Issue #48: June 2015

RCE Logo

Issue 48: June 2015


Message from the Global RCE Service Centre:


Dear colleagues and friends,

Humid summer greetings from UNU-IAS!

We warmly welcome two new RCE members that have joined our network: RCE Port Harcourt, Nigeria and RCE Tirupati, India. At the same time we would like to inform you, that RCE Greater Western Paris will now be RCE Paris Seine. You can find the updated RCE World Map on the RCE Portal.

We would also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Philip Vaughter, our new research fellow in the ESD Programme. Philip joined our team at UNU-IAS, beginning of June. A native to Minnesota in the United States, he received an undergraduate degree in biology from Iowa State University, and a post-graduate degree in Environmental Sciences from University of Victoria in New Zealand before returning to Minnesota to complete his PhD in Conservation Biology with a focus on Environmental Policy.

Before joining UNU-IAS, he worked as a research fellow at York University, Canada. Here, his work focused on analyzing the synergies and obstacles in linking local, regional, and national education policies to UN policy objectives. He also investigated the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) promoting ESD through curriculum, research, practice, and inter-institutional networks. Philip has taught undergraduate and post-graduate courses in ecology, political science, sociology, and statistics during his graduate and professional career. Philip will work on the development of the ESD Programme, do research activities, and coordinate among partnerships such as the RCE Network and ProSPER.Net. He has a particular interest in climate change and disaster risk reduction. Please join us in welcoming Philip to Japan, the ESD team and the RCE Community!

We are also pleased to announce that RCE Okayama has been nominated as a project for the UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD. Within the framework of GAP, the UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD honours outstanding efforts of individuals, institutions, organisations or other entities engaged in ESD activities. RCE Okayama had been nominated as one of three cases by the Government of Japan. You can find more information here (in Japanese only).


Global RCE Service Centre

Upcoming Events


Events organised by UNU-IAS

ProSPER.Net-Scopus Young Scientist Award in Sustainable Development Symposium

27 July 2015
Yokohama, Japan

The Young Scientist Award (YSA) is given annually to young scientists and researchers, based in the Asia Pacific region, who have made significant contributions in the area of sustainable development. The YSA is organised annually by ProSPER.Net and Elsevier, and supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. The categories for this year are Energy, Water and Biodiversity. Panelists of each category will engage in a lively discussion and will also judge the work of the top finalists based on their final presentations, given on stage. Registrations for the event will open up during the first week of July. For further details, please visit ProSPER.Net.

The YSA Symposium is preceding the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific 2015 also in Yokohama.

ISAP 2015, Solutions for Change: Forging Multi-stakeholder Partnerships towards 2030

28-29 July, 2015
Yokohama, Japan

This year the International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific, organised by UNU-IAS and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) will focus on SDGs and Climate Change. The global community expects to reach two major milestones for climate change and sustainable development - future climate regime and sustainable development goals (SDGs) until 2030. Under the two major themes, ISAP2015 will focus on forging multi-stakeholder partnerships to enable a truly sustainable society. For more information please visit the RCE Portal.

Community-to-Community Exchange and Capacity Development Workshop for Traditional

28 September-4 October, 2015
Bangalore, India

The event is a collaboration between the multi-donor funded ABS Capacity Development Initiative, which is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, and UNU-IAS. It will provide an opportunity for sharing local experiences generated mainly across the African continent with community actors from India.

The event will include a three-day field visit and a subsequent reflection workshop, involving international experts as well as stakeholders from government, civil society, public research institutes and the private sector. The workshop will provide ample opportunity to discuss local examples of ABS and models for the conservation, protection and valorisation of traditional knowledge in various communities. For those who are interested in participating in the workshop, please visit the Traditional Knowledge Community on the RCE Portal.

Events organised by RCE members

2015 RCE Conference of the Americas

9-12 August, 2015
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

RCE Grand Rapids is honoured to host the RCE Conference of the Americas this year. The conference will provide a global platform that elevates the conversation around ESD, with a focus on the impact of water resources. Influential thinkers, researchers, authors, academics, and educators from the Americas and beyond are welcome to participate. Outcomes of the conference on ESD will impact and guide the implementation of future work of the RCEs.

For more details visit the conference website.You can register here. The deadline for financial assistance to attend this event has passed, but self-funded participants are still welcome to register. You can find more information on the RCE Portal.

