5th African RCE Conference, Report on RCE Members' Session

Meeting brief on RCE members' session, 15 October, 2015

by David Ongare, NEMA

edited by Hanna Stahlberg, UNU-IAS

The African RCE Conference took place on 14-16 October, 2015 in Entebbe, Uganda. With 32 participants from different parts of the African continent, the closed strategic RCE member session on day two of the conference was well attended. The three hour meeting (14:00-17:00) gave the opportunity to discuss several major items on the agenda.

First the experiences the different RCEs made while implementing UNESCO’s Global Action Programme (GAP) were exchanged. Here all RCEs committed in writing to disclose and affirm how they will implement the GAP. It was also discussed that mentorship and more guidance was needed in order to implement the GAP successfully. There could be much more knowledge-sharing among the RCEs and lessons learned.

The second agenda item, the African Youth Movement, was deliberated, and all participants agreed to formalize youth chapters and to organize a yearly continental youth conference. RCE Kano (Nigeria) agreed to host the first youth event and will closely work with UNU-IAS to make this a reality. A working group and a coordinator will be set up and the use of social media to promote and participate in the event was encouraged.

On the local level, RCEs would like to see a more speedy process to reach decisions. Research and development that produces evidence should be shared across Africa. In terms of fundraising the members would like to develop a continent-wide project proposal for support, with the possibility to explore funding from the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the United Nations Environment Programe (UNEP) and UN Habitat.

In terms of collaborations, the AU commission could be a possibility. It has created centers to stimulate innovation for the benefit of Africa through its vision 2063. The RCEs would like to link to this initiative, if possible. Other collaborative engagements were elaborated with strategic partners. It was decided that UNEP and AU should be notified of the RCEs interest. It was noted that the East African Union (EAC) adopted a resolution on ESD in 2014 which was communicated to all member states.

On a final and important note, policy dialogues were discussed. All agreed to develop a small two-page document on RCEs and their work to share with AU and EAC. Focus in policy dialogues should be on change-projects and the generation of policy briefs and proposals after each research project.

The RCEs also discussed the annual reporting feature on the RCE Portal. Considering, the report compilation is a group effort, it can be slow at times and more attention should be paid to projects that can be submitted. Students could assist with the report to make it easier to compile and submit the necessary information.

At the end of the meeting, possible locations for next year’s African RCE meeting were proposed.