RCE Concept

An RCE is a network of existing formal, non-formal and informal organisations that facilitate learning towards sustainable development in local and regional communities. A network of RCEs worldwide will constitute the Global Learning Space for Sustainable Development.

An RCE should have four core elements:

  1. Governance - addressing issues of RCE management and leadership
  2. Collaboration - addressing the engagement of actors from all levels of formal, non-formal and informal education
  3.  Research and development - addressing the role of research and its inclusion in RCE activities, as well as contributing to the design of strategies for collaborative activities, including those with other RCEs. 
  4. Transformative education - contributing to the transformation of the current education and training systems to satisfy ambitions of the region regarding sustainable living and livelihood

RCE stakeholders
An RCE involves school teachers, professors at higher education institutions, environmental NGOs, scientists, researchers, museums, zoos, botanical gardens, local government officials, representatives of local enterprises, volunteers, media, civic associations or individuals who work in the spheres of sustainable development such as economic growth, social development, and environmental protection, students and learners at all levels.

The Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the RCEs
The Global RCE Network works closely with the Ubuntu Alliance, an association of 14 of the world’s foremost educational and scientific institutions that together signed the Ubuntu Declaration at the Johannesburg Summit in 2002. Some Alliance members make up the Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the RCEs, reviewing RCE Candidates and giving strategic advice on the development of the RCE network. Furthermore, the Regional Advisors to the RCE community provide support and participate in Committee meetings. 

The Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the RCEs serves as an advisory body to the Global RCE Service Centre on issues of policy, acknowledgement, monitoring and quality assurance of the RCEs. Specifically, it supports the RCE community through the following tasks:

  • Provides advisory role on policies and strategies for the RCE community especially in relation to the Roadmap and the Guiding Principles for the RCE Community;
  • Advises on monitoring and reviewing the progress of the Roadmap with the Global RCE Service Centre;
  • Provides oversight and judicial assessment on matters of RCE behaviour and conduct as stipulated in the Guiding Principles for the RCE Community upon request of the Global RCE Service Centre; and 
  • Engages RCE members in relevant ESD for 2030 activities both organised by the Global RCE Service Centre as well as those launched or organised by external parties (e.g., UNESCO National Commissions), and reviews and advises RCE-related ESD for 2030 engagement through the Global RCE Service Centre.

Functions of an RCE
RCEs bring together institutions at the regional/local level to jointly promote ESD. They build innovative platforms to share information and experiences and to promote dialogue among regional/local stakeholders through partnerships for sustainable development. They create a local/regional knowledge base to support ESD actors, and promote four major goals of ESD in a resource-effective manner.

These four goals are to:

  1. Re-orient education towards SD, covering existing programmes/subjects from the point of ESD and designing and integrate SD in curricula. ESD programmes are tailored to address issues and local context of the community in which they operate.
  2. Increase access to quality education that is most needed in the regional context;
  3. Deliver trainers’ training programmes and develop methodologies and learning materials for them;
  4. Lead advocacy and awareness-raising efforts in the public about the importance of educators and the essential role of ESD in achieving a sustainable future. RCEs promote the long-term goals of ESD, such as environmental stewardship, social justice, and improvement of the quality of life.

For more information about RCEs or how to become a member, please contact the Global RCE Service Centre, UNU-IAS, rceservicecentre@unu.edu.