Issue #43: January 2015

RCE Logo

Issue 43: January 2015

Message from the Global RCE Service Centre:


Dear colleagues and friends,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season.

Last November, the UNESCO World Conference on ESD (WCESD) concluded the UN Decade of ESD (DESD) with great success and launched the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD. Thanks to your active participation, we made a significant contribution to the success of the WCESD through the 9th Global RCE Conference, which was organized in Okayama, Japan as part of the official stakeholders’ meetings. I am happy to inform you that the GAP was adopted at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly as the follow-up to the DESD in December 2014. UNU-IAS and the global RCE network are committed to implementing the GAP’s five priority areas, and in this regard, I seek your continued support and cooperation.

It is also my great pleasure to share with you that, as a result of the 9th Meeting of the Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the RCEs, which was held on 3–4 November 2014, the global RCE network now comprises 135 RCEs. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome six new RCEs, namely, Central Kenya, Mount Kenya, Central Semenanjung (Malaysia), Iskandar (Malaysia), Black Forest (Germany) and Greater Western Paris.

The GAP is intended to be a concrete, tangible contribution to the post-2015 development agenda. In July 2014, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) submitted its report. to the UN General Assembly and proposed 17 goals and accompanying targets, in which the role of ESD is clearly identified. Under the new strategic direction of UNU-IAS, we are expected to further advance ESD through the global RCE network, while making more substantial contributions to high-level policymaking and debates in the international community, in particular within the UN system.

Keeping all of this in mind, I would like to emphasize that UNU-IAS is committed to continuing its support for ESD activities. In doing so, we will undertake an internal review of the ESD programme over the next couple of months, which will include reviewing the function and operation of the Global RCE Service Centre, and identify priority activities and research projects to be implemented by the Global RCE Service Centre. Based on the result of the review, the work plan for 2015 will be developed by mid-year. For the meantime, we will have to place on hold some events organized by UNU-IAS, except for those events to which we have already committed. A series of events for 2015 will be further determined and announced in the work plan.

That said, any event led by an RCE, and/or multiple RCEs collaboratively, can be arranged as planned. I encourage you to keep the Global RCE Service Centre informed of any activities and make the best use of the RCE Portal for active discussions and collaboration, since the RCE Portal will continue to be fully operational, even during the internal review period. With regard to the acknowledgement of new RCEs, we will resume the application procedures for 2015 as soon as the work plan is put in place.

As we enter 2015, I wish you all a successful year and look forward to our further collaboration.


Kazu Takemoto

Director, Global RCE Service Centre

Upcoming Events

Events organized by UNU-IAS

8th Asia-Pacific RCE Meeting

5-8 March 2015
Cebu and Bohol, Philippines

The 8th Asia-Pacific RCE Meeting (AP RCE Meeting) will be organized in Cebu and Bohol, Philippines from 5-8 March 2015 in conjunction with the 6th International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development (ICERD). This AP RCE Meeting will be a joint collaboration of RCE Cebu, RCE Bohol and RCE Greater Phnom Penh with the support of UNU-IAS.

Registration is now open. If you wish to attend the meeting, please download a registration form from the RCE Portal and send it by 30 January 2015 (Friday) to: RCE Cebu, to RCE Bohol and to the Global RCE Service Centre.

Case presentations of the AP RCE members will be held at ICERD on 7 March. If you are interested in making a case presentation at ICERD, please submit your abstract by sending the form to RCE Cebu, RCE Bohol and the Global RCE Service Centre by 30 January 2015 (Friday).

For those who will apply for financial support, please read the instructions included in the registration form. Please note that our financial support will be provided for selected RCE representatives only, who are willing to make a case presentation at ICERD. A visa support request form can also be downloaded here.

A meeting programme will be shared among AP RCE members in due course. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Global RCE Service Centre at any time.

Events organized by RCE members

RCE Hamburg: 4th European Fair on Education for Sustainable Development

Implementing Sustainable Development in European Cities and Regions
9-11 September 2015
Hamburg, Germany

The Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, under the auspices of the RCE Hamburg and Region, is organizing the 4th European Fair on Education for Sustainable Development. Thematically, the event will focus on (but is not limited to) education for sustainable development initiatives surrounding themes such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable water management and use, sustainable transport and climate change.

The aims of the event are to provide European organizations with an opportunity to display and present their work (i.e. research, activities, practical projects) as they relate to education for, with and about the environment with a focus on initiatives being undertaken at a local, i.e. at the city or regional level; to foster the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of projects, from successful initiatives and good practice; to discuss methodological approaches and projects which the aim to better integrate the work of the various actors in the field of sustainable development and finally to introduce the European RCEs and discuss their activities at the local and regional levels.

Participation is free of charge. The RCE Hamburg and Region are looking forward to welcoming you in Hamburg next year. For more information please visit the event’s website or go to the RCE Portal.

Other Events

Pathways to Climate Change Adaptation: The Case of Small Island Developing States

UNEP – Environmental Education and Training Unit
26 January – 28 February 2015
Massive Online Open Course

This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provides an overview of climate change adaptation in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with a focus on the environmental perspective. It will present the key concepts regarding the issues of adaptation to climate change and the methodological tools needed to analyse challenges faced by SIDS, in order to propose sustainable solutions.

The course looks at how each country can assess its specific vulnerabilities to climate change, and the tools available for protecting the well-being, economy, and environment of its citizens.

At the end of this course launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the University of Geneva (UNIGE) in collaboration with the National Adaptation Planning Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP), participants will be able to: explain why countries will have to adapt to climate change and provide examples of what this could look like; explain why Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are particularly vulnerable to climate change; outline how to analyse climate risks and discuss why some countries are more vulnerable than others; and finally discuss how adaptation can contribute to sustainable development goals. For more information please visit the course’s website.

15th International Conference on “Science and Technology for Culture”

Science Council of Asia
15-16 May 2015
Siemreap City, Cambodia

In a Cambodian ancient town Siem Reap, where the world heritage such as Angkor Wat is located, the Science Council of Asia, an international organization joined by Asian Academies, will hold its 15th annual international conference with the theme of “Science and Technology for Culture” focusing on (1) Contribution of S & T to Culture Preservation, (2) Resilience of Culture in Changing Global Climate, (3) Application of Anthropology, Humanity and Green Economics towards tourism with sustainable development.

For more information on the event please go to the conference website or visit the Science Council of Asia’s homepage.

Latest News

First UN Winter School on SCP held in Asia and the Pacific

The UN Winter School on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Asia and the Pacific was held successfully on 8-19 December 2014 at the Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand. It was a joint effort of UNEP and UNU-IAS in collaboration with the Switch Asia Programme and the 10-YFP on SCP. Three Thailand-based members of (a UNU-IAS higher education network in Asia-Pacific) were involved, namely Asian Institute of Technology, Chulalongkorn University and Prince of Songkla University.

There were 33 participants from 15 countries, of whom 21 were women. The objective of the Winter School was to improve the knowledge of future decision makers in the area of SCP and thus contribute to the design and implementation of policies, business models and practices that can promote sustainable resource management in a life cycle perspective for goods and services produced and used by governments, businesses and civil society.

The School’s second offering is planned for the later part of 2015 and a call for participation will be made in due course. For more information please visit the event’s website.

ESD in the news: Shaping the future we want

Article in the New Straits Time online by Dzulkifli Abdul Razak:

THE 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which aimed at a sustainable 21st century for the global community, described the future as follows: “The well-being of humanity is inextricably linked to the living environment that sustains us. Our ocean makes Earth habitable for people, by providing and regulating the climate, weather, oxygen, food, jobs and many ecosystem services. Yet our ocean and its resources are deteriorating and depleting. Today our ocean depends on us, as we depend on the ocean.” Read more.

ESD in the news: Faith-based Education for Sustainable Development

Article in the New Straits Time online by Dzulkifli Abdul Razak:

A DECADE can pass by in the blink of an eye when we are engrossed in turning an idea into reality. Ten years ago, then United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan said just that of “sustainable development”. He said: “Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that seems abstract — sustainable development — and turn it into a reality for all the world's people.” Read more.


World Bank Report: Turn Down the Heat: Confronting the New Climate Normal

The Turn Down the Heat report series, prepared for the Word Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, provides snapshots of the latest climate science. The three reports warn that without concerted action, temperatures are on pace to rise to 4°C above pre-industrial times by the end of this century. The first report (2012) looks at the risks of a world 4°C or even 2°C warmer. The second (2013) examines the impact on Africa, South Asia, and South East Asia. The third (2014) finds that about 1.5°C warming is already locked in and explores the impact on Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“Today’s report confirms what scientists have been saying – past emissions have set an unavoidable course to warming over the next two decades, which will affect the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people the most,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “We’re already seeing record-breaking temperatures occurring more frequently, rainfall increasing in intensity in some places, and drought-prone regions like the Mediterranean becoming drier.

For a full version of the report, please click here.

This is a publication of UNU-IAS RCE Global Service Centre.

If you wish to contribute to the monthly bulletin or have news, upcoming events, or publications, you would like to share, please use this form. You can mail it to the Global RCE Service Centre: Submissions must be made by the 15th of every month. In addition, we encourage you to continue using the RCE Portal to exchange ideas, share expertise and resources and deliberate emerging sustainability issues towards ESD implementation at a global level.

Please send your comments, suggestions and materials to