Tribute to Rudolphus Franciscus Marie “Ruud” Lubbers (7 May 1939 – 14 February 2018)

It is with deep sadness that we learnt about the passing of Mr. Ruud Lubbers on 14 February 2018.

Ruud Lubbers

Rudolphus Franciscus Marie “Ruud” Lubbers was a friend and a mentor to many of us involved in the Earth Charter Initiative and in the sustainability movement. It is a great loss for the Earth Charter Initiative and to the world. We are hugely grateful for his leadership and active engagement until a late stage in his life.

Mr. Lubbers was a very active Earth Charter Commissioner and great supporter of the movement stressing the importance of global environmental ethics and governance. He followed with interest the evolving process of putting environment protection and laws in the forefront of decision making and greatly valued the key role IUCN has been playing for years in this field.

As a political leader who embraced the deep ethical and spiritual dimensions of sustainable development, he was a unique voice emphasizing the importance to bring ethics to the world of business and politics. He had a sense of freedom and informality to speak with people and was especially comfortable in speaking his mind.

In the last few years of his public life, he often highlighted the importance of nurturing our spirituality and soul. At the Earth Charter+10 event in Ahmedabad, India in 2010, he said:

“We need to include Pneuma / Prana – i.e. spirituality in what we are doing and the way we address challenges. We … now realize that we should nourish ourselves with spirituality… We may even begin to speak about four ‘P’s: People, Planet, Profit and Pneuma”. (Pneuma is the ancient Greek word for “breath” and in a religious context for “spirit” or “soul”)

He often stressed the importance of understanding our responsibility to care for nature with a special concern for the needs of current and future generations, and of considering new participatory approaches in politics to realize the aspiration of sustainability, which in itself, as he used to say, requires the willingness and skills to engage, dialogue, and collaborate with different sectors: government, business and civil society sector. He repeated in several occasions:

“There is a need for complimentary governance. We have always considered politicians to govern and manage the common responsibilities and resources. However, the need is now to involve civil society into governance” (in 2010 at the Earth Charter+10 Conference in Ahmedabad, India).

Herewith we share with you some photos, writings and videos of him.

May his soul rest in peace.

Mirian Vilela
Executive Director
Earth Charter International


Ruud Lubbers Writings
Inspiration of Global Governance, Human Rights and the Earth Charter
The Earth Charter to Inspire Governance in Modernity – 2007
Address to the Nobel Peace Prize Centennial Symposium – 2001
A Just, Sustainable and Participatory Society – 1999

Ruud Lubbers Videos
Former PM of the Netherlands, Ruud Lubbers, discusses his involvement in the Earth Charter
Former PM of the Netherlands, Ruud Lubbers, discusses Sustainable Development and Leadership Presentation as UNHCR


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