Geography for geographers

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates

Last year, the Commission on Geographical Education (CGE) published an International  Charter on Geographical Education.  This imposing tome fails the real-world test at the first hurdle.  Despite this being a 2016 publication, there is only one reference to the SDGs.  This is in a section saying that the Charter is "supportive of the principles" set out in:

  •  the Charter of the United Nations
  • the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  • the Constitution of UNESCO
  • the UNESCO Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Cooperation and Peace
  • the Declaration on the Rights of the Child
  •  the UN Sustainable Development Goals; and
  • many national curricula and statements on geographical education.

There are affirmations and proclamations galore, and an action plan, but just one mention of the SDGs.  To me, this illustrates the un-worldliness of the thing: written by international geographers for international geographers.  How are we supposed to take this seriously when it’s clearly about geography, rather than the state of the world?  Try looking up “poverty” or “justice” and see what you get. I’ll spare you the trouble: one mention and zero mentions, respectively.

Wake up geographers; there's a whole world out there not waiting for you to see your relevance to it.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates


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  • Oh, I dunno. I'm fresh back from the annual AAG meeting here in the States - itself quite the international affair - that contained quite a bit of poverty and justice discourse:

    I've found geography to be quite engaged in these issues. Far more than other fields.

  • Kate Raworth's new book gives a central place to the SDGs as well as planetary boundaries in her 'doughnut economics' for the 21st century as do her several other outlets such as the RSA video. An Oxford economist well ahead of many geographers?