EC+10 beginsx amidst great enthusiasm
At the Inaugural- A Prayer to the Universe :

Translation

Hymn for Peace
That (Eternal) is infinite, and this (universe) is infinite.
The infinite proceeds from the infinite
(Then) taking the infinitude of the infinite (universe),
It remains as the infinite (Brahman) alone.
Om  ! Peace! Peace! Peace!

Shanti Mantras always end with three utterances of word "Shanti" which means "Peace". The reason for uttering the word three times is to calm and remove obstacles in three realms which are:
"Physical" or AdhiBhautika,
"Divine" or AdhiDaivika
and "Internal" or Adhyaatmika

The Inauguration
The International Conference on ‘Ethical Framework for a Sustainable World' was formally inaugurated by the Honourable Governor of Gujarat,Smt. Kamalaji on 1st November, 2010, at the Centre for Environment Education.

The Conference is being held to commemorate the 10 th year of the Earth Charter initiative. The Earth Charter is a declaration of fundamental ethical principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful global society.

Plenary One – Inauguration
Nov 1, 2010, 9:30 am – 10:30 am
A warm welcome by Kartikeya Sarabhai, Director, CEE “The lush green Centre for Environment Education, the venue for the Earth Charter +10, that all delegates present here are enjoying, has a little story to tell. Spread over an area of 14 acres, it is both an office space for three institutions of Nehru Foundation for Development and a small forest. About 35 years ago this same place was a barren stabilized sand dune. With a little protection and care, the barren lands regenerated into a small forest teaming with wildlife. More than 60 bird species and varied species of other animals can be spotted on this campus.”
With this example, Kartikeya Sarabhai told of how with a little support and protection, nature's regenerative capacity is powerful enough to transform once barren land into a thriving and verdant ecosystem teeming with life. Mr Sarabhai welcomed all participants and hoped that the conference would generate a range of positive outcomes in taking the Earth Charter forward.

Introduction to the Conference

Ms Mirian Vilela (Exe. Director, EarthCharter International) informed the gathering that during this year EC +10 events have been held in different regions of the world. She hoped that there would be a good exchange of ideas during the three days of the conference that would help develop the vision and the roadmap for the next decade.

Conference Address

Amit Khare, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India .

Shri Amit Khare told the gathering that sustainable development for India meant taking a development path that included making the right choices towards sustainability.
Human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations.
These are the two underlying principles of Government of India in taking the sustainable development path.
Recognizing that the journey towards sustainable development cannot be undertaken without addressing the socio-economic dimensions apart from environmental concerns, the Indian Government has focused on a multi-pronged strategy for ensuring the overall growth and well-being of the people by focusing on sustained livelihood, right to food and work as well as access to basic health, nutrition and education
Policy initiatives and programmes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), National Rural Health Mission (NHRM), Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) and poverty alleviation programmes have been launched. It is also reflected in the historic “Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009” that has come into effect from 1st April 2010.

Plenary Two – Earth Charter
Nov 1, 2010, 11:00 am – 12:45 am
Keynote address - Steven Rockefeller
Co-Chair, Earth Charter

Professor Steven Rockefeller, who chaired the drafting committee of the Earth Charter said that humanity has the potential to build a well ordered world and community to create a promising future. In order to realize this possibility, the world needed to come together and cooperate as never before and make the hard choices necessary to redirect the course of events.
Mr.Rockefeller shared some reflections on the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the Earth Charter in his address.
He added that the Earth Charter remains profoundly relevant to educate global citizens to build a sustainable world community.
He further discussed that interrelated social, economic and environmental dimensions of Sustainable Development — are often described as the three pillars of Sustainable Development. But there is a fourth Pillar — the global ethical and spiritual consciousness that is now awakening in civil society around the world and finding expression in the Earth Charter. He emphasized that this global ethical consciousness in truth should be the first pillar of a sustainable way of life.
The Earth Charter recognizes the ethical, spiritual as well as the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of the Sustainable Development challenge.
Ethics is marked by insightful assent to human values, whereas moralism is blind obedience; ethics is transmitted with informed persuasion, rather than enforced with absolute interdicts.
It is the ethical and spiritual vision in the Earth Charter that illuminates the deeper challenge inherent in the concept of sustainable human development as a guiding socioeconomic ideal.

