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RCE Bulletin

Issue 104: April 2020

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Greetings from the Global RCE Service Centre! We hope this bulletin finds you and your communities in good health. As we all work to adapt to this challenging situation, we are encouraged by all of the flexibility, support, and continued passion displayed in the network in the face of educational disruption as we fight this crisis together.

In this month's bulletin, you'll find the UN Innovation Network's latest publication on how UN entities are using innovative approaches to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope you will find this an inspiring read! We would also like to hear how RCEs are responding to the situation, and whether you have any innovative approaches your RCE would like to share.

Following on from last month's announcement of a number of Regional RCE Meetings, we are pleased to announce the remaining regions which are now confirmed (details below). Please stay tuned for further details on all events planned for this year, as the evolving situation will dictate how we move forward in the second half of this year. Thank you to all of the RCE hosts who are working on these events during difficult circumstances!

We are delighted to introduce some new faces this month; RCE Greater Gombak in Malaysia is joining the RCE family, after being acknowledged as an RCE. Please join us in welcoming them to the network! We would also like to take this opportunity to extend a warm welcome to two new members joining the Secretariat at the Global RCE Service Centre - Miki Konishi (Programme Coordinator), and Eri Yamazaki (Programme Assistant), both of whom started earlier this month. On this note, we would like to sincerely thank Ayako Shimura (former Programmer Coordinator), Kiyoko Uematsu (former Programme Associate), and Katsunori Suzuki (former Senior Visiting Research Fellow) for their contributions and dedicated work serving the Global RCE Network over the past few years.

Lastly, if your RCE would like to share any news, upcoming events, open calls, or publications for 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). 

From all of us at the Global RCE Service Centre, we hope you all continue to stay safe and healthy!

The Global RCE Service Centre 

Save the Dates: Regional RCE Meetings

(Photo credits: RCE Minna (top) and Salisbury University (bottom))

The Global RCE Service Centre is delighted to announce the following Regional RCE Meetings in 2020.  

Please note, the Regional RCE Meetings for other regions have previously been announced. Stay up-to-date by visiting the 13th Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting and Europe Regional Meeting 2020 pages. 

Further details on all events (including the 12th Global RCE Conference) will be announced in due course - please keep an eye out on the RCE Portal, our Facebook page, or this bulletin for information as soon as it is available. 

Last Chance: 2020 RCE Applications

For those organisations wishing to apply to become an RCE in 2020, the deadline for applications has been extended to 15 May, 2020 (11:59pm JST). Further details about the guidelines for applications and process to apply can be found in the open call here


Upcoming Events

Open Calls

UNESCO Launches Global Education Coalition

With students and youth across the world impacted by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO has launched a Global Education Coalition "to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth during this period of sudden and unprecedented educational disruption". UNESCO is inviting expressions of interest from organisations interested in joining the response to ensure the continuity of education for all learners. Read more 

Find out more about UNESCO's COVID-19 Education Response here, including distance learning solutions

Survey on Sustainable Development at Universities in Latin America

An international study is currently being undertaken by the European School of Sustainability Science and Research (ESSSR) and the Inter-University Sustainable Development Research Programme (IUSDRP), aimed at identifying the extent to which universities in Latin America are pursuing sustainability initiatives and the role these initiatives play in their operations. Administrative staff and lecturers engaged with sustainability policies or initiatives in Latin America are invited to take part in this survey (approximately 10 minutes). All individual answers will be treated with confidentiality, and no personal data will be gathered or stored. Participants wishing to receive a copy of the results can indicate this by ticking the box at the end of the questionnaire. Take the survey here.

Submissions Open for UN SDG Action Awards

The current global health crisis is a sober reminder of the need for coordinated responses that leave no one behind as outlined in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. Taking climate action, providing access to healthcare and quality food, ensuring that all children have access to education, and protecting the most vulnerable is more important than ever for our joint global progress. The UN SDG Action Awards will shine the spotlight on the most creative and transformative initiatives to accelerate action for the SDGs. People and organisations everywhere are encouraged to submit their outstanding SDG Action and nominate initiatives to become one of the UN SDG Action Award winners. Entries close on 25 May, 2020. Find out more and how to apply here.

Call for Papers: ICUE 2020 on Energy, Environment and Climate Change

Organised by the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), the International Conference on Utilities and Exhibition on: Energy, Environment, and Climate Change (ICUE 2020) will be held 20-22 October, 2020 in Pattaya City, Thailand. The call for papers is now open, covering a range of topics including energy resources and technology, energy policy, environment, and climate change. The deadline for submissions is 31 May, 2020. Find out more and how to apply here

Call for Papers: Cross-innovations for Sustainability Skills - Linking Environment, Media and Education

The research group for Sustainability, Environmental Education and Communication Skills (SEEMIK) at Tallinn University, Estonia, is now calling for papers for their Symposium 2020, to be held at Tallinn University, Estonia, from 28-29 August, 2020 under the theme 'Cross-innovations for Sustainability Skills: Linking Environment, Media and Education.' Practitioners and researchers are invited to explore the role of digital innovations for the use of enhancing citizens' environmental and sustainability skills, especially in the context of media and education. The deadline for abstract submissions is 10 May, 2020. Find out more and the details for submission here.

Apply Now: Green Talents Competition 2020

Young scientists from all over the world who are contributing to sustainability research are invited to apply to the Green Talents Competition 2020 (hosted by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)), outlining their approach to making our societies more sustainable. The competition provides applicants with the opportunity to showcase their research to the broader public, exchange with outstanding experts, and lay the foundation for long-lasting collaborations with German research institutions. The award is open to all disciplines, with entries accepted until 19 May, 2020. Find out more and how to apply here

Latest News

RCE Greater Gombak Joins the RCE Network

The Global RCE Service Centre is delighted to announce a new RCE joining the network - RCE Greater Gombak, located in Malaysia, who was recently acknowledged by the Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the RCEs.

Globally, the RCE Network now consists of 175 RCEs. The updated list (including profiles) of RCEs worldwide can be viewed here. Please join us in extending a warm welcome to RCE Greater Gombak! 

CIES 2020 Panel Session Features RCE's Role in Implementing ESD

On 8 April, 2020, an online panel session was held as part of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) 2020 virtual conference. The panel session, jointly organised by UNU-IAS, UNESCO, and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), discussed the topic 'Generating transformative change through reframing education within and beyond school settings'. Close to 100 participants attended online to listen to four presentations, including one on multi-stakeholder approaches to ESD, which presented how RCEs can be a mechanism for implementing ESD. 

The focus of the session was to explore education's ability as an efficient mechanism to generate transformative changes, by looking at current and potential education activities both within and beyond school settings, multi-stakeholder approaches, the importance of community-based learning, and the opportunities in tech-based learning. Read more

'Earth School' Launches to Keep Students Connected to Nature in the Time of COVID-19

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, an unprecedented coalition has come together to launch 'Earth School,' which provides free, high-quality educational content to help students, parents and teachers around the world who are currently at home. Initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, in coordination with 30 collaborators, including National Geographic, WWF and UNESCO, Earth School takes students on a 30-day 'Adventure' through the natural world. 

The curated Earth School content features videos, reading materials and activities - which will be translated into 10 languages - to help students gain an understanding of the environment while considering their role within it. This is the biggest online learning initiative in UNEP's history and is available for free on TED-Ed's website. Read more 

Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education

(Photo source: IAU)

The International Association of Universities (IAU) has conducted a Global Survey on the impact of COVID-19 in higher education, in order to get a comprehensive understanding of the current situation in universities worldwide. The results of the survey will allow the higher education sector and society at large to better understand strategies to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Results of the survey are currently being analysed.

In addition, IAU has also developed a Resources page to keep its Members and the broader Higher Education community informed of the latest developments regarding the outbreak. Read more 

RCE Belarus and Partners Join UN75 Global Initiative on the World's Future

(Photo credit: RCE Belarus)

RCE Belarus and its associated partners - Belarusian State Pedagogical University and ESD Association, supported by the Ministry of Education in Belarus, recently joined the UN75 campaign on 'Building the Future We Want', aiming to engage young people in a dialogue about future perspectives and to empower them to take actions nationwide. At the kick-off meeting of the UN Youth Campaign, the UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, Vice-Minister of Education and BSPU Rector affirmed their commitment to support young people in their local initiatives towards SDGs localisation, and signed a UN Youth Campaign Action Plan covering the period April-December 2020. Read more

RCE Srinagar Share Their COVID-19 Responses

RCE Srinagar has been putting in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 within their region through a number of approaches, beginning with capacity-building - attending various webinars and other events, and then adapting and translating the information gathered to their local area's context by training RCE partners, volunteers, local NGOs, students and other stakeholders. As an active member of the Inter Agency Group (IAG) networks of states of Jammu & Kashmir and Uttar Pradesh, RCE Srinagar has utilised IAG networks to train volunteers as well as motivating and guiding youth to join the volunteers required by government agencies. These volunteers provide supplies of essentials, work to implement social distancing, provide psycho-social care and support, and help the elderly and disabled citizens who require various kinds of help and support. Read more 


How are UN Entities Leveraging Innovative Approaches to Respond to COVID-19?

The UN Innovation Network (UNIN) has published a COVID-19 Special Edition of their Quarterly Innovation Update. Inside it features how UN entities are using innovative approaches to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, the technology which is being explored and applied, tips on supporting teams (e.g. remote working), podcasts, virtual events, innovation challenges & calls, and more. Take a look here.

Viewpoint: 'Accelerating the Implementation of the SDGs'

A 'viewpoint' published in the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education pledges for an acceleration of the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Whereas it is unclear at this point in time if the SDGs will be fully achieved by 2030, it is clear that efforts need to be made, so to reach as many of the SDGs as possible by that time. The food security, health and well-being of billions of people around the world depend on it. The Viewpoint can be viewed here.

Members of the academic community who may wish to endorse this viewpoint, may be able to do so by completing an endorsement form available here. The names and organisations of all colleagues will be displayed within the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education as an annex.