Issue #44: February 2015

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Issue 44: February 2015


Message from the Global RCE Service Centre:


Dear colleagues and friends,

In Tokyo we are all waiting impatiently for the first cherry blossom sakura which will finally announce the beginning of spring and the change of season.

As with many things in Japan, sakura carries a certain weight for its symbolism and tradition. Salary men gather under cherry and plum trees laden with short-lived white and pink flowers picnicking and drinking sake for the so called hanami (literally translated as flower viewing). It is hugely popular and difficult to get a spot in one of the many parks or cemeteries in Tokyo. People are merry and cheerful that the long winter is over, finally getting a break from the cold, with the excruciating hot and humid summer still far away.

Spring is probably the most beautiful season in Japan. The Japanese Meteorological Agency and the public track the sakura zensen or cherry blossom front, as it moves northward up the archipelago with the approach of warmer weather via nightly forecasts following the weather segment of the news programmes.

The official change of season in 2015, the vernal equinox or spring equinox, as it is called in the Northern Hemisphere, comes March 20th, so we take this opportunity to wish you all already a wonderful beginning of spring.

RCE Portal REVAMP 2015


In the spirit of change and new beginnings, we would like to point out a few changes made on the RCE Portal. You may have noticed that the homepage has downsized considerably without losing any essence of content. We no longer make a difference between featured activities, news and events. Although you can still find all these items in their respective tab locations, on the homepage they are all now consolidated under HIGHLIGHTS. If you wish to display an item in this section, make sure you click on ‘Featured’ when adding a post.

ESD post-2014

A new section on the RCE Portal called ESD after 2014 holds relevant information post-DESD which you and your RCE may find useful in order to plan and implement activities and projects after the DESD has now officially come to an end. If you can think of any relevant resources that should be added to this section, in terms of GAP on ESD, and any other policy-relevant documents, do let us know and we will add these for all to be accessible. Resources you will find here are for example the Okayama and Nagoya declarations, the UNESCO Roadmap, GAP relevant documents and many policy-related publications.

Data Privacy

Finally, we have also implemented the important features of COPYRIGHT, TERMS OF USE and PRIVACY STATEMENT on our homepage. At the bottom of the RCE Portal you will find three links which explain how your data privacy is ensured and what the terms of use are for the RCE Network website. Please take a moment to read through them, since by using the website you automatically agree to them. The Terms of Use explain the rules of the RCE website. These include use of language, types of unloadable material and content responsibility.

We do hope you find these new features useful for your work and continue to improve wherever we can. There are several new projects which are currently being developed such as including an RSS Feed on the website for instantaneous news, improving the Searchability of the portal for common projects, names and activities, RCE PORTAL TUTORIