Americas RCE Meeting Explores ESD, Conservation, and Climate Change Towards the 2030 Agenda

The 7th Americas Regional RCE Meeting, hosted by RCE Cuenca del Plata, was held in Posadas, Argentina from 24-27 October, 2018 under the theme ‘ESD, Conservation and Climate Change in the 2030 Agenda’. Bringing together ten RCEs from seven countries and over 300 local participants from across the Americas region, in addition to RCE candidates and representatives from UNDP in Paraguay and Argentina and UNESCO in Santiago, Chile, this year’s meeting was the largest Americas Regional RCE Meeting to date.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) took a central role as regional and local governments, UN organisations from around Latin America, NGOs, and members of the private sector came together to discuss how to best implement all 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the provincial and local level.

Participants from RCEs around the Americas presented ESD projects that they had been working on over the last year, focusing on education for wetland conservation, integrating the SDGs into teacher training, and human rights within Agenda 2030. This included RCE Cuenca del Plata’s project on education for native biodiversity to mitigate climate change, with the ambition to teach the planting and care of native trees while simultaneously preserving and raising awareness of native biodiversity within the Americas.

Other notable projects and achievements include RCE Georgetown being awarded an operating grant for implementing its climate change adaptation project as well starting its UN Global Youth Corps. RCE Bogotá discussed their ESD initiative to incorporate climate change issues into teacher training at the university level, in addition to encouraging young people within their RCE to develop action research projects in relation to teaching about mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

The RCEs in attendance agreed to move forward on four issues together as a continental community: creating a regional RCE youth group (similar to the youth network among the Asia-Pacific RCEs); creating a database of educational material on planting and care of native flora; stocktaking of the current state of community inclusivity; and professional development of university educators on ESD. Focal points for the initiatives in the order they are listed are RCE Georgetown, RCE Cuenca del Plata, RCE Greater Atlanta, and RCE Bogotá.

This meeting marked the first meeting of RCEs in the Americas where national government representatives were present (directly from the president of Argentina’s office), as well as representatives from different UN organisations within the region. The meeting was also held back-to-back with Posadas 2030, an event co-organised by RCE Cuenca del Plata and the provincial Ministry of the Environment in order to begin implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in the Misiones Province of Argentina.

The Global RCE Service Centre wishes to thank the team at RCE Cuenca del Plata for their efforts and superb organisation in making this event a success.

Outcomes from the meeting can be found here. Photos from the meeting have also been uploaded on Facebook here.

Photo credits: RCE Greater Atlanta (top left), RCE Curitiba (bottom right)