Discussion 1 - Sudarshan Iyengar
Vice Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapeeth

Dr. Sudarshan Iyengar stressed the need to consider renunciation as a key value that will help us to adjust ourselves to the changes occurring in our environment. He pointed out that the current process of scientific inquiry uses an objective approach and a value-neutral attitude which makes it consider “profit” as an indicator of success while at the same time adopting “hard engineering approaches” as the way to development. He pointed to the ‘khadi ' shirt he was wearing explaining that the khadi fabric and the process of its making (hand spun and hand woven) which was promoted by Mahatma Gandhi himself, was an eco-friendly and ethically appropriate example of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Discussion 2 - Razeena Omar
Earth Charter International Council

Razeena Omar from the Earth Charter International Council endorsing the viewpoints of the speakers, stressed on the need for collective responsibility.

EC+10 for the very first time holds a two –way interactive Video Conference
Dr. Ashok Khosla, President, IUCN and Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director General, IUCN joined the conference virtually from Geneva . Appreciating the technology that enabled voices to be heard across the globe, Dr. Khosla gave the audience an insight into the conceptualization and drafting of the Earth Charter. Ms. Julia Marton spoke of how all IUCN programmes incorporated the principles of the Earth Charter.

Talk of the Town – Speakers at EC+10

Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp , Netherlands
Commissioner of the Earth Charter and prominent human rights activist will initiate the discussion on Threads of Sustainability on 3 rd Nov'10 at the Gandhi Ashram at 9:40 am
Rabbi Soetendorp has, since 1968, been primarily involved with re-establishing Jewish congregations and restoring synagogues. He is also an ecologist and interfaith pioneer, member of the Islam- West Dialogue group of the World Economic Forum and Ambassador, Millennium Development Goals
Rabbi Soetendorp recently presided over the World's Union for Progressive Judaism (European Region) and is President of the Jewish Institute for Jewish Values.

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, India
Renowned spiritual leader and multi-faceteds humanitarian will speak on Threads of Sustainability on 3 rd Nov'10 at the Gandhi Ashram at 10:10 am
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is a man whose mission of uniting the world into one peaceful family has inspired millions of people worldwide. An icon of peace and champion of universal human values, Sri Sri seeks global peace through service and dialogue.

Youth @ the Conference
The ‘Youth Corner' near the CEE canteen was set up early in the day, displaying posters with thought-provoking and sensitizing messages for all to read. The Youth Center saw a good reaction from participants of all age groups who came forward to read and understand what the youth want, and also leave behind their encouraging messages. The youth got all of the visitors at the corner to put their thumbprint on a canvas that had a dying tree as a symbol of the present state of the environment, painted on it.

The youth attended ten workshops around a range of Earth Charter+10 themes.

NGC exhibition
National Green Corps (NGC) popularly known as 'a programme of eco-clubs' is being implemented nationwide by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), in the year 2001-2002. It is a unique programme that aims at building cadres of young children working towards environmental conservation for a more secure and sustainable planet. The programme has a reach of around 90,000 schools.
Some of the school children and teachers from NGC schools are exhibiting work done by their eco clubs near the Food Court area.

Yesterday Mirian Vilela, Executive Director of the Earth Charter International and Mr. Leonard Sonnenschein, President World Aquarium and Conservation for the Oceans Foundation visited the NGC exhibition yesterday.

Join the conversation :

 

Plenary 3 – Climate Change
Nov 1, 2010, 4.30 pm to 6.00 pm

The third Plenary of the Conference focused on the ethics of climate change. Chaired by Alexander Likhotal of Green Cross International, the session had several speakers from industry, government and civil society presenting their viewpoints.

