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RCE Bulletin

Issue 96: August 2019

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Greetings from the Global RCE Service Centre!

The 9th African Regional Meeting was held earlier this month in Luyengo, Eswatini, and was a great opportunity for participants to share and engage in strategic discussions on how RCEs in the region can address local and regional sustainable development challenges. Thank you to all attendees for their active participation and enthusiasm! See the 'Latest News' section below for a full report of the meeting, including links to content and photos.

If your RCE would like to contribute news to an upcoming bulletin, please complete this form and email your submission to the Global RCE Service Centre at rceservicecentre@unu.edu (submissions close on the 15th of each month).

The Global RCE Service Centre


Applications Now Open: 8th Annual RCE Awards

The Global RCE Service Centre announces a call for nominations for the 8th annual RCE Awards. RCEs are encouraged to nominate one or more of their ESD projects for the award; ESD projects should illustrate how RCEs address local sustainable development challenges, and therefore provide an example of how the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be implemented at the local level through quality education. They should also demonstrate how an RCE is promoting multi-stakeholder learning processes through policy dialogue, research and collaborative partnerships. Award recipients will be announced and featured on the RCE Portal this December.

To apply:

  • Submit an RCE Project (video tutorial available here), and at the bottom of the form, please tick the box underneath the heading 'RCE Award 2019' before saving (Please note: projects submitted since November 2018 are also eligible to be nominated for the award. Please go into your existing project, go into 'edit' mode and tick the same box at the bottom of the form).
  • You will then be redirected to the RCE Award form on a new page. Complete the form and click submit.

Details on categories for the awards, eligibility, criteria, and the format for submission can be found here. Submission must be done online via the RCE Portal by 11:59pm, 31 October, 2019 (JST).

Upcoming Events

Open Calls

Call for Papers: Southeast Asian Geography Association (SEAGA) Conference

The Southeast Asian Geography Association (SEAGA) Conference 2020, to be held 10-13 March, 2020 in Bangkok, Thailand, has announced a first call for papers. Under the conference theme, 'Opportunities and challenges for Sustainability in the 2020s: Understanding environments, societies, and identities in Southeast Asia', abstracts of paper / workshop / panel proposals are currently being accepted, which invite multidimensional perspectives on this issue from scholars, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and educators. Jointly organised by SEAGA, Siam University, Thammasat University and Chulalongkorn University, the aim of the conference is to advance the discourse on the issues of sustainability, space, place, and cultures in Asia to inform the decision-making and actions of society, private enterprise, and governments. The deadline for submissions is 30 November, 2019. For further information, visit the website here.

First External Review Now Open for the IPBES Values Assessment

The external review for the first order drafts of the chapters of the IPBES methodological assessment, regarding the diverse conceptualisation of multiple values of nature and its contributions, including biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services (IPBES values assessment), is now open. The period for this first external review is 29 July - 22 September, 2019.

To participate as an expert reviewer for the values assessment:

  1. Register as a user on the IPBES website;
  2. Apply to become an IPBES external reviewer for individual chapters of the values assessment (link works once logged in as an IPBES website user);
  3. Once registered, you will receive an email providing confidential access to the draft chapters and will be requested to submit your comments in English using a template that is available on the same webpage.
Call for Abstracts: 2020 International Forum on Telling Live Lessons from Disasters

The 2020 International Forum on Telling Live Lessons from Disasters will be held from 24-26 January, 2020 in Kobe, Japan. In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, individuals and institutions who are engaged in telling live lessons from disasters in various parts of the world will congregate in Kobe, deepen exchange and partnership, and cross-learn new initiatives and trends.

The call for abstracts for the poster session is now open, with submissions to be received by 15 September, 2019. For further information, please view the open call here.

Join the New UN Environment Youth and Education Alliance

Launched in 2019, the Youth and Education Alliance (YEA!) aims to work with both Universities and partners in youth movements such as the Scouts and Guides, to inspire action and leadership on environment and sustainability into the lives of young people. To learn more and to join, visit this page here.