Other Events

Asia-Pacific Leadership Programme on Environment for Sustainable Development (APLP)

21-25 September, 2015
Shanghai, China

The Asia-Pacific Leadership Programme on Environment for Sustainable Development is an annual flagship programme co-hosted by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Tongji University, aiming to build capacity for emerging leaders from the Asia Pacific region on holistic sustainability thinking and evidence based approaches for effective action. The Leadership Programme is organised by the Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD) at Tongji University, in support of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-14, and closely linked with the training pillar of the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES). Resource persons are drawn from the Regional University Consortium (RUC) in which UNU-IAS is a collaborating UN agency.

The Leadership Programme will provide participants from the Asia Pacific region an opportunity to improve all-round thinking and decision-making abilities of emerging leaders, representing governmental organisations, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector. The programme also aims at understanding and balancing the three key dimensions – human, environmental and social/economic – in promoting sustainable development. Finally the objective is to set up a platform for emerging leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to communicate and network with each other, while working together to address complex practical sustainable development challenges. For more information please visit the RCE Portal.

2nd International Conference on Learning Cities (ICLC)

28-30 September, 2015
Mexico City, Mexico

The International Conference on Learning Cities provides an opportunity for mayors, city education executives and experts from all over the world to communicate their expertise in building learning cities, learn from others’ experiences, forge partnerships and create synergies. The 1st conference, which was held in Beijing in 2013, culminated in the adoption of the Beijing Declaration on Building Learning Cities and the Key Features of Learning Cities.

The 2nd ICLC will mark a milestone in ‘Building Sustainable Learning Cities’ and make a significant contribution to the achievement of UNESCO’s post-2015 education agenda. Through a dynamic agenda of plenary sessions, parallel regional forums and a mayors’ forum, participants will expand their understanding of how to develop sustainable learning cities, strengthen partnerships and networks, and implement the Key Features of Learning Cities. For more information visit the RCE Portal.

Colloque International Eco - Campus 3

15-16 October, 2015
Paris, France

In January 2012, a conference organised jointly by the Conference des Presidents d’Université (CPU) and the Conference des Grandes Ecoles (CGE), was held at UNESCO. Entitled "Eco-campus - training and corporate social responsibility: strategies of transition from the European institutions of higher education", the symposium was designed to present the initiatives on corporate social responsibility of institutions of higher education at the European level. Due to the momentum generated by this event and the positive feedback, the conference is now being held for the third time.

Taking advantage of the opportunity of holding the COP21 in France in December 2015, it was decided to organise a third Eco-campus symposium slightly upstream of this great international event in order to assert the importance of the institutions of higher education as agents of climate change. Click here to view the full Programme.

The conference will be preceded by the HESI/KEDGE Business School event on the evening of Wednesday, 14 October, 2015: What happened since Rio 2012? More information on this event will be posted shortly on the RCE Portal.


Open Calls


New ProSPER.Net co-sponsored internship with the Global Compact Cities Programme and RMIT University

ProSPER.Net is excited to announce that it is currently developing a co-sponsored internship programme with the Global Compact Cities Programme and RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. This pilot collaboration will be based on two urban research focused internships for postgraduate students from ProSPER.Net universities in the Asia Pacific region. Interns will be based in a selected city government and assist that city with completing a Global Compact City Scan Assessment. The Cities Programme developed the City Scan, a diagnostic and reporting tool, in response to the need for city governments to effectively tackle critical urban issues in a holistic way using a simple process. Details on this internship in terms of duration, application procedure, financial arrangements and other will be posted during the month of July on ProSPER.Net.

Wenhui Award for Educational Innovation: Innovations for Skills Development for the Future

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) provided some answers to the question: what sorts of skills are needed to cope with continuous change, and how can these skills be developed? According to a recent survey, senior business executives agree that the top three skills their companies need are problem solving, team working and communication. Of some concern, however, is the perception of a skills gap in the workplace by 52% of the executives. Even among the 18-25 year olds surveyed, 56% believe that their education system is not providing them with the skills they need to enter the workforce, a view that is supported by 44% of teachers. The EIU report concludes that education must concern itself more with the development of skills to respond to rapidly changing situations.

