NGO Documents for the Earth Summit, 1992
Non-Governmental Organization Alternative Treaties
at the '92 Global Forum
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Treaty 5. Treaty on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and
This treaty, as in education, is a dynamic process and should therefore promote
reflection, debate and amendments.
1. We signatories, people from all parts of the globe, are devoted to protecting life
on earth and recognize the central role of education in shaping values and social action.
We commit ourselves to a process of educational transformation aimed at involving
ourselves, our communities and nations in creating equitable and sustainable societies. In
so doing we seek to bring new hope to our small, troubled, but still beautiful planet.
2. We consider that environmental education for equitable sustainability is a
continuous learning process based on respect for all life. Such education affirms values
and actions which contribute to human and social transformation and ecological
preservation. It fosters ecologically sound and equitable societies that live together in
interdependence and diversity. This requires individual and collective responsibility at
local, national and planetary level.
3. We consider that preparing ourselves for the required changes depends on advancing
collective understanding of the systemic nature of the crises that threaten the world's
future. The root causes of such problems as increasing poverty, environmental
deterioration and communal violence can be found in the dominant socio-economic system.
This system is based on over-production and over-consumption for some and
under-consumption and inadequate conditions to produce for the great majority.
4. We consider that inherent in the crisis are an erosion of basic values and the
alienation and non-participation of almost all individuals in the building of their own
future. It is of fundamental importance that the world's communities design and work out
their own alternatives to existing policies. Such alternatives include the abolition of
those programs of development, adjustment and economic reform which maintain the existing
growth model with its devastating effects on the environment and its diverse species,
including the human one.
5. We consider that environmental education should urgently bring about change in the
quality of life and a greater consciousness of personal conduct, as well as harmony among
human beings and between them and other forms of life.
Some Principles Of Environmental Education For Equitable And Sustainable
6. Education is the right of all; we are all learners and educators.
7. Environmental education, whether formal, non-formal or informal, should be grounded
in critical and innovative thinking in any place or time, promoting the transformation and
construction of society.
8. Environmental education is both individual and collective. It aims to develop local
and global citizenship with respect for self-determination and the sovereignty of nations.
9. Environmental education is not neutral but ideological. It is a political act.
10. Environmental education must involve a holistic approach and thus an
interdisciplinary focus in the relation between human beings, nature and the universe.
11. Environmental education must stimulate solidarity, equality and respect for human
rights involving democratic strategies and an open climate of cultural interchange.
12. Environmental education should treat critical global issues, their causes and
interrelationships in a systemic approach and within their social and historical contexts.
Fundamental issues in relation to development and the environment, such as population,
health, peace, human rights, democracy, hunger, degradation of flora and fauna, should be
perceived in this manner.
13. Environmental education must facilitate equal partnerships in the processes of
decision-making at all levels and stages.
14. Environmental education must recover, recognize, respect, reflect and utilize
indigenous history and local cultures, as well as promote cultural, linguistic and
ecological diversity. This implies acknowledging the historical perspective of native
peoples as a way to change ethnocentric approaches, as well as the encouragement of
15. Environmental education should empower all peoples and promote opportunities for
grassroots democratic change and participation. This means that communities must regain
control of their own destiny.
16. Environmental education values all different forms of knowledge. Knowledge is
diverse, cumulative and socially produced and should not be patented or monopolized.
17. Environmental education must be designed to enable people to manage conflicts in
just and humane ways.
18. Environmental education must stimulate dialogue and cooperation among individuals
and institutions in order to create new lifestyles which are based on meeting everyone's
basic needs, regardless of ethnic, gender, age, religious, class, physical or mental
19. Environmental education requires a democratization of the mass media and its
commitment to the interests of all sectors of society. Communication is an inalienable
right and the mass media must be transformed into one of the main channels of education,
not only by disseminating information on an egalitarian basis, but also through the
exchange of means, values and experiences.
20. Environmental education must integrate knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and
actions. It should convert every opportunity into an educational experience for
21. Education must help develop an ethical awareness of all forms of life with which
humans share this planet, respect all life cycles and impose limits on humans'
exploitation of other forms of life.
Plan Of Action
The organizations that sign this Treaty will implement policies to:
22. Turn the declarations of this Treaty and of other Treaties produced by the
conference of citizens' groups during the Rio 92 process into documents for use in formal
education systems and in education programs of social movements and social organizations.
23. Work on environmental education for sustainable societies together with groups that
draft other Treaties approved during Rio 92.
24. Make comparative studies of the treaties of citizens' groups and those produced by
the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and use the
conclusions in educational activities.
25. Work on the principles of this Treaty from the perspective of local situations,
necessarily relating them to the state of the planet, creating a consciousness for
26. Promote knowledge, policies, methods and practices in all areas of formal, informal
and non-formal environmental education and for all age groups.
27. Promote and support training for environmental conservation, preservation and
management, as part of the exercise of local and planetary citizenship.
28. Encourage individuals and groups to take positions, and institutions to make
policies, that constantly review the coherence between what is said and what is done, as
well as the values of our cultures, traditions and history.
29. Circulate information about people's wisdom and memory, and support and inform
about appropriate initiatives and technologies in relation to the use of natural
30. Promote gender co-responsibility in relation to production, reproduction and the
maintenance of life.
31. Stimulate and support the creation and strengthening of ecologically responsible
producers' and consumers' associations, and commercial networks, that provide ecologically
32. Sensitize populations so that they establish Peoples' Councils for Environmental
Management and Ecological Action to research, discuss, inform and decide on environmental
problems and policies.
33. Create educational, judicial, organizational and political conditions to guarantee
that governments allocate a significant part of their budgets to education and the
34. Promote partnership and cooperation among non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
social movements and the UN agencies United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) and others at national, regional and international levels to jointly
set priorities for action in education, environment and development.
35. Promote the creation and strengthening of national, regional and international
networks for joint action between organizations of the South, North, East and West with a
planetary perspective (e.g. foreign debt, human rights, peace, global warming, population,
36. Ensure that the media becomes an educational instrument for the preservation and
conservation of natural resources presenting a plurality of views and reliable and
contextualized information; and stimulate the broadcasting of programs generated by local
37. Promote an understanding of the causes of consumerist behavior and act to change
practices and the systems that maintain them.
38. Search for self-managed, economically and ecologically appropriate alternatives of
production which contribute to an improvement in the quality of life.
39. Act to eradicate sexist, racist and any other prejudices, as well as contribute to
the promotion of cultural diversity, territorial rights and self-determination.
40. Mobilize formal and non-formal institutions of higher education in support of
teaching, research and extension towards the community in environmental education, and the
creation in each University of interdisciplinary centers for the environment.
41. Strengthen social organizations and movements in order to enhance the exercise of
citizenship and an improvement in the quality of life and the environment.
42. Assure that ecological organizations popularize their activities and that
communities incorporate ecological issues in everyday life.
43. Establish criteria for the approval of education projects for sustainable
societies, discussing social priorities with funding agencies.
Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation Systems
All signatories of this Treaty agree to:
44. Distribute and promote the Treaty on Environmental Education for Sustainable
Societies and Global Responsibility in all countries, through joint campaigns by NGOs,
social movements and others.
45. Stimulate and create organisations and groups of NGOs and social movements to
initiate, implement, follow and evaluate the elements of this Treaty.
46. Produce materials to publicize this Treaty and its unfolding into educational
action, in the form of texts, educational materials, courses, research, cultural events,
media programs, fairs of popular creativity, electronic mail and other means.
47. Form an international coordination group to give continuity to the proposals in
48. Stimulate, create and develop networks of environmental educators.
49. Ensure the 1st Planetary Meeting of Environmental Education for Sustainable
Societies is held within three years.
50. Coordinate action to support social movements which are working for improving the
quality of life, extending effective international solidarity.
51. Foster links between NGOs and social movements to review their strategies and
programs on environment and education.
Groups to be Involved
This Treaty is aimed at:
52. Organizations of social movements ecologists, women, youth, farmers and unions,
neighborhood, ethnic and artistic groups and others.
53. NGOs committed to grassroots social movements.
54. Professional educators interested in establishing programs related to environmental
issues in formal education systems and other educational activities.
55. Those responsible for the mass media who are ready to accept the challenge of
openness and democracy, thus initiating a new concept of mass communication.
56. Scientists and scientific institutions that take ethical positions and are
sympathetic to the work of social movements and organizations.
57. Religious groups interested in working with social organizations and movements.
58. Local and national governments able to act in tune and in partnership with the aims
of this Treaty.
59. Business people committed to working within a rationale of recovery, conservation
and improvement of the environment and the quality of life.
60. Alternative communities that experience new lifestyles in harmony with the
principles and aims of this Treaty.
All signatories of this Treaty are committed to:
61. Allocate a significant part of their resources to the development of educational
programs related to an improvement of the environment and quality of life.
62. Demand that governments allocate a significant percentage of Gross National Product
to supporting programs of environmental education in all sectors of public administration,
with the direct participation of NGOs and social movements.
63. Propose economic policies that stimulate business to develop and apply appropriate
technology and create environmental education programs for the community and as part of
64. Encourage funding agencies to prioritize and allocate significant resources to
environmental education and ensure its presence in projects they approve wherever
65. Contribute to the formation of a cooperative and decentralized global banking
system for NGOs and social movements that will use part of its resources for educational
programs and at the same time be an exemplary exercise in using financial resources.
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