An Ethical Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals: Ruud Lubbers and the Earth Charter Initiative

By Fronika de Wit

On February 14, 2018, Dutch former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers passed away at the age of 78. Lubbers was the Netherlands youngest and longest-serving Prime Minister, governing the country between 1982 and 1994. When I received the news, I immediately remembered the time I had the chance to meet Mr. Lubbers in person. About 12 years ago, on January 28 2006, I was invited to a meeting of the newly established Earth Charter Youth Network. Ruud Lubbers was there to promote the Earth Charter: A declaration of fundamental principles for building a just, sustainable, and peaceful global society for the 21st century. When reading this definition nowadays, it is easy to draw a link with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As a tribute to Ruud Lubbers, this post compares the Earth Charter Principles with the SDGs, shows how they are complementary frameworks, and emphasizes how the SDGs could use Ruud´s Earth Charter as ethical inspiration.

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Um americano em Paris

Por Luísa Schmidt

Não foi surpresa. A desvinculação dos Estados Unidos da América do Acordo de Paris tinha sido anunciada e está em linha com a lamentável atitude política da fação extremista que tomou conta do Partido Republicano nos EUA.

A figura que a representa – Donald Trump – tentou fazer passar a ideia de que não está contra um Acordo, mas que pretende negociar os termos de modo mais favorável à América.

Protesto nos EUA contra Trump. Fonte: Julia DeSantis/Flickr

É um logro. A América é o país que mais emissões lançou para a atmosfera durante mais tempo. Querer negociar uma posição mais favorável para si é não só moralmente inaceitável como inviável. O mundo não é um subúrbio da América e os outros países não são uma ralé que o poder americano trata conforme entende.

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Is social science useful?

Este é o primeiro post da série “A utilidade das Ciência Sociais

Por Andy Inch

I’ll start by saying something that a relatively new member of an academic research group in a dedicated Institute of Social Sciences probably shouldn’t own up to but sometimes I’m not really sure of the value of academic social science research.

There, I’ve admitted it.

But I don’t think this is just a crisis of self-identity. Questions about the role and purpose of social research are vital, and perhaps have particular relevance to those of us working in more applied areas of the so-called social sciences. With budgets for research funding likely to come under increasing pressure across Europe, they are also likely to have much wider significance in the near future.

Like many others, I came to research out of a fuzzy belief that knowledge can improve society – this was underpinned by a set of equally fuzzy commitments to the creation of more socially just, democratic and environmentally sustainable ways of life. Unfortunately, steeped in the pseudo-scientific search for objectivity much ‘traditional’ social research still prefers to hide away any trace of such normative values. Shaped by increasing disciplinary specialization and the prevailing model of academic publishing, meanwhile, I worry that our practices often resemble a retreat from the complexities of the world rather than a serious attempt to engage with how we can play a part in changing it for the better.
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