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RCE Bulletin

Issue 123: November 2021

Dear Colleagues and Friends, 

Greetings from the Global RCE Service Centre! Incredibly, we are almost at the end of another year. Despite the ongoing challenges presented by the pandemic, we continue to see amazing work being done throughout the network, adapting to the conditions, and keeping momentum high, which has been encouraging to see. This month, we held the 12th Global RCE Conference, which was wonderful to witness the dedication and commitment present in the network towards ESD, and the sharing and best practices out there which are making real differences in your communities. We hope you all were inspired by the Conference, the opportunity to connect, and learn from one another. We would like to sincerely thank the amazing team at RCE Scotland for their tireless efforts and dedication in making this Conference a success! 

For more details about the Conference, please see the event page and report linked below, and please join us in celebrating awardees acknowledged at the Conference, for both the RCE Awards 2021 and the RCE Youth Climate Art Challenge!

For colleagues in the European region, there is another opportunity connect very soon - we are excited to announce registrations and call for submissions are now open for the European Regional RCE Meeting 2022! Details are below.

Finally, as we approach the end of the year, we would like to remind all RCEs about reporting requirements (see below). We look forward to hearing from you all about your projects you've been working on over the past year.

If you 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).

The Global RCE Service Centre

12th Global RCE Conference

The 12th Global RCE Conference was held online from 16-18 November, 2021, hosted by RCE Scotland and the Global RCE Service Centre under the theme 'Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: action through learning in a time of global crises'. 

Across three days, 351 attendees from across the network explored the sub-themes of 'Hearts' (What kind of world do we want? How do we engage hearts and minds?), 'Heads' (Visioning, thinking and reflecting: planning for action on Education for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals), and 'Hands' (Making it happen: taking action on Education for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals). The programme consisted of keynotes, panel discussions, parallel sessions and workshops to enable RCEs to collaborate, share, and celebrate good practices, and to explore how to strengthen action on the UNESCO ESD for 2030 framework, SDGs, and RCE Roadmap beyond COP26. Read the full report here, and take a look at the Conference event page for further information and resources. 

We also encourage all RCEs to take a look at the RCE Sharing Space, a valuable resource which was shared at the Conference that provides inspiration, ideas and resources from RCEs across the globe. Take a look here.

2021 RCE Awards for Innovative Projects on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

The RCE Awards celebrate projects and programmes on ESD within the Global RCE Network, honouring RCEs who have made outstanding contributions to address local sustainable development challenges in their regions.

The Award recognises projects and programmes that bridge local and global perspectives on sustainable development, those that engage with transformative learning and research, and initiatives that contribute to community engagement, research & development and capacity development of stakeholders and partners.

The winners of the 2021 RCE Awards, presented at the 12th Global RCE Conference held online from 16-18 November, 2021 covered projects across the SDGs and themes including Climate Action, Curriculum Development, Waste, Agriculture, Responsible Consumption & Production, Traditional Knowledge, Sustainable Cities and Communities and Quality Education. Take a look at a video announcing this year's winners here or see the full list here.

RCE Youth Climate Art Challenge Awardees Announced

The Global RCE Service Centre at the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) is pleased to announce the awardees for the first ever RCE Youth Climate Art Challenge! 

For this challenge, participants created works of art focusing on SDG 13 (Climate Action) to engage with 'hearts, hands, or heads', the sub-themes for this year's 12th Global RCE Conference.

Submissions were received across seven different RCEs, with a wide variety of formats used, ranging from hand drawings, digital art, craft work, paintings, to an eco mosaic.

Please join us in congratulating the awardees for the 2021 RCE Youth Climate Art Challenge:

Outstanding Artwork
  • Elmi Imellya Yakil (RCE Penang)
  • Cathy Liu (RCE Greater Western Sydney)
Acknowledged Artwork
  • Lian Sabella Castillo (RCE Yokohama)
  • Okayama City SONAN J.H.S (RCE Okayama)
Honourable Mention
  • Lian Sabella Castillo (RCE Yokohama)
See the awarded artworks here, and watch the video celebrating the Challenge.
Europe Regional Meeting 2022: Registrations Open and Call for Submissions

(Photo credit: Hannah Swart)

SPARK the Movement (RCE Fryslân) warmly invites you to the European RCE Meeting 2022, taking place on the 8th and 9th of February, 2022. The meeting will be both physically in Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, as well as online.

