace.”, with a special focus on education.

To reinforce the legitimacy of the Earth Charter Center and the importance of its mission, a UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development and the Earth Charter was created as a collaborative effort between UNESCO, Earth Charter International, and the University for Peace. This UNESCO Chair will implement educational programmes and research activities at the intersection of education, sustainability, and ethics using the Earth Charter as a framework.

The UNESCO Chair on ESD and the Earth Charter will help address the overall goal of the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD), which is to integrate the values inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of learning.  In this sense, this UNESCO Chair will contribute in the implementation of UNESCO Resolution Reference 32C/17, which, "recognizing the Earth Charter as an important ethical framework for sustainable development", affirms member states' intention to "utilize the Earth Charter as an educational instrument, particularly in the framework of the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development".

The Earth Charter Center for ESD:

a)    Offers educational programmes on the systemic nature, ethics, and principles of sustainability.
b)    Develops educational materials on sustainability, ethics, and education.
c)    Collects and develops best practice narratives and case studies that highlight the use of the Earth Charter in educational settings.
d)    Encourages the use of the Earth Charter and build capacity to incorporate the “knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life” in schools, colleges, and higher education programmes and activities, as well as in non-formal educational initiatives. 
e)    Promotes an understanding of sustainability values, an appreciation of the Earth Charter vision, and fosters ethical leadership.

What is Education for Sustainable Development?

Read the Journal on ESD, September 2010; 4(2) issue, dedicated to the Earth Charter.  

Find more education materials in our Virtual Library!

Report of the World Conference of ESD, Japan 2014--end of the UN Decade of ESD

Report on the Second UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education, Paris 2015

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