Issue #52: October 2015

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Issue 52: October 2015


Message from the Global RCE Service Centre:


Dear colleagues and friends,

Our facebook page is becoming more popular by the day, with an average post reach of 1,500 people per week. But this is not enough! We need to reach more people connected to and interested in our RCE Community to boost and promote our work in ESD.

Tell everyone to check out our page and LIKE it. Then they will automatically follow our news and see any information important to ESD. We have also implemented our social media guidelines, a set of rules that enables us all to communicate in a decent way, respecting each other’s backgrounds and cultures. These guidelines will also help everyone to use the medium, where communication is quite different to traditional media channels such as for example emails and the bulletin.

We would also like to draw your attention to the new ESD EVENT CALENDAR on the RCE Portal. Feel free to send us any conferences, meetings and other interesting gatherings, so we can add them here. UN days and other international days are also marked. We have also added a new area of CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT. We are hoping to expand this section of learning and synergies for all RCEs, where grants, proposals, open calls and project highlights that call for support, can be posted and shared. Watch out for this space and how it evolves.

As mentioned in the last bulletin, we would like to remind you that we are currently preparing our activities in the upcoming climate conference COP21 in Paris. There are several possibilities for RCEs to be part of this. If you already have plans with secured funding to participate in COP or are interested in sharing your experiences with the rest of the RCE community, please get in touch with us (Philip Vaughter, Zinaida Fadeeva and Hanna Staahlberg).

If you wish to be part of the “Our World Our Responsibility” Initiative organised by the RCE Youth Network, and submit a short video, please follow this link.

Finally we would like to draw your attention to the latest bulletin, which was sent out end of September. Apparently some of you may have not received it due to a technical glitch. Any past bulletins can be accessed via the RCE Portal and on facebook.


Upcoming Events


Events organised by RCEs

Education as a driver for SDGs

11-13 January, 2016
Ahmedabad, India

The conference is organised by the Centre for Environment and Education (CEE), India in partnership with UNESCO, UNEP, the Government of India and Nature protects if she is protected. The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development has demonstrated how education can play a vital role leading to sustainable development. As the UN has finalized the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by Open Working Groups, it is important for ESD communities to look specifically at each goal and determine how education can play an effective role in helping achieve this. The conference aims to recognize education as a key enabler to the broader realization of SDGs.

The role of education in its broadest sense including training and capacity building, communication and creating public awareness, scientific research, sharing and access to information and networking, and partnerships become a key strategy for achieving the SDGs. The objective of the conference is to bring together the global experience and expertise of using education as a way of achieving SDGs and showcasing the India experience in doing so.

The conference spread over three days will have five plenaries and 17 working groups. The ESDG conference workshop themes will be organized on the lines of the SDGs. More details on the conference can be found here.

Events organised by UNU-IAS

UN Winter School on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in Asia and the Pacific

17-30 January, 2016
Bangkok, Thailand

Under the SWITCH-Asia Regional Policy Support Component programme and the Asia-Pacific Roadmap of the 10 YFP on SCP, the Second "UN Winter School on Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia and the Pacific", will be held 17-30 January 2016 at the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Campus, Bangkok, Thailand. This event is organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its partners, UNU-IAS, and the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT).

The strategic objective of the Winter School is to improve the knowledge of future decision makers in Asia and the Pacific 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, business and civil society. This is an exclusive learning opportunity for young professionals, including post-graduate students, to be equipped with skills that can support their professional and research activities.Over two weeks participants will have the opportunity to interact with distinguished professors, researchers, practitioners and experts on SCP, follow master classes, participate in interactive scenario based exercises and simulation games, learn from each other, and build a network of young SCP professionals in the Asia and the Pacific region. Deadline for this event is 8 November, 2015. Scholarships are available for participants from developing countries in Asia and the Pacific. Full information and details about the application process is available here.

