Okayama University


Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy and a UNESCO Chair Holder Yokoi gets elected as a council member for the Earth Charter International

June 18, 2020

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the Earth Charter, a global declaration of ethical principles for building a just, peaceful, and sustainable society in the 21st century. Last year November, the Earth Charter’s declaration was officially adopted by UNESCO at their 40th General Conference as an ethical framework for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

More recently, the organization behind the Earth Charter, known as the Earth Charter International or ECI, elected Okayama University’s Vice President for Global Engagement Strategy and a UNESCO Chair Holder YOKOI Atsufumi to its council.

ECI is based at the United Nations mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica in Central America, but leaders from across the globe have served as members of its council, including former prime ministers and presidents, UN representatives, international organization members, government officials, as well as world-renowned thinkers, scholars, educators, environmental activists, and social innovators. Vice President Yokoi joins the ranks with other notable Japanese council members, including former Director General of the Environment Agency HIRONAKA Wakako (former member) and former International Labour Organization (ILO) Reginal Director HORIUCHI Mitsuko (current member). His 3-year term of office will commence on June 1, 2020.

In December 2019, President MAKINO Hirofumi and Vice President Yokoi, a UNESCO Chair Holder visited UPEACE and ECI and have reached an agreement to promote UNESCO’s “ESD for 2030” vision by integrating ESD goals with the Earth Charter’s ethical principles. As the UNESCO Chair Holder of Research and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Vice President Yokoi contributes significantly to the progress and integration of ESD and SDGs both locally and internationally. The ECI council recognised Vice President Yokoi’s contribution and his unceasing dedication to making sustainable society a reality. Not only has he forged meaningful partnerships with UN agencies and other international organisations to promote global engagement with the SDGs while emphasizing youth involvement, but he is also a driving force behind Okayama University’s management of SDGs.

Upon accepting his council position, Vice President Yokoi stated that, “these days, everyone is very concerned with the SDGs and they often demand decisive action. However, it is important to share the ethics informing our judgements and actions. As discussions regarding the uncertainty of the world after the coronavirus pandemic become more prevalent, I believe that the Earth Charter will become indispensable”.

As a research university that actively promotes the SDGs, Okayama University seeks to provide positive and concrete solutions to global issues that are in line with the Earth Charter’s 2020 slogan “Turning Conscience to Action" while also practically considering what it will mean to live in a post-coronavirus world.