The organisers are currently working hard with their partners to provide attendees with an insightful and engaging program, focussing on how to stimulate our imagination to build a sustainable world together. "We believe we need to mobilise all creative power of students and teachers but also of businesses, local governments and NGO's to build a thriving region, related to a healthy planet." 

Therefore renowned scientists, dedicated artists and innovative craftsmen in the educational field will be part of the program. And of course there's a space for you as well to showcase good practices and fruitful failures. Please contact Max Eisenbart by 5 December, 2021 if you wish to make a sparkling contribution that triggers our imagination: max.eisenbart@circulairfriesland.frl

Registrations are also now open here. We hope to see you all in Leeuwarden or online next February!

Reminder: RCE Annual Reporting
As we approach the end of the year, please be reminded to keep your RCE reporting up-to-date. We ask that you:
  • Keep your RCE profile page up-to-date 
  • Ensure you submit your RCE Projects on the RCE Portal at least once a year
Please note: If no projects are submitted in a 3-year period (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec, 2021), the RCE will be deemed inactive. The Global RCE Service Centre reserves the right to de-list inactive RCEs.

Upcoming Events

International Symposium on Ocean Education
5 December, 2021 (online), 15:00 - 19:00 (JST)

The International Symposium on Ocean Education aims to bring together countries' commitments on the role of ocean education for sustainable earth across countries to address climate change and other sustainability challenges through ocean education. This event is organised by the Marine Education Center, Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo and The Nippon Foundation, under the theme, 'The Role of Ocean Education for Sustainable Earth'. Dr. Fumiko Noguchi (UNU-IAS) will present on 'Australian Marine Education: Wide range of activities across formal, non-formal and informal education sectors, achievements, and challenges'. Read more

Registrations Open: Higher Education Summit 2021 'Daring to Transform Learning for a Future-Proof Economy'
9 December, 2021 (online), 6-8 September, 2022 (Hasselt, Belgium)

Under the theme 'Daring to transform learning for a future-proof economy', the upcoming Higher Education Summit will focus on research- and practice-related issues to realise an economy that strives for a safe and just world for everyone, within our planetary boundaries. Organised by the COPERNICUS Alliance (European Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development) and Hasselt University (Belgium), the Summit is split into two events: on 9 December, 2021 there will be a kick-off with an online teaser, and from 6-8 September, 2022 there will be a physical conference in Hasselt, Belgium. 

Registrations are now open for the Higher Education Summit online teaser on 9 December, 2021 that features three inspiring keynote speakers: Kate Raworth ('Doughnut economics'), Mamphela Ramphele (Club of Rome), and Garry Jacobs (World Academy of Art & Science). In addition, the virtual event offers interactive workshops, interesting short videos and opportunities for debate. The Higher Education Summit is the place to be for anyone who wants to be a changemaker in the field of transformative learning for sustainable development within higher education! Visit the event website here.

Open Calls

Call for Teacher InSights

Transforming how our next generation thinks and acts about the environment and the world requires profound changes in teaching and learning. The OECD, UNESCO and Education International are inviting teachers to share initiatives and projects on student empowerment around climate action.

Share your insights and take part in developing an action plan to implement the leading insights in classrooms, education systems and policies! Read more

Survey: The Impact of Education on Work in Regional Centres of Expertise

A member of RCE Atlanta, Kate Kirk (Ph.D. Candidate in International Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University and Assistant Director of International Student and Scholar Services at Georgia Institute of Technology's Office of International Education) is looking for RCE members to participate in her research study exploring the impact of education on RCE work. This research will support her doctoral dissertation and hopefully contribute to both policy and scholarly work in the field; findings of this study may inform future organisational policies regarding education and sustainable development. 

Many thanks to those who have completed the survey to date. For those who have not yet had a chance to do so, it is not too late to share your experience, which is crucial to this research exploring the impact of education on sustainability work. 

RCE members aged 18 years or older with college education are invited to participate here. Completion of the survey should take 10-15 minutes. This survey can also be shared with other RCE members from your professional network who may be interested in participating. For further information, please contact kathleen.kirk@oie.gatech.edu.

Latest News

RCEs in Asia-Pacific Focus on Accelerating Local Level Actions in 13th Regional Meeting

(Photo credit: Elena Kreuzberg)

The 13th Asia-Pacific RCE Regional Meeting was hosted by RCE Kyrgyzstan, held under two parts, with the second part on 5 October, 2021, held under the theme 'SDGs and ESD for 2030 Framework: Local actions during COVID-19 Pandemic'. Conducted online, about 65 people participated in the webinar, including 45 participants from RCEs within the Asia-Pacific region, stakeholders, and 20 teachers and students from Arabaev Kyrgyz State University. The meeting provided an opportunity for participants to deepen understanding of the ESD for 2030 framework and its linkage with local actions, and to learn about the trend of the RCEs' response to COVID-19 pandemic. Read the report prepared by RCE Kyrgyzstan and view the event page for presentations from the meeting.

