Issue #45: March 2015

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Issue 45: March 2015


Message from the Global RCE Service Centre:


Dear colleagues and friends,

Our main tool of communication – the RCE Portal has now finished its phase of so called ‘Redesign’ and has now entered its second and probably most important development stage. The goal has always been that the portal shall be the center of our RCE community, the pivot around which all communication takes place, where synergies between projects and RCEs are formed and where information on Sustainable Development and ESD can be found. Now, this may have been an ambitious plan, but with the help of you – the network – it is possible and doable.

There are no more excuses to not use the portal, if you have trouble to login, don’t know how to post a discussion or a news item, wish to contact an RCE member and search for a specific project or a core competency, we can help you to find it and use it. We have developed a series called RCE Portal Tutorial 101. Each and every tutorial relates to a specific topic such as for example how to upload files, how to do your Annual Reporting or how to login and request a new password.

All tutorials have been uploaded on the website under ‘ABOUT RCE’. Another major change has been the implementation of the RSS Feed on our homepage. This important feature allows you to receive instantaneous news items directly on your laptop/mobile device or PC as soon as they have been posted in the Highlights section of the RCE Portal. Just click on the RSS feed icon “Latest News and Events” on the right hand side under the banner and follow the instructions. If you don’t know how an RSS feed works or you wish to familiarize yourself with it, please visit our RSS Feed Tutorial.

To ensure the professionalism of our portal and to be representative as a network we aim to have all RCE profiles on the portal by the end of April. Of 135 acknowledged RCEs, only 62 have submitted a profile so far. This means that over 50% of RCEs still have no profile on the network’s portal. It is of essence that all RCEs should be represented with a small profile and picture. Please go to the RCE worldwide section in the portal and check whether your RCE already has a profile. If this is not the case, please send a small text, contact details and a photo to can find an example of how this may look like here.

We thank you all for your input and helping us to give the RCE community the promotion and attention it deserves!


Call for RCE Applications 2015


The United Nations University has announced its call for applications for new Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development. Those organisations who are interested in initiating the RCE process and applying to become an RCE are requested to submit an application and an application summary to the Global RCE Service Centre by Tuesday, 30 June 2015. The Global RCE Service Centre will communicate with the applicants during the following months, so that applications can be developed in time for the Ubuntu Committee Meeting in the last quarter of this year. Please visit the RCE Portal for more information.


Global RCE Service Centre


Upcoming Events


Events organized by UNU-IAS

Asia Pacific Leadership Programme 2015 on Environment for Sustainable Development

21-25 September 2015
Shanghai, China

The Asia-Pacific Leadership Programme on Environment for Sustainable Development is an annual flagship programme co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Tongji University, aiming to build capacity for emerging leaders from the Asia Pacific region on holistic sustainability thinking and evidence based approaches for effective action. The Leadership Programme is organized by the Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD) at Tongji University, in support of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-14, and closely linked with the training pillar of the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability GUPES.

The Leadership Programme will provide participants from the Asia Pacific region with the opportunity to improve all-round thinking and their decision-making abilities. The programme is targeted to emerging leaders in the region, representing governmental organizations, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector. The objective of the programme is to get a good understanding in the three key dimensions – human, environmental and social/economic – in promoting sustainable development and finally set up a platform for emerging leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to communicate and network with each other while working together to address complex practical sustainable development challenges. For more information please visit the RCE Portal or the programme’s website.

Events organized by RCE members

Media Workshop on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

6-8 April 2015
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir

To sensitize journalists on climate change issues globally viz-a-viz the Himalayan region; apprise them on existing policies and programmes for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and orient them about effective reporting on climate change issues, case studies and sustainable development for the mountain communities, the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and The Third Pole (TTP) under the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) supported by RCE Srinagar are organising this media workshop. For more information please contact Dr. Abdhesh Gangwar, RCE Srinagar (+91-9415104125 or at

Opening Ceremony RCE Eco-Park & Sejahtera Center for RCEs in Asia-Pacific

23 May 2015
Tongyeong City, Republic of Korea

The opening ceremony will take place back to back with the UNESCO World Education Forum in Incheon (19-22 May 2015). Direct transportation will be arranged from Incheon to Tongyeong on May 22. The full programme during the day is still to be confirmed but there will be an opening ceremony with a cultural performance, a guided tour of the park and the 7th Tongyeong ESD International Forum 2015. During the forum the role of the Sejahtera Centre in creating a global learning space for a sustainable future will be discussed. Another interesting item planned for the agenda is a policy maker roundtable of Asia Pacific RCEs which will include mayors, city councilors, and ESD experts that serve an important role in promoting ESD in the region. The discussion will create an opportunity for policy makers to understand the global RCE movement, allow them to form closer networks with each other, allow to learn from successful/unsuccessful experiences, and to form partnerships. The 2015 discussion will focus on sharing good practices of participating RCEs and on the role of the Sejahtera Centre for RCEs in the Asia Pacific region. For the full invitation letter please visit the RCE Portal.

For details, please contact Ms. Won J Byun at the RCE Tongyeong Secretariat or visit the RCE Tongyeong's website.

Other Events

UNESCO World Education Forum (WEF

19-22 May, 2015
Incheon, Republic of Korea

UNESCO, in close collaboration with other UN Agencies as co-conveners, will organize the World Education Forum 2015 (WEF 2015). The WEF’s outcome will be fully aligned with the education goal and targets of the global development agenda to be adopted at the UN High-Level Summit in September 2015, in order to have one single education agenda for 2015-2030. To achieve this consensus UNESCO is facilitating consultations at various levels and with the UN Secretariat. This also requires continued strong engagement and support from governments and other education partners to ensure that the final targets for education post-2015 are transformative, achievable and measurable. For more information on this event please visit the UNESCO website.

2015 International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability.

2-7 June 2015
Tongji University, Shanghai, China

The conference will be hosted by Tongji University and co-hosted by UNEP, Xinhua News Agency, BEFYT. Other co-organizers include UNESCO, FAO, UNAIDS, Bayer, and SKLPCR. There will be five different panels of discussion at the conference: Ecological Civilization and Green Development, Education for Sustainable Development, Food and Health, Ecosystem and Climate Change, Green Development, and finally Sustainable Development and the United Nations. For more information on this event and how to register please visit the conference’s website.


Open Calls


2015 ProSPER.Net-Scopus Young Scientist Award

The ProSPER.Net-Scopus Young Scientist Award (YSA) is given annually to young scientists and researchers who have made significant contributions in the area of sustainable development. The category for this year’s award will be Energy, Water and Biodiversity. Applications will be accepted from late March until 24 May through ProSPER.Net and Elsevier's websites.

As part of the judging process, the three finalists in each category will be sponsored to present their work in a public symposium on 27 July 2015 in Yokohama, Japan. Please visit the ProSPER.Net website for more details.

Call for Public Review on the Policy Briefs to the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2015

As part of the efforts to improve the science-policy interface in the intergovernmental processes on sustainable development at the United Nations, the Global Sustainable Development Report had posted an open call to the scientific community around the world, inviting scientists to submit briefs, highlighting specific issues, findings, or researches with a bearing on sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environment – or their inter-linkages. Briefs had been submitted by end of January 2015. They had to be factual and based on peer-reviewed literature, focusing on the review of up-to-date findings relating to a particular issue, or presenting solutions to a problem or challenge. Key messages from the current scientific debate had to be highlighted for the attention of policy-makers. In the spirit of transparency, all published briefs are now open for public review here.

2015 SEED Awards - Apply by 31 March 2015!

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally led start-up social and environmental enterprises in countries with developing and emerging economies. The independent SEED International Jury of experts selects enterprises, which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy. For more information please click here.

Publication on RCE contribution on Health, Sanitation and Nutrition

A policy report on Health, Sanitation and Nutrition based on RCE network experiences and good practices is being planned in the series of Learning Contributions of RCEs on ESD. The publication, in development jointly with the UNU-International Institute of Global Health (IIGH), is expected to review the latest policy discussions on specific themes and the relevance of RCE contributions in the policy arena. RCEs interested in contributing to the publication are requested to send an expression of interest mail to the Global RCE Service Centre before 6th April 2015. Please also share this information with the network partners working on the theme of health.

UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Regional Consultation Platform on Sustainable Development

This online platform was established to widen stakeholder access to the Asia-Pacific discussions on Sustainable Development. Your insights and perspectives are important for strengthening these regional discussions and may be used in materials to inform future intergovernmental dialogues including the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2015. For inquiries, please contact, check out the platform’s website or visit the UN ESCAP website.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) CONFINTEA Scholarships Available

In September 2015, UIL will offer four CONFINTEA research scholarships for one month each to researchers from UNESCO Member States (particularly from the global South). The scholarships are mainly based on private donations from the British educationalist Peter Jarvis and his publisher Taylor & Francis and the Nomura Centre for Lifelong Integrated Education in Japan. Participants are selected on the basis of their potential to produce articles, research papers, programme tools or policies which can be shared with decision-makers and will have an impact in the education sector of their home countries. Please submit your application by 30 April 2015 to Lisa Krolak at, or consult the website.

UN Social Development Network: Join the e-Discussion on Innovation and Technology

As part of promoting the 20th Anniversary of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development and the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, the UNDESA Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) launched a yearlong campaign called ‘For Inclusion. For Equality. For People’. The campaign, which is part of the wider ‘2015 Time for Global Action’ campaign, highlights the importance of unity and the need to put people at the centre of the development agenda.

To promote this month’s theme on ‘Innovation and Technology’, UNDESA DSPD has launched an e-discussion ‘How could the international community facilitate knowledge sharing and access to new technologies and innovation to all social groups, including youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, as well as vulnerable groups such as people living in rural and remote areas and people living in poverty?’.

Your responses will help UNDESA DSPD review the role of Innovation and Technology in the post-2015 Development Agenda with a focus on the social dimensions of sustainable development. The e-Discussion will take place from 11 March to 31 March. For more information please visit the RCE Portal.

2015 Time for Global Action for #YouthNow: Join the Campaign

Join the #YouthNow Campaign, a global campaign that leverages the power of digital and social engagement to mobilize global voices to share ideas on development issues most important to youth and that will leverage the grassroot's momentum to advocate for the full inclusion of youth in the Sustainable Development process and implementation. #YouthNow engages in a global community and in initiatives that inspire people, institutions and governments to celebrate the milestones achieved to date in advancing the global youth agenda, and advocate for further actions to be taken. Learn more here.


Latest News


8th Asia-Pacific RCE Conference and 6th International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development (ICERD)

The 8th Asia-Pacific RCE Conference was organized in Cebu and Bohol, the Philippines from 5 to 8 March 2015 in conjunction with the 6th International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development (ICERD). This event was a joint effort of RCE Cebu, RCE Bohol and RCE Greater Phnom Penh - engaging a variety of stakeholders such as university students who provided most logistical support during the conference.

Over 50 participants from 13 RCEs and candidate members in Asia-Pacific exchanged updates and innovative ideas on various projects related to biodiversity, community, schools, disaster risk reduction and youth. During the meeting, it was noted that many interesting collaborative projects were emerging among two or more RCEs while there was still a need for more consolidated efforts and a strategic approach in order to strengthen such collaborations and maximize the impact of these projects.

RCE members were also invited to present at ICERD, where 180 participants from 16 countries gathered to discuss effective processes and strategies for sustainable rural development. It provided a great opportunity for RCEs to share their experiences with other practitioners outside the network and enhance the visibility of the RCE initiative.

Participants also discussed general guidelines for organizing future continental meetings as well as for formulating the coordinating committee that provides peer support for facilitating communication and collaboration among Asia-Pacific RCEs. The revised guidelines for the coordinating committee are available here and the guidelines for the meeting organizer here. Any comments and suggestions are welcome and can be sent to the Global RCE Service Centre. For those who are interested in becoming part of the coordinating committee for the Asia-Pacific region, please note that the first open call will be made in the next couple of weeks.

Follow-up Meeting of the UNESCO World Conference on ESD

In October and November 2014, the City of Okayama hosted a number of ESD-related conferences including the Kominkan-CLC International Conference on ESD, UNESCO ASPnet Schools related meetings, a Youth Conference, the Teacher Education Conference and the 9th Global RCE Conference. Four months after the successful closing of the UN Decade of ESD, the City of Okayama organized a one-day follow-up meeting on 14 March 2015 to revisit the outcomes of the UNESCO World Conference on ESD and discuss a way forward as to how to further upscale ESD activities in Okayama in the context of the GAP on ESD.

180 participants, mostly local citizens from Okayama and its neighboring areas, actively took part in small group discussions to share their engagement in various ESD activities and confirm their commitments to addressing sustainability issues through ESD. The City of Okayama presented the new “Okayama ESD Project Master Plan (2015-2019)” which was developed by RCE Okayama in close consultation with key stakeholders and external experts. This will serve as guiding principles for people in Okayama to further promote ESD beyond DESD in pursuit of achieving a more sustainable society. Inputs from local participants based on the discussions will be reflected in the final version of the Plan. For more information, please contact Mr. Nagareo.

CEE Facilitated RCEs Meet during CEE 2015

During this meeting on 2 February 2015 in Ahmedabad, India, the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) facilitated RCEs from India discussed different issues. The main agenda was how different CEE RCEs can strengthen each other’s work, work together and do joint projects, raise funds and other resources, share experiences, identify common themes to work together across countries, do better reporting of RCE activities, popularize RCE work and ESD using media, motivate other partners, seeking their active participation and learn from each other. For more information on the outcome of this meeting, please visit the RCE Portal.

Asia-Pacific Strategic Paper ‘Advancing ESD beyond 2014: Strategy for Asia-Pacific RCEs'

Over 100 RCE members from 29 of the 49 Asia-Pacific RCEs met in Okayama during the 9th Global RCE Conference to reflect on recent developments in the community and discuss a more dynamic collaboration and the post-2014 strategic direction. One of the highlights of the meeting was the adoption of the Asia-Pacific Strategic Paper ‘Advancing ESD beyond 2014: Strategy for Asia-Pacific RCEs’ which encapsulates the aspirations of the Asia-Pacific RCE community and served as input to the RCE Global Conference. The category of issues are aligned with, but not limited to, the priority action areas of GAP. You can find the paper on the RCE Portal.

Japanese RCE Meeting, 16 March, Sendai, Japan

The Japanese RCE Meeting was held in Sendai, Japan on 16 March 2015 hosted by RCE Greater Sendai. All six Japanese RCEs (RCE Greater Sendai, RCE Yokohama, RCE Chubu, RCE Hyogo-Kobe, RCE Okayama and RCE Kitakyushu) came together and reported on activities implemented in 2014.

RCE Greater Sendai is taking part in the ESD Consortium that covers the area of Tohoku, and promotes ESD in wider areas by working with UNESCO Associated Schools, universities, school committees, NGOs and other. RCE Yokohama is offering environment education for elementary and middle school students and they also organized a youth competition in Yokohama on environmental activities. RCE Chubu promoted ESD mainly through ESD-seminars. RCE Okayama is developing an “Okayama ESD Project Master Plan 2015-2019” where they involve citizens of Okayama, and RCE Kitakyushu had developed a “Kyushu Declaration on RCEs and ESD beyond 2014”. RCE Hyogo-Kobe is currently focusing on higher education by offering ESD courses at Kobe University for both undergraduate and graduate students. Finally, they also discussed how they can promote ESD beyond 2014 after the series of ESD-related events in Okayama and Nagoya last year. In order to look for a possibility of collaboration among RCEs, they are now exchanging their different work plans for 2015.

Successful Kominkan-CLC International Conference on ESD

Over 650 participants, including learners, facilitators and managers of Kominkan (Community Learning Centre of Japan) and other Community Learning Centers (CLCs), community educators, representatives from governments, United Nation agencies and researchers gathered together for the Kominkan-CLC International Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), held in Okayama 9-12 October 2014.

Participants discussed how to sustain and promote ESD through community-based learning, drawing on their rich experience of working with local communities. The main outcome of the Conference was the ‘Okayama Commitment 2014: Promoting ESD beyond DESD through Community-Based Learning’, a document that celebrates the significant contributions of community-based learning during the UNDESD and the commitments made to continue making advancements in ESD.

To access relevant documents, please visit the conference website. The French version of the “Okayama Commitment 2014” is available at UNESDOC. The Okayama Commitment 2014 is also available on Youtube: short English version (3 min), short Japanese version (3 min), and the full version (24 min). Please feel free to use and share the commitment and the videos.


Media and Other Articles


The Science Magazine: Sustainable Goals from the UN under fire

Reuters: New development goals risk failure without clearer targets, scientists warn

UNESCOPRESS: Five exceptional women honored for their ground-breaking discoveries in the physical sciences

NY Times: Gender gap in education cuts both ways

These and many more articles can be found on the RCE Portal. For instantaneous news, please sign up for our RSS Feed!




International Council of Science (ICSU) Review of Targets for the Sustainable Development Goals: The Science Perspective (2015)

The SDGs offer a "major improvement" over their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, this report by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) finds that of the 169 targets beneath the 17 draft goals, just 29% are well defined and based on the latest scientific evidence, while 54% need more work and 17% are weak or non-essential.

The assessment of the targets – which are intended to operationalise the 17 goals set to be approved by governments later in 2015 – is the first of its kind to be carried out by the scientific community, and represents the work of over 40 leading researchers covering a range of fields across the natural and social sciences. Read the report here.

The Growth of Trees – A Historical Perspective on Sustainability

How could alpine farmers in the Swiss village of Törbel survive over centuries in adverse conditions? Why did the Hohokam culture suddenly collapse after more than 1000 years? Looking back in history, did truly sustainable societies ever exist? 300 years ago Carl von Carlowitz the so called “father of the term sustainability” died. Why is it worthwhile to remember him today? In his search for the history of sustainability, Christof Mauch discusses these and many more questions. Looking back at the historical relationship between humans and their environment may serve as a guide for the central political debates of today.

Christof Mauch is co-founder and Director of the Rachel Carson Center for environment and society. The RCE Munich is partnering with the Rachel Carson Center since 2012 in a sustainability lecture. The publication is available online 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