IEF course proposal for Rio+20

Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 16. March 2012 - 15:45

Among the many activities planned at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012, the secretariat is organizing SDlearning courses in the main conference venue for delegates and other participants, and proposals for courses were solicited from all accredited organizations ( IEF submitted a proposal for a course on Values-based Leadership for Sustainability - Concepts and Capabilities which is now on the official conference web site (…), where the public is invited to vote for their favorite course from the 69 proposed, with a deadline of 13 April 2012.

The short description of the IEF/EBBF/PERL/Wageningen University course is below.

Values based leadership for sustainability – concepts and capabilities

Implementation has always been the greatest challenge in following up major UN conferences (UNCHE, UNCED, WSSD and now UNCSD) and there is often a lack of political will to adopt the policies and actions that have been agreed upon. Motivation to change, whether individual behaviour or institutional direction, requires both intellectual understanding and emotional commitment. The strongest foundation for these is in attachment to ethical or moral principles that foster attitudes and qualities that can be expressed in practical terms in a number of well defined personal capabilities. Acquiring such capabilities within a conceptual framework for moral leadership is an essential means of implementation and particularly important for anyone in a position to be a leader for change. This course seeks to build capacity for leadership in transformational processes towards sustainable development and is organised and co-sponsored through multi-stakeholder collaboration between a scientific NGO (the International Environment Forum), a business NGO (the European Baha’i Business Forum), a research partnership (Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living) and the Public Administration and Policy Group of Wageningen University. It provides the rationale for capacity building in values-based leadership as essential for implementation and explains the moral leadership framework that has been developed at Nur University in Bolivia that includes training in a set of capabilities. The course will also present indicators that have recently been developed at the University of Brighton and the Charles University in Prague to evaluate values based capacity building as a possible tool for training in moral leadership.

Another course proposal with which IEF has been involved, an Introduction to Values-based Indicators has been submitted by Earth Charter International.

Introduction to Values-Based Indicators

The importance of ethical/spiritual values such as respect, integrity and justice in sustainable development is increasingly being recognised, but there is a lack of usable indicators because such values are regarded as intangible and impossible to measure. An EU-funded project led by the University of Brighton, UK (in partnership with Charles University Environment Center, the Earth Charter Initiative, and other civil society organizations) has recently succeeded in developing a set of localizable values-based indicators and guidelines for their application. These indicators can form a basis for shared understandings of value definitions, as the first stage in an iterative process of ‘values-based management’ which also incorporates monitoring & evaluation, reflection, strategic planning and transformative action. This interactive course will: introduce participants to the concept and potential of values-based indicators; empower them to use the existing indicator set as a template to create their own customized indicators within their own projects, institutions or communities, in partnership with colleagues; and encourage and enable them to initiate effective multi-stakeholder dialogues, using the customized indicators to build shared understandings of values and how they are lived. Drawing on the real-world experiences and aspirations of participants, we will explore ways in which values-based indicators might be used to support the implementation of Rio+20 conference decisions. We aim to extend our dynamic community of practice in which individuals interested in applying the indicators in their own contexts can share insights, learn from one another, and receive advice from expert consultants.

The secretariat will finally decide which courses will be offered during the conference.