Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting Strengthens Inter-RCE Collaboration Towards Global Agenda

The 12th Asia-Pacific RCE Regional Meeting was held in Hangzhou, China from 4th to 6th June, 2019, and included a Symposium on ‘Enabling a Low-Carbon Society through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)’ on 5th June, followed by thematic workshops and a field trip on 6th June. It was held in conjunction with side events and SDGs shows on 4th and 5th June, 2019.

The events were hosted by RCE Hangzhou, and was co-organised by the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS).

This year’s event, the first RCE Regional Meeting held in China, was attended by over 100 participants, with Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCEs) represented from all across the Asia-Pacific. Attendees came from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Vietnam, and the Republic of Korea.

The meeting aimed to strengthen inter-RCE collaboration through showcasing successful cases in ESD in the context of the SDGs and the GAP. In the keynote session presented by Ms. Ushio Miura, Programme Specialist, UNESCO Bangkok, participants were briefed on the discussion on the post-GAP framework, including a draft paper ‘Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs (ESD for 2030)’.

All RCEs made case presentations introducing their challenges and respective RCE’s responses and education strategies, from the viewpoint of implementing SDGs via local activities through ESD. Attendees also participated actively in discussions held via Breakout Sessions, covering the areas of 'Community', 'Schools and Youth', and 'Higher Education', with participants given the opportunity to explore further collaborative activities across RCEs towards the implementation of all SDGs, touching upon action plans of each RCE.

Discussions in some sessions produced possible future collaborations among RCEs, including mutual learning on low carbon and the expansion of Youth Challenges on Sustainable Development and joint strategies on integrating SDGs into curriculum at universities within RCEs in the region.

On the last day, workshops were conducted on ‘ESD and Rural Vitalization’, writing for future publications, and a reflection and planning session on RCEs and the SDGs, which provided RCE stakeholders with insights on how to understand the opportunities and challenges of SDGs and how to advance respective local activities through mutual learning among RCEs.

A ‘silent wall’ discussion took place on the first few days, where participants were provided with a key question for the day, related to the SDGs or RCE network. The topics discussed were elaborated on in one of the workshops on day 3, which provided insights into attendees’ challenges in linking their community activities with achieving the SDGs and how the Global RCE Network could address this.

The workshops were followed by field trips led by RCE Hangzhou to explore the local city culture and the city’s primary schools. Participants were given the opportunity to see the importance of learning about, and acting towards sustainability for students and educators.

The Global RCE Service Centre wishes to thank the team at RCE Hangzhou for their wonderful support and efforts in making this event a success.

Outcomes from the meeting can be found here.

Photo credit: UNU-IAS