Rini Dutta, a post graduate student from Gujarat University, shared ways of understanding the challenges and opportunities of climate change from the perspective of youth.
Focusing on energy efficiency, Prasad Menon of Tata Power emphasized the need to convince industry stakeholders and business owners about the long term benefits of addressing sustainability. Such an approach would enable the public to ultimately perceive industries as “neighbours by choice”.
Dr. S K Nanda, Secretary, Department of Forests, Government of Gujarat, highlighted the ethical principles of equity; ‘polluter pays' and the right to development and sustainability which need to be reflected in adaptation and mitigation programmes.
Professor Brendan Mackey of the Australian National University said that the Earth Charter can unblock the UNFCCC negotiations by resolving the ethically challenging questions, mostly concerning common but differentiated responsibilities.

Workshops @ EC+10
Workshop-1 School Education and Teacher Training
Moderators: Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair for ESD and Kim Corrigan, USA

The workshop focused on case studies and live examples, all of which highlighted the importance of good basic education that could be achieved by having well trained teachers, in order to create more responsible citizens for a better tomorrow.

Workshop-2 Higher Education: Towards a Responsible Future

Moderators: Jim Taylor (WESSA) and Alicia Jimenez, ECI Secretariat

The role of higher education in sustainable development was highlighted by the speakers at this workshop The panel present on Day 1 of the workshop included Jim Taylor, Alicia Jimenez, Amit Khare, Rick Clugston, Priyankar Upadhyaya and Praveen Bist. All speakers emphasized that sustainable development if taught at universities could create greater awareness among youth and help build a greener nation. India being a huge country with considerable diversity in terms of beliefs, languages, customs and traditions, the Earth Charter principles are both relevant and challenging. The youth as a group raised the question of how best to tackle this challenge to which the speakers at the workshop pointed to the connections between the Earth Charter and Gandhian principles as a starting point for such initiatives.

Workshop-6 The Earth Charter and Religion, Spirituality and Ethics

Moderators: Rick Clugston and Michael Slaby

The panel was diverse and included Buddhist, Jewish and Hindu representatives. The workshop began with an introduction from Mary Evelyn Tucker and Steven Rockefeller. Mr.Rockefeller spoke of how the Earth Charter principles are based on all religions, spirituality and ecology. He also talked about the lengthy deliberations that went into choosing the right language that would reflect the true spirit of the Charter.
The first speaker was Rabbi Soetendorp, who spoke about the value of and the need for repentance. This was followed by speakers who presented ecologically sustainable and ethical practices advocated by Buddhism. They also spoke of how thoughts lead to action, action leads to the formation of character and of how character leads you to your destiny.
The Youth have posed the following questions for tomorrow's workshop:
•  Discussion of the origin of different religions
•  Difference between spirituality and religion
•  Goals of different religions? Are they different? Do they say the same thing?
•  How can we (the youth) help?

Launch Pad
Earth Charter and Gandhi: Towards a Sustainable World by Kartikeya Sarabhai, Meena Raghunathan, Amishal Modi Venue – Sabarmati Ashram, 3rd Nov at 10:30 am

Excerpt from the Book “Earth Charter and Gandhi”:
The central concepts of sustainability like freedom, respect for all life, using resources wisely and within limits, eradication of poverty, empowerment, non violence, truth, consciousness of ends and means and trusteeship were principles that Mahatma Gandhi advocated and practiced. Gandhi considered humanity as one large family, he believed that dignity of work was as important as creating employment, and that conflict could not be solved by violence. He insisted that the spinning of khadi was as much about dignity of labour and decentralization of production as it was a means of employment. In short, principles of the Earth Charter were endorsed by Gandhi at least more than half a century ago. Steven Rockefeller, co-president of the Earth Charter International Council says that Gandhi's life and thought influenced the writing of the Earth Charter, which is a declaration of global interdependence and universal responsibility with fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable and peaceful world.” The book, The Earth Charter and Gandhi, lists quotations from Gandhi that address every principle of the Earth Charter. And again in the words of Rockefeller, “provides Earth Charter activists and proponents of sustainable development with an opportunity to reflect on how Gandhi's wisdom and nonviolent approach to social change can illuminate the way forward in the face of today's formidable environmental, economic and social challenges.”  
Tete-a-tete with Guests

Ruud Lubbers – Netherland

Ruud Lubbers is the former Prime Minister of The Netherlands (1982 – 1994). He is a member of the Earth Charter Commission and former president of World Wildlife Fund (1999-2001). From 1995 to 2000 he taught Globalization Studies at Tilburg University,
We caught up with him for a chat.