SDGs Design International Awards 2019

These awards invite students from all over the world to use their design skills to create new, bold, and innovative solutions. Designs can be submitted for SDG 13 (designs to counter damage caused by natural disasters), SDG 14 (designs to protect the ocean's abundance and beauty), or SDG 10 (designs for human coexistence beyond nationality, ethnicity, or age). Any genre of design is accepted, with students from any Japanese or overseas university, vocational school, or graduate school eligible to apply. The grand prize to be awarded is JPY 300,000. The initial review period closes on 31 October, 2019. Further details can be found here.

Vote: ESD Okayama Award 2019 - Global Award

Online voting for the 2019 ESD Okayama Award is now open. The award aims to showcase good practices worldwide and to further advance Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Its Global Prize will be given to outstanding projects that can serve as global models contributing to the promotion of ESD in local communities. 11 projects were nominated for the Global Award among 94 applications through the first round of selection by the Secretariat. The deadline to vote is 1 September, 2019. Take a look at the projects and vote for your favourite here.

Latest News

9th African Regional Meeting

The 9th African RCE Meeting was held in Luyengo, Eswatini from 5th-7th August, 2019 under the theme, 'Accelerating Progress towards the Achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in Africa'. Hosted by RCE Eswatini, with the support of the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), 92 participants from 16 RCEs across 10 countries in the region attended this year's meeting.

Given the important turning point the ESD community is now facing leading up to the post-GAP period, the meeting aimed to further raise awareness and motivate local and regional stakeholders and entities to upscale their commitment towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) agenda. It teased out the steps that RCEs in Africa should undertake to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs, along with an understanding of the global frameworks and relevant policy initiatives that can enhance local ESD efforts.

The meeting reiterated the important role that RCEs in Africa are playing in addressing local and regional sustainable development challenges, by providing platforms for mobilisation of local communities on sustainable development challenges. Through their flagship ESD projects, RCEs in Africa are opening new opportunities for collaboration, linking action across multiple scales (local, regional and global) and facilitating rapid learning and efficient knowledge transfer. Such efforts will continue to support the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) programme moving forward. Read more

ESD Session at ISAP2019 Discusses Next Steps of ESD Towards Achieving the SDGs

On 30 July, 2019, the UNU-IAS ESD Project presented a session, 'Next Step of ESD for Achieving the SDGs', in cooperation with the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center (OECC), at the 11th International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP2019), held in Yokohama, Japan. Attended by over 70 participants, the session highlighted the transformative role of ESD and the way forward towards 'ESD for 2030', as focus turns to the post-GAP period ahead. The event provided an opportunity for participants to hear from key experts from around the world, covering the contributions of ESD for achieving the SDGs, the challenges and lessons learned from recent ESD practices, as well as monitoring and evaluation frameworks. Read more

RCE Srinagar Represented at IPROMO 2019 Summer School: Landscape Approach for Enhancing Mountain Resilience

(Photo credit: RCE Srinagar)

Dr. Apurva Rai of RCE Srinagar recently attended the IPROMO 2019 Summer School, organised by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), with the University of Turin and the University of Tuscia. The IPROMO (International Programme on Research and Training on Sustainable Management of Mountain Areas) programme is an annual 2-week course that helps to strengthen the capacity of countries and institutions belonging to the Mountain Partnership. It is a chance for technicians, experts, and decision-makers from areas that are potentially more sensitive to global change impacts to contribute to the sustainable management of mountain areas.

The course covered important topics that will help in addressing contemporary challenges being faced by mountain areas such as 'sustainable mountain development and watershed management', 'biodiversity for mountain resilience', and 'climate change and regulatory and economic instruments for forest conservation'.

Dr. Apurva Rai found the course to be very useful: "I learnt different ongoing activities in areas of climate change and got updated with several innovative technologies around the world. The field activities were very interesting and effective. Working with participants and experts on projects and tasks has improved my skills." As RCE Srinagar primarily works in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), the course has enhanced their understanding and capacity in various ways that will help them in pursuing their mandate of achieving climate smart, disaster resilient and sustainable communities in the IHR.

Migration and the SDGs

As the climate emergency takes further hold, migration will be a growing sustainability issue. Developed out of discussions at the European RCE Regional meeting in 2016 hosted by RCE London, the Fresh Start programme supports migrants through ESD initiatives, offering alternative routes into employment and education. This EU funded project, together with London South Bank University, Zuyd University of Applied Sciences (Maastricht) and University Colleges Leuven-Limburg (Limburg), started on 1 June 2017, and has successfully supported 120 migrant entrepreneurs across 3 EU states (UK, Belgium, and the Netherlands) over the past two years, offering participants the possibility to acquire the necessary competences and abilities for a sustainable and entrepreneurial future. Read more


The Asia Pacific Civil Society Spotlight Reports on SDG 4

Prepared by the Asia South Pacific Association for Basic and Adult Education (ASPBAE), in cooperation with national education coalitions in the region, this Civil Society Spotlight Report looks at the implementation status of SDG 4 in the Asia-Pacific region, from the perspective of civil society and marginalised sectors. Spotlight reports for individual countries included in the report can also be viewed here.

Youth Changes the World

This report from the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU), titled 'Youth Changes the World', is a record of the activities from some of the young people who have worked with the ACCU to create more sustainable communities in Asian countries. This work spans the course of five years (2014-2018), and is part of the 'Youth-led Sustainable Community Project' implemented by the ACCU, along with four partner organisations: Sanjh Preet Organization (Pakistan), BRAC (Bangladesh), CEE (India), and PILCD (Philippines). Download the report here.

Building a Rapport: Community-based Education for Sustainable Development

Organised by the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau of Education and supported by the Government of Japan, the project 'Promoting Community-based ESD' works with non-formal and community educators to promote ESD in the local context for sustainability. Three learning modules are being piloted across five countries in the Asia-Pacific region (India, Japan, Lao PDR, Mongolia, and the Philippines). The cases in the Philippines and Lao PDR have brought to light the difficulties in approaching communities to integrate ESD and promote sustainable development, but also hope to inspire others to become more involved in such efforts. Read more 

Let's Work Together: Education Has a Key Role in Helping Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Published by UNESCO, this six-part cartoon highlights the links and synergies between education and many of the other Sustainable Development Goals. Covering Planet, Prosperity, People, Peace, Places, and Partnerships, the cartoons show the importance of different sectors working together to achieve their aims. This publication has been produced on the occasion of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum by the Global Education Monitoring Report and draws upon findings from reports produced since 2015. Download the publication here.

The Contribution of Regional Centres of Expertise for the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require a fully integrated approach between sectors, disciplines, countries, and actors. On the fourth year of its implementation, the uptake of SDGs from non-state actors is increasing around the world, by developing engaging mechanisms for involvement at horizontal and vertical levels. Considering that activation of existing partnerships is important for SDGs, in conjunction with creating new ones, this study, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, has analysed the approach of the global network of Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. An overview of involvement was done based on survey data, exploring collaboration on local, national and international scales. Through Hierarchical Classification Analysis, the networks were grouped into clusters with similar characteristics, with discussions including challenges and potentialities for intensifying the contribution towards the 2030 Agenda. Collaborating authors for this study were from RCE Middle Albania, RCE Hamburg, and RCE Brittany. View the article here.

Environmental Change Through Participation: A Closer Look at How Inclusive Engagement Can Achieve Environmental Outcomes

Environment-related sustainable development goals have shown the least progress across Asia-Pacific countries. In tandem, regional reports, civil society and the news call attention to the increased vulnerability and marginality of specific groups of people in society - such as those exposed to climate change, migrant workers, or those affected by air pollution.

This report, delivered under a joint initiative by ESCAP and the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok, aims to identify the factors that lead to impactful engagement of vulnerable groups around environmental issues, to highlight some successful cases of engaging these groups from the region and to present recommendations for moving forward on participation in environmental decision-making in Asia and the Pacific, at both policy and practice levels. Download the report here.