Other Events

UNESCO Conference on Education Policies for 2030

18-20 January, 2016
Paris, France

The 2030 education agenda places great emphasis on quality, inclusiveness and equity. While access to education remains high up in the national agenda of many countries, these suggested goals for education in 2030 will require governments to maximize the use of existing policy levers for change. Over the past two years, UNESCO has been closely monitoring three of these levers: governance, school leadership, and monitoring and evaluation. The variables and factors that optimize learning cannot be simply derived from results. Promoting quality necessitates a full system-wide approach to monitoring and evaluation that goes beyond the mere qualification of student learning outcomes. The conference on “Education Policies for 2030: Governance, School Leadership and Monitoring and Evaluation as Levers for Change” takes as its broad theme a discussion on which public policies can best help governments to reach higher levels of education quality through the use of these themes.

Presentations, panels and debates will be informed by three UNESCO reports, featuring the main findings and lessons of the comparative analysis of public policies in these domains, carried out over the past biennium and due to be launched at the conference. This is a conference by invitation only with mainly policy makers and high-level administrators in the education sector, researchers and policy analysts from international organizations, research institutions and universities, and think tanks, as well as representatives from organizations of stakeholders in education, including teachers, families, students, and the civil society at large, attending. For more information on this event, click here.


Open Calls


RCE Greater Western Sydney (GWS) calls for university case studies in sustainability assessments

RCE GWS is seeking university case studies in the global RCE community that engage with ‘powerful assessment’ tasks. Powerful assessment means assessment tasks which are integrated, real-world based and tap in combination the personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities we know characterise successful early career graduates.

Specific areas of interest are: Assessment of social, cultural, economic and environmental sustainability in combination – including any use and assessment of Blue Economy projects/ cradle to cradle design and use of apps, assessment of students' capability for invention and ethical social/economic entrepreneurialism, and finally dilemma-based assessment.

Please click here for further information on the Graduate Capability Framework endorsed by Global L&T leaders that have been involved in the OLT National Teaching Fellowship that will give an operational picture of the personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities to be assessed. If you are interested, please contact Professor Geoff Scott by 6 November 2015.

Global Online Course: Environmental Education: A transdisciplinary approach to addressing wicked problems

The goal of this course is to create an environmental education “trading zone”—an online space where scholars and students gather to learn about multiple disciplines that shed light on how to improve environmental quality and change environmental behaviors. Each of the lectures, readings, discussions, and case studies will focus on the implications of a particular discipline for environmental education, as well as what environmental education has to contribute to related disciplines and sectors. Learn about how environmental education, environmental governance, environmental psychology, environmental sociology and other disciplines can work together to address ‘wicked problems,’ not readily addressed by working in disciplinary silos.

The course is offered by Cornell University and other partner universities and will take place 1 February – 24 April, 2016. For more information please visit the course’s website.

Mobilizing Local Knowledge to Improve Competitiveness Strategies Grant (USD 41,500)

The programme “Mobilizing Knowledge to Improve Competitiveness Strategies” intends to mobilize developing country researchers to produce contextualized knowledge on the issue of industrial policies. This evidence-based research conducted by developing country researchers, can make a unique contribution to the understanding of the processes through which government and companies interact to improve – or conversely penalize – industrial productivity, as well as the measurement of these impacts in developing countries. Deadline is 18 November 2015. For more information and how to apply, click here.

Call for Papers for a special issue in International Review of Education

The thematic issue of the International Review of Education on non-formal and community learning for sustainable development will present and analyse a wide range of non-formal ESD activities. A general overview article will be followed by six to eight case studies covering projects from all world regions. These case studies will be either ‘critically reflexive’ or grounded in empirical research, or both. The guest editors of this issue are cognizant of criticisms which have been levelled against case-study research in the field of ESD and are equally aware of the significance of contextual studies of practice that have transformative value both for local practice and practices elsewhere.

Ideally, a case study will be co-written by a representative of the ‘project’ or ‘practice’ and an international ESD expert/researcher and guided by a set of critical considerations for conducting case study research in ESD. The case studies aim to provide insights into the practice of non-formal and community learning for sustainable development that will hopefully inspire further theoretical work and practical actions in this field. The authors for the thematic issue case studies will be selected with a view to ensure geographical diversity as well as diversity in perspectives on ESD in non-formal and community-based settings. The case studies will have to be written in English or French.

There will be a two-round selection process. First round - expression of interest: Interested authors express their interest by writing a 300-word abstract for the case study. Abstracts should crystallise the proposed case study, and map out how this will be presented, including key sources of ideas/references/evidence/connection to the thematic issue.

To submit your 300 word manuscript abstract, please click here. Deadline is 1 November 2015, midnight Paris time. For more information please visit our new Capacity Development section on the RCE Portal.

Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable management in priority socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes, the GEF Satoyama Project

The GEF-Satoyama Project is calling for proposals in Mainstreaming biodiversity conservation and sustainable management in priority socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes, Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. These projects shall enhance livelihood, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services. This will take into account the protection and use of traditional knowledge in conservation measures, as well as the equity among various population groups in the project sites including indigenous peoples, women and other vulnerable groups.

Deadline is 18 November 2015. To apply, and for more information, please visit the GEF Satoyama website.

2016 Fellowship applications of the Asia Foundation

Asia Foundation Development Fellows can now apply for the 2016 Fellowship year. You need to be a resident, national or citizen of the following countries where The Asia Foundation has programmes: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam. Eligibility criteria and application procedure have are now online. For more information on how to apply and the programme, please follow this link.

SEAMEO’s call for Cultural Week Video Discussions

In celebration of SEAMEO's Golden 50th Anniversary, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization is inviting students, teachers and schools in Southeast Asian countries to learn the cultural heritage practices of Southeast Asian countries during 2-6 November 2015 by visiting their YouTube channel. View the videos and stand the chance to win US$200 and more prizes.

The videos show the hard work that students and teachers of registered primary and secondary schools from across Southeast Asia have put in documenting their local intangible cultural heritage practices such as dance, songs, crafts and dishes. Following the video, there will be a mini-essay question about the videos (max. 300 words).

Timetable: Videos will be launched on YouTube.

Day 1 (Nov 2, Mon): Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia and Lao PDR

Day 2 (Nov 3, Tues): Malaysia (Part 1/2)

Day 3 (Nov 4, Wed): Malaysia (Part 2/2)

Day 4 (Nov 5, Thurs): Myanmar and Philippines

Day 5 (Nov 6, Fri): Thailand, Vietnam

It is recommended that videos are shown at a school assembly or in school classrooms across SEAMEO member countries. Following the video viewings, teachers can initiate a discussion on the 'mini-essay' question posted as a comment from SEAMEO SPAFA. More information can be found in the SEAMEO viewing guidelines.


Latest News


German RCEs Meeting Report

On 17 and 18 September 2015, RCEs from the German-speaking countries met in Munich. Eight competence centres from South Tyrol to Hamburg, and from Nuremberg to the Black Forest exchanged views on the establishment of ESD on the local level of the GAP.

In particular, the structures currently in place in Germany (National Platform, technical forums, and partner networks) were at the centre of the discussions. So far six specialized forums are planned with a main focus on formal education. During each expert forum there will be a special session for partner networks. During the discussions, it emerged that more specialised forums need to be set up. Hence, the German RCEs are interested in providing a more professional and theme-related forum. The RCEs competence is anchored in the very strong connection of their local work on ESD to international processes and the diversity of RCEs themselves (since they are not all institutions of the same type). Additionally RCEs provide different perspectives on sustainable living. In this respect, the RCEs bring an independent and diverse perspective depending on the RCE’s environment in which they operate and their activities with local communities.

Other topics discussed included common digital and non-digital appearances, joint actions and future collaborations, coordination of the German RCEs and financing of joint projects. On the second day, the educational concept OPEDUCA was introduced with a broad interest and a possible anchor in Munich which will be discussed in the coming weeks.

2015 RCE Minna Independence Day Debate Championship

The debate championship brought together students’ from different schools. Specifically, three major schools from Minna, the Devine Excellence International Secondary School, the Royal Hilton College and the High Point International Secondary School were active participants at the event.

Each school had three speakers each that either proposed or opposed the motion. During the debate some of the arguments raised focussed on the children’s rights in society, such as a right to education, life, and good health among others. However, the student’s wording, their logical presentation of points, appearance, charisma, confidence and ability to carry the audience along with them, were used by the judges to score the school’s performance. Royal Hilton College came first with 74% followed by the Devine Excellence International Secondary School at 64%, and High Point International Secondary School with 61%.

Outcomes of the conference included institutionalising the debate concept by RCE Minna to bring together school children focussing on SDG4 and SDG10. Participants will undergo leadership training at the RCE Minna resource centre and more youth will be mobilised for participation and partnership with special focus on the action number 4 of the GAP. Additionally RCE Minna is planning to implement gardening training for primary school children using the RCE demonstration garden. Read the full report of the event here.

IUBAT 2015 Youth Conference “Searching Green Ambassadors” in Greater Dhaka

The first Youth Conference "Searching Green Ambassadors" took place at the International University of Business Agriculture and Technology (IUBAT), the Secretariat of RCE Greater Dhaka. The main aim of the event was to search for Youth Green Ambassadors that will actively tackle future sustainability challenges.

RCE Greater Dhaka is currently in the process of building a network among the youth partners in the country. Among the partners leading this project were Ohnish Films, Green Savers, and a community organisation called CHANGE in Uttara, Dhaka. Students from Nawab Habibullah Model School and College and volunteers from CHANGE came together as well as a large number of IUBAT students. For the report of the event, please visit the RCE Portal. You can watch a video of the event here.

RCE Graz-Styria and RCE Vienna participate in the UNESCO Workshop on “Sustainability Science in Central and Eastern Europe”

40 scientists and representatives of ministries and other relevant organisations from the CEE countries (Central and Eastern Europe) Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, as well as Germany and Austria discussed the issue of sustainability science from 11-12 September 2015 in Warsaw, Poland.

The workshop was organised by the Polish, German and Austrian National Commissions for UNESCO and followed up on the results of a previous workshop in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 2014. Characteristics, challenges and good practices of national sustainable development policies and science policies were exchanged and opportunities to raise greater awareness for sustainable development and the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were discussed. Furthermore concrete ideas for a joint project proposal were formulated, which will aim at developing a conceptual framework of indicators for sustainability science to be applied to the respective national science systems of the CEE countries. The indicators should be used to raise awareness about sustainable development and to establish better contacts with society, to include non-academics into academic research, into peer-review processes and into funding decisions.

The Austrian RCEs Graz-Styria and Vienna look forward to contributing both their scientific expertise as well as their bridging function between research, practice and policy. For more information please contact RCE Graz.

Highlights from the Community to Community Exchange and Capacity Development Workshop for Traditional Knowledge Holders

The Community-to-Community Exchange and Capacity Development Workshop for Traditional Knowledge Holders was held on 28th September to 4th October 2015, in Bengaluru, India and 100 delegates from Africa, South East Asia and the Central Asia gathered to highlight the importance of fostering the linkages between biodiversity and health and the relevance of Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). UNU-IAS and UNDP among others were co-organizers of this important event.

Nine major highlights emerged from this event: (1) Common sense on the potential of Access and Benefit Sharing as a tool for conservation of ecosystems, protection of traditional knowledge and creating sustainable livelihoods. (2) International knowledge exchange and sharing ideas on how to tap into the potential of Access and Benefit Sharing. (3) Innovative documentation and assessment approaches of traditional knowledge and practices. (4) Innovative approaches to conserve biodiversity ex-situ and in-situ. (5) Enterprise development based on sustainable resource management and protection of traditional knowledge. (6) Biocultural Community Protocols (BCPs) as a useful tool to protect the customary values, rights and rules about bio-cultural heritage. (7) Sharing Access and Benefit Sharing experiences and Capacity Development approaches from African countries. (8) Implementation is key! (9) Looking beyond 2015 – building alliances to take further steps for South-South Cooperation.

For a more detailed report of the event, please click here.

Report on Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities Case Studies of Twelve Learning Cities and outcomes of the International Conference on Learning Cities

Outcomes from the 2nd International Conference on Learning Citieswhich took place in Mexico City from 28-30 September are now available on the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) website. You can also find 12 case studies on Unlocking the Potential of Urban Communities summarised in a UNESCO report. RCE Espoo is featured in this report.

CEE Himalaya integrates religion with biodiversity conservation and environment protection

In ancient times, trees were worshipped in the form of sacred groves, and animals were taken care of as form of Gods. However, with the current religious practices adopted, the trend seems to have been reversed causing unsustainable harvest of plants and endangering of animals. Centre for Environment and Education (CEE) Himalaya launched an education programme to study the religious practices adopted and their impact on biodiversity and environment. The month of Shravan, usually around July-August, attracts a large number of devotees to offer leaves, flowers, and fruits of wild plants and worship snakes. These activities contribute largely to temple waste especially non-biodegradable plastics. The teams of RCE Srinagar and CEE Himalaya visited the Boothnath temple in Indiranagar, Lucknow, India to study this issue and launched and awareness campaign for the devotees, temple staff, vendors and snake charmers to acquaint them with the various environmental issues.

For a full report please click here.


Media and Other Articles


According to UNFCCC, the first draft of the new universal climate change agreement was released and presented to governments - an important step ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

UN Radio interview with Dan Thomas (spokesperson for the President of the General Assembly) on what was achieved during the intensive talks in NY during the Sustainable Development Summit.

UN Radio Extreme poverty rate set to fall below 10% by end of 2015.

Ban Ki-moon addresses the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs): Unlocking potential of LDCs must be litmus test for SDGs.

Youtube Video: Jeffrey Sachs & Kevin Watkins on financing for sustainable development.

UNFCCC: Overview of announced climate finance pledges ahead of Paris.

Want to know more about how we can use Big Data to monitor progress in development? Check out the video by UN DESA on Big Data to find out more!

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


Hot Off the Press: ESD Books, Publications and Other


Free access to NAEE’s Environmental Education Database

In honour of the North American Association for Environmental Education’s annual conference, please enjoy FREE access to a selection of key articles in the Environmental Education article database (until December 31, 2015.)

EEASA 33rd Conference Declaration

Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa EEASA’s membership is comprised of educators in all levels, researchers, environmentalists, NGOs, learners and professional environmental organisations. The full declaration of the conference can be downloaded here.

Handbook Communities in Action: Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development

This handbook describes the principles and policy mechanisms to advance community-based learning for sustainable development, based on the commitments endorsed by participants in the Kominkan-CLC International Conference on ESD. The presentation can be found here.The full publication can be downloaded here.

70 Years 70 Documents

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of the UN, the Dag Hammarskjöld Library is presenting an exploration of the 70 key documents that have shaped the UN and the world. Each month new documents will be added, honouring the historic breadth of the organization's work.

Global Sustainable Development Report, 2015

The 2015 Global Sustainable Development Report was launched in June and contributed to the 2015 session of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The general approach to the 2015 edition of the GSDR report is that of an assessment of assessments, documenting and describing the landscape of information on specific issues. The report is global in coverage while taking into account the perspectives of the five UN regions. Extensive inputs were sought from the UN system, government officials and stakeholders at all levels, including representatives of academies of sciences, of key international assessments, and relevant UN expert groups. You will also find briefs of each chapter and side event information on the website.

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