Therefore, UNESCO Bangkok is calling for nominations of innovative educational approaches that may help to develop the skills needed for the 21st century in line with the theme of the 2015 Wenhui Award, Innovations for Skills Development for the Future. All applications must reach the Award Secretariat by 29 July 2015. Details about the Award are available here.


Latest News


Press Release: Home of RCEs in Asia Pacific" Grand opening of RCE Tongyeong Sejahtera Forest

Tongyeong City (Mayor Kim Dong Jin) and Tongyeong Education Foundation for Sustainable Development (Chairperson Park Eun Kyung) held the Opening Ceremony of RCE Tongyeong EcoPark & Sejahtera Centre for RCEs in Asia Pacific, newly named as "Sejahtera Forest", together with the 7th Tongyeong ESD International Forum on May 23 2015. The 248,000㎡ Park in Yongnam myeon, Tongyeong City has been constructed with the support from the Ministry of Environment, and is to become an education hub “Sejahtera Centre for Regional Centres of Expertise in the Asia-Pacific". Facilities at RCE Tongyeong Eco Park include creative learning spaces at the Centre, a vegetable farm, a sustainable technology playground, and wetlands. The Centre can host up to 3,000 people.

Over 700 participants and guests, including Alexander Leicht, Chief of ESD section at UNESCO, Mahesh Pradhan, Head of the Environmental Education and Training Unit of UNEP, Masao Omori, the Mayor of Okayama city, Japan and delegates from 17 RCEs in the Asia Pacific region and representatives of 10 ASEAN member states were present. To read the full release, please click here.

Review of RCE Severn

Celebrating its 8th year, RCE Severn has taken stakeholder feedback and undergone review by independent consultants NetPositive. Committed to continuous improvement, this was a timely review, incorporated into the University of Gloucestershire’s Promising Future Sustainability Strategy 2009–2015 review.

The review explored learnings of the past eight years, aiming to enhance the effectiveness and value of the RCE’s network. A panel of experts and peers contributed to this process considering findings of the review and identifying future pathways. RCE Severn’s catalytic role from the local to the international level was identified as a key success, having stimulated innovative thinking and practice in sustainability through brokering tangible partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders. It has hosted numerous forums and events on leading edge ESD topics and attracted hundreds of delegates. An on-going challenge for RCE Severn has been the depth of engagement from local partners. They are hoping to address this issue by building a culture of collaboration and partnerships for ESD.

2015 RCE Saskatchewan ESD Recognition Event

RCE Saskatchewan held its 7th annual ESD Recognition Event on May 6, 2015, at the University of Saskatchewan. For the third consecutive year, RCE Saskatchewan’s patron, Her Honour Vaughn Solomon Schofield, the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, joined Prof. Lyle Benko and Dr. Roger Petry, Co-coordinators of RCE Saskatchewan, in presenting award certificates to 24 deserving projects.

The event began with welcoming remarks by Dr. Ernie Barber, Provost and VP Academic of the University of Saskatchewan followed by the Lieutenant Governor who delivered her guest remarks. A total of 54 representatives gave a two-minute presentation on each project and accepted their award certificate. The projects covered a range of activities in form of both formal and non-formal education. Projects were undertaken by individuals, community groups, K-12 students, post-secondary institutions, NGOs and a crown corporation/state enterprise. Following the award presentations, several updates on RCE Saskatchewan initiatives were provided including the Interdisciplinary Action Research Team (IdArt; co-coordinated by Nwakaku Okere and Minsoo Cho), the recently concluded 1st Annual Student Sustainability Expo (hosted by the University of Saskatchewan), along RCE Saskatchewan's participation in the 9th Global RCE Conference in Japan

A forum was held focusing on the role of Higher Education and ESD entitled Best Practices in Collaboration in ESD with virtual participation from the UN University, the past Executive Director of AASHE, and representatives of 4 RCEs: RCE Grand Rapids, RCE Greater Sydney, RCE Greater Portland, and RCE Tongyeong. Attendees included senior leadership from the province’s post-secondary institutions along with morning participants. For more information and pictures of the event, please visit the RCE Portal.

ProSPER.Net SPC Learning Cases are now online!

The Sustainable Production and Consumption Learning Cases project draws inspiration from UNU-IAS’ annual offerings, since 2008, of the ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme on Sustainable Production and Consumption for government and private sector decision makers.

The main goal of the project was not only to provide resource materials for the ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme but also for other capacity building initiatives of UNU-IAS and partners on Sustainable Production and Consumption and related fields including those offered by the RCE and ProSPER.Net communities. All learning cases, teaching notes and presentations can be found on ProSPER.Net.

3rd ProSPER.Net Forum on Sustainability in Higher Education: “Higher Education for Sustainable Development- Advancing the Nagoya Declaration”

On June 4, 2015, the ProSPER.Net Forum on Sustainability in Higher Education was held at Tongji University in Shanghai, China on the theme of “Higher Education for Sustainable Development – Advancing the Nagoya Declaration”. Held in conjunction with the ProSPER.Net Joint General Assembly and Board Meeting, and the International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability (ISCES), the Forum was well attended with participants of ISCES coming from every corner of the world.

The forum discussed the transformative role of higher education by sharing experiences and examples of good practices, and discussed policy implications, in the context of the Nagoya Declaration. Dr. Kazuhiko Takemoto, Director of UNU-IAS, spoke about the various initiatives of ProSPER.Net that are geared towards higher education institution transformation for sustainable development, while Prof. Wu Jiang, Vice President of Tongji University introduced the university’s achievements in ESD. Prof. Wang Zhijia, former Special Adviser to the UNEP Executive Director, and former Director-General of International Cooperation Department, State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) of China, stressed the important role of higher education in sustainable development in his presentation on “Higher Education and the Future We Want”. Continue reading here.

ISCN 2015 Sustainable Campus Excellence Award Winners Announced

Top-tier universities from across the world have joined forces through the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), to incorporate sustainability in their teaching, research, and campus operations.

One of the most anticipated events was the seventh annual ISCN Sustainable Campus Excellence Award Ceremony on June 18th, at the Asia Society, as part of the 2015 Conference, “Expanding the Dialogue: Sustainability in a Connected World”. These awards recognise universities for exceptional sustainability efforts in campus planning, integration with academics, student leadership, and exemplary building projects. For more information please visit the ISCN website.


Media and Other Articles



UN Radio: Climate change linked to increased child labour

UN News Centre: Inaction on climate change now will cost us all in the future

WEF: Why tackling climate change is a moral and economic imperative

BBC: G7: End of fossil fuel era?

Vox: Here's what it would take for the US to run on 100% renewable energy

Businessinsider: 21 of the world’s 37 biggest sources of drinking water are disappearing

The Forests Network: The REDD+ Framework: Finally complete after almost 10 years


UN Radio: Final Study on MDGs: Put world's poorest children at heart of new development goals

WEF: What are the smartest goals for sustainable development? and Why universal basic skills should be the primary development goal and What should the new global goals for education look like?


UN News Centre: The way cities are planned, run and managed is crucial for development

UGEC Blog: Implementing the Urban SDG in Atlanta and Delhi

Check out this online resource: Partnership for Sustainable Communities

These and many more articles can be found on the RCE Portal. For instantaneous news, please sign up for our RSS Feed or join our respective RCE online communities.




Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health: A State of Knowledge Review


Healthy communities rely on well-functioning ecosystems. They provide clean air, fresh water, medicines and food security. They also limit disease and stabilise the climate. But biodiversity loss is happening at unprecedented rates, impacting human health worldwide, according to a new state of knowledge review of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and WHO. The full publication can be downloaded here.

World Energy Outlook Special Report 2015: Energy and Climate Change

International Energy Agency (IEA)

The world is moving towards a crucial climate change meeting in Paris in December 2015 (COP21). The negotiations there will be based on national pledges, formally known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, with the goal of setting the world on a sustainable path.

The IEA has long emphasised to its members and the world at large that energy production and use, which is not compatible with international environmental requirements, is not sustainable: it fails the test of energy security. The IEA, therefore, feels an obligation to make a contribution to COP21 – a contribution which reconciles climate and energy needs. That is the purpose of this special report in the World Energy Outlook series. The full report can be downloaded here.

This is a publication of UNU-IAS RCE Global Service Centre.

If you wish to contribute to the monthly bulletin or have news, upcoming events, or publications, you would like to share, please use this form. You can mail it to the Global RCE Service Centre: Submissions must be made by the 15th of every month. In addition, we encourage you to continue using the RCE Portal to exchange ideas, share expertise and resources and deliberate emerging sustainability issues towards ESD implementation at a global level.

Please send your comments, suggestions and materials to