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Ecovillage Initiative for Achieving the SDGs
Description/achievement of initiative

We invite governments, UN agencies, businesses and other stakeholders to join us in developing and using an ecovillage approach to eradicate poverty, restore the natural environment, and ensure that all people’s basic human needs can be met. Ecovillage communities are among the most sustainable of communities on the planet. They typically use locally sourced materials, create green buildings, rely on sustainable infrastructure and appropriate technology, focus on restoring and protecting the natural environment, and make use of SCP practices - producing and eating organic vegetarian foods; sharing tools, equipment, and appliances; and adopting resource efficient practices, etc.

Implementation methodologies

Our programmes and initiatives focus on three lines of work: 1. Community-based Ecovillage Transition: Identify local change-makers and inspirational communities to become hubs for Climate Change adaptation and mitigation. Work through locally owned, participatory processes to design a pathway into the future, which combines the best solutions in all 4 areas of economy, ecology, social and cultural while focus on reversing global warming, reducing poverty, and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We are working to establish a number of ‘model’ ecovillage resource and training centres/hubs (or Lighthouse Ecovillages) whose primary vocation will be to share skills, knowledge and best practices. 2. Green Schools for Sustainable Communities: Schools as entrance points to communities. It is in schools that we find the next generation of leaders - schools are places whether the future and the present meet. As schools become demonstration sites for appropriate technologies for climate change adaptation, they become hubs from where these new approaches can spread. 3. Through an Adaptive Governance Cycle, such approaches can be scaled up to become regional and national programs for Ecovillage Transition: Spreading information on government programs like in Senegal, where the government is aiming to transition 14.000 traditional villages to ecovillages. Inspiring other local and national authorities to consider following such examples, while building ecovillages on the ground that can inspire whole countries to transition to resilience. GEN draws on the development and use of many forms of capital (social, cultural, material, awareness raising, relationship building, etc. to advance our development activities and objectives. See: http://www.appleseedpermaculture.com/8-forms-of-capital/

Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer

GEN has developed many tools and resources that can be used to support and contribute to Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer. The Ecovillage Design Education Curriculum and Training Programs which have been carried out and instituted in more than 40 countries provide detailed training in adopting best practices covering all of the SDGs. Such courses can range from mini-courses that run for a week to the full 4 week course which is quite intensive and runs all day. Each course is specifically designed to address the particular circumstances and needs of the local communities or bio-region. Consultants and development experts are brought in from both the surrounding region or the broader global community to lead different parts of the training and skill areas.

Coordination mechanisms/governance structure

GEN has an International Board, a General Assembly, an International Steering Committee, Regional Boards on each Continent, and Working Groups that coordinate its activities, programs and organizational development. Each of the ecovillage communities in GEN also has its own governing body and working committees that coordinate and carry out the activities of the community. Many of the communities develop various types of management plans. Most of them have developed vision and mission statements, bylaws, strategic and development plans, etc. as has GEN as a whole. GEN is in the early stages of developing two cross-sectoral multi-stakeholder partnerships. One is an EmerGENcies Program focusing on climate change adaptation, responses and preparedness for climate disasters, and creating resilient regenerative communities for refugee populations and displaced people, etc. The other is a Pan-African Ecovillage Development Programme which we hope to expand over time into a global programme. It will focus on assisting existing communities to adopt more sustainable practices and on scaling up and replicating what is already being done successfully in ecovillage communities around the continent. As these programs are developed they will each have their own oversight and governing structures; but will be under the direction and supervision of GEN International.


Global Ecovillage Network; GAIA Education; GAIA University; GAIA Trust; Ecolise; SCOPE; Goddard College; Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development; Sustainable Innovation for Resilient Communities (SIRCle); and the Solution Library. Also several thousand ecovillage communities in more than 110 countries around the world; and Small and Medium Size Enterprises and other businesses located at various ecovillages.
Progress reports
Goal 11
11.1 - By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
11.3 - By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
11.4 - Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
11.b - By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
11.c - Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials
Thousands of communities that are helping to achieve the SDGs in a holistic integrated manner.
Hundreds of ecovillage communities that have a net negative carbon footprint.
Providing an exemplary model for how small, rural and impoverished urban communities can become as sustainable as possible.
Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages that have learned about and are adopting more sustainable ways of living lightly on our planet home.
In-kind contribution
GEN and it’s networks of ecovillages have applied for and received substantial funding for many different ecovillage projects and initiatives. We intend to apply for major funding to develop and roll out our EmerGENcies and PanAfrican Ecovillage Developm
Other, please specify
GEN has also developed self-governing Ecovillage Networks on all of the continents and in many countries which can work with governments and other stakeholders and help in the development of implementation projects. We often hold conferences on various co
Staff / Technical expertise
In addition, we can provide access to expert consultants and trainers who have contributed to the building of sustainable, ecological regenerative and resilient communities using community owned and based processes and adopting and demonstrating best prac
Other, please specify
The most valuable resource that GEN has to offer is our thousands of ecovillage communities and demonstration sites that are exemplary models for implementing the SDGs in a truly integrated and holistic manner - across the 3 (or we would say 4 including a

Basic information
Time-frame: On-going - On-going
Global Ecovillage Network; GAIA Education; GAIA University; GAIA Trust; Ecolise; SCOPE; Goddard College; Heliopolis University for Sustainable Development; Sustainable Innovation for Resilient Communities (SIRCle); and the Solution Library. Also several thousand ecovillage communities in more than 110 countries around the world; and Small and Medium Size Enterprises and other businesses located at various ecovillages.
Contact information
Mena Vieira, Executive Secretary and Personal Assistant to the Executive Director , mena.vieira@ecovillage.org
United Nations