9th Global RCE Conference Marks Final Year of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

UNU-IAS held the 9th Global Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) Conference in Okayama, Japan on 4–7 November 2014. It was one of the major stakeholder meetings convened prior to the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), held in Nagoya, Japan on 10–12 November. Both events marked the final year of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), 2005–2014.

Organized with RCE Okayama, and the City of Okayama, the Global RCE Conference brought together stakeholders from cities, communities, the private sector, international organizations and academia.

During the conference, participants reflected on the successes and challenges the RCE movement has faced over the last ten years, to chart a post-2014 agenda aligned with UNESCO’s proposed Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD.

The event resulted in the Okayama Declaration, a commitment by the RCE community to strategies within the GAP to advance policy, transform learning and training environments, build capacities of educators, empower and mobilize youth and accelerate solutions to create sustainable communities.

Through operational and strategic clusters and actions, each member of the RCE community committed to address sustainability issues at the local and continental level to achieve long-term ESD goals, such as environmental stewardship, social justice and improved quality of life. The declaration was later shared at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD.

The event featured opening remarks by Hans van Ginkel (former Rector, UNU), Kazuhiko Takemoto (Director, UNU-IAS), Soichiro Seki (Vice-Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Ministry of the Environment, Japan), Alexander Leicht (Chief, ESD Section, UNESCO) and Masao Omori (Mayor, City of Okayama).

Conference sessions presented highlights of the developing RCE community over the last decade, as well as reflections and achievements from the different regions. Strategic discussions took place around the main topics of capacity development, governance, assessment and policy engagement.

During the conference, the RCE Recognition Award was given to 31 outstanding projects on ESD. This year’s award recognized ESD projects that contributed to community engagement, capacity development, bridging of local knowledge with global and sustainable development perspectives, youth empowerment and transformative learning processes. The nominated projects underscored the contribution of RCEs to the goals of the DESD and GAP.

For more information on the event and all presentations please visit the conference website.