You've been associated with Earth Charter for a long time now. How do you think it has evolved over time?
For me the most important thing was that it was created. We came up with this idea in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro . It was a request of several people. We started with ecology but on consultation, they said that to protect the environment; we must protect the human beings as well. So this is also about preventing discrimination, promoting respect for people, and eradication of poverty. We concluded the document in 2000 and Earth Charter came into being. Since then we have done a lot of work. A large number of people and institutes have endorsed the Earth Charter like an education group from Costa Rica , various business partners for CSR, etc. We played a part in the UN Decade of Sustainable Development. So if you ask me how it has been for 10 years, I would say it's a celebration and I count my blessings.

And the way to go forward is…
I find it interesting that youth are getting interested in the Earth Charter. It is mainly the young people who will be shaping the world of tomorrow. Each of us can have a role to play. Each of us has a lot to do. We have various media dimensions to spread the word. Young people should join big organizations and companies and spread the message not by polarizing the issues; but by working together, understanding and giving substance and shape to a better world. We have to find better ways to combine several social initiatives. Young people are essential human capital. I think this is the way forward.

Personally, what did you want from this conference?
For me its mainly congratulations. I'm here to congratulate Kartikeya. It's a wonderful conference. If the outcome is a success for everyone then it's success for me too. It's also a good opportunity to relate again to India.

Charles Hopkins, Canada
Chair - UNESCO and Chair - United Nations University

How do you think the Earth Charter has evolved over time and how has the role of UNESCO also changed in that context?
I think that the Earth Charter is certainly becoming widely known. The development of an education kit that goes along with the Youth Charter is a very positive step. Now as for UNESCO I think the biggest help is the adoption of the Earth Charter as the first UN agency to do so. What we are now looking for is for the UN general assembly to actually address the earth charter and adopt it. This is something we all are looking forward to.

You mentioned the educational kit for youth. Can you talk about that?
There was a need for teachers to actually embed the Earth Charter into their classroom teaching because most of the teachers around the world already find their day very full. So there had to be ways of trumpeting the content of the Earth Charter to fit into the prescribed curriculum in each country. So the Earth Charter commissioned an educational kit to help teachers and that has proven to be very good. Its up on the web, people can download it and now they have people working in different countries conducting workshops for teachers, many of them led by teachers themselves, who acknowledge how useful it is.

What are your recommendations for the progress of the Earth Charter in the next decade?
Well I think there are several goals for the Earth Charter and one is to develop national or regional groups to promote it. It was written by the people so it shall be adopted by the people and it has to be promoted by the people who believe in it. But there are some things that would really help and one is the civil society in every country who could get it to the point where their national governments would feel it safe enough to adopt it. That and to adopt it at the UN General Assembly. I think that would be a tremendous goal for the next ten years.

And what are your expectations from the discussions?
Well I think there are several expectations, but my personal expectation is to try and learn from people who are in the workshop and I am sharing thoughts on how to embed the values and ethics of the Earth Charter in teacher education programs. I am hoping to get some ideas from the people in workshop about how you approach ideas and values, what are the current values that are already there in the education system that we aren't aware of, how do you talk about these embedded values and so I am really looking forward to the next few days.

Cultural Mélange

Fabulous Simbiosis concert by Manuel Obregón, Costa Rican Minister of Youth & Culture

Credits:
Editing:
Prithi Nambiar

Contributions:
Shailaja Ravindranath, Mamta Pandya, Rajeshwari Namagari Gorana, Kiran Chhokar, Dr. MJ Ravindranath and Preeti Rawat, Simanta Kalita and Ishwar Poojar, R. Gopichandran ,Praveen Prakash,Meena Nareshwar, Aparna Nahar, Sangeeta Rane, Shekhar Kanagali, Shriji Kurup, Shraddha Ganwani, Geetarthi Sharma

Design & Layout:
Jogendra Singh Rajora,Sangeeta Rane, Biji Nair

Photographs:
Mahendra Khalasa, Nimisha Misra, Chehek Bilgi, Sangeeta Rane, Shekher Kanagali