Science & Films: The New Inspiration Couple?

A side event, 'Science & Films: The New Inspiration Couple?' was held at COP26 this month in Glasgow, UK, which explored how film, arts and creative communication can help tell the climate emergency story and inspire hope and action. Organised by the UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), UNCCD, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and UNFCCC, speakers discussed new ways of communicating climate science and policy to reach more people. Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) discussed the RCE Youth Climate Art Challenge, particularly how participants' experiences creating artwork for the Challenge inspired them to think more deeply about the impacts they can make in their local communities. Watch the side event here.

UN University to Launch Postgraduate Degree Specialisation on the Paris Agreement

The UN University (UNU) has begun developing a new postgraduate degree specialisation on the Paris Agreement on climate change, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). It will be the first of its kind to be offered by a UN organisation.

The master's and doctoral degrees, to be delivered from Autumn 2023, will educate students and experts from across the globe, developing skills and knowledge to play a leading role in implementing the Paris Agreement - the 2015 commitment by the international community to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and strive for 1.5 degrees.

The new specialisation will focus on implementation of the mechanisms of the Paris Agreement, such as the enhanced transparency framework, nationally determined contributions, national adaptation planning process, global stocktake, and credit market mechanism. By strengthening national capacity in these areas it aims to become an essential means of implementation for the agreement. Read more

COP26 Side Event Explores Carbon Neutrality and the SDGs

On 4 November 2021, a side event of COP26 engaged leading experts to discuss challenges and good practices for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and the SDGs. Organised by UNU-IAS and the Overseas Environmental Cooperation Center, Japan (OECC), the event Carbon Neutrality and the SDGs - A UNU Forum was held at the COP26 Japan Pavilion in Glasgow, UK.

Participants explored the social dimensions of the transition to carbon neutrality, which requires drastic action by all sectors and actors, as well as how education and capacity building can advance implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Read more

Only Half of the National Curricula in the World Have a Reference to Climate Change, UNESCO Warns

New UNESCO data from 100 countries shows that only 53% of the education sector plans or national curriculum documents make any reference to climate change. When climate change was mentioned, the focus on it was almost always very low.

Furthermore, fewer than 40% of teachers surveyed by UNESCO and Education International were confident in teaching about the severity of climate change and only about one-third felt able to explain well the effects of climate change on their region or locality. Read more

UN General Assembly Discusses UNESCO's Report on Education for Sustainable Development

On 11 October 2021, UNESCO presented the report on the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations General Assembly. Representatives of member states and the UN system discussed ways towards the achievement of sustainable development, including the implementation of international commitments on climate change and agreements on financing for development, as well as efforts for advancing education for sustainable development worldwide. Read more

2021 'Water Education for the World's Future' International Seminar Held in Hangzhou

A seminar on water education was held in Hangzhou on 6 November, 2021, co-hosted by RCE Hangzhou, Zhejiang Qiantang River Administration Office, Hangzhou Association for Science & Technology, Waterkeeper Alliance and Green Zhejiang. More than 120 participants were in attendance including experts, schools, students, and teachers who attended this event in-person or online. In the event, the curriculum series 'The Greatness of River Angels' was launched, as well as the 2021 'One Qiantang River' project. Experts from water educational institutions in China and representatives from countries such as Germany and Bangladesh presented keynote speeches on the main topic of water education and water protection. Read more


Getting Every School Climate-Ready: How Countries are Integrating Climate Change Issues in Education

This document summarises the findings of selected studies by UNESCO and its partners on how climate change issues are integrated in education.

These findings shed light on four key questions: where do we stand on climate change education; what do teachers say; what are the examples of country good practices on climate change education; and what does inter-ministerial collaboration on education for sustainable development look like? Access it here.

#TrashHack Videos

To celebrate some of the Trash Hack activities around the world, UNESCO has created a series of videos aims to highlight regionally driven ideas and projects conducted by young individuals to preserve the environment. The first video of the series, in collaboration with Tadiwanashe and Talent, features two young people who are actively engaged in activities to reduce and rethink waste in Zimbabwe. Read more