top of page



EDU Secretary-General agrees to sign Earth Charter

It is a constant joy for His Excellency Irving Levance, the Secretary-General of EDU, that his position at the head of an intergovernmental organization allows him partake of the company of distinguished world statesmen.

He took particular pleasure in having the opportunity to discuss world affairs with former United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, His Excellency Ruud Lubbers, who holds the record as the longest serving Prime Minister of the Netherlands and the record for the youngest person ever to occupy that office at the age of 43.


Originally educated as an Economist at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Ruud Lubbers has been a prominent figure in European and World politics since the 1970’s. Besides serving three successive terms as Prime Minister of the Netherlands, he also served as the Minister for Economic Affairs and as Parliamentary Speaker.

Mr. Lubbers demonstrated a tremendous insight into international affairs and the effects of globalization.

This was unsurprising since Globalization Studies was the subject which he taught as a professor at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in the United States during a five year hiatus from full-time politics.

The former Premier has a long standing commitment to environmental and ecological issues and is deeply engaged with the Earth Charter Initiative in cooperation with Mikhail Gorbachev and Maurice Strong.

Highly regarded in international circles as an elder statesman, Mr. Lubbers’ invaluable experience keeps him is in high demand both as an Informateur helping to shape coalition governments in the Netherlands and as a political and diplomatic commentator on world events.

A brief history of the Earth Charter Initiative


The World Commission on Environment and Development (known as "the Brundtland Commission") launched a Common Future Report with a call for a “new charter” to set “new norms” to guide the transition to sustainable development.


Maurice Strong (then Secretary-General of the Rio Summit and former Under Secretary of the United Nations) and Mikhail Gorbachev (former President of the Soviet Union) , working through organizations they each founded (Earth Council and Green Cross International respectively), launched an initiative (with the support from the Dutch Government) to develop an Earth Charter.


Rio+5 Forum, a first Benchmark Draft of the Earth Charter is released as a “document in progress”. Ongoing international consultations were encouraged and organized. 


After numerous drafts and after considering the input of people from all regions of the world, the Earth Charter Commission came to consensus on the Earth Charter in March, 2000, at a meeting held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The Earth Charter was later formally launched in ceremonies at The Peace Palace in The Hague.


The Earth Charter is now increasingly recognized as a global consensus statement. The Charter was also an important influence on the Plan of Implementation for the UNESCO Decade for Education on Sustainable Development.

The Secretary-General of EDU considered himself privileged to have been accorded so much of the former Prime Minister’s time as they discussed many topics, including;

European and Global political developments, the global economy, the social impact of changing demographics in Europe and the importance of the provision of continued education for refugees and displaced persons.



 As an individual endorser of the Earth Charter Initiative for many years, H.E. Irving Levance has agreed to sign EDU's formal commitment to the principles of the Charter.

lubbers (1).jpg

Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands playing the Earth Charter game

FOOTAGE:  H.E. Ruud Lubbers as the (then)  United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees promoting the Earth Charter Initiative

EDU - transparent.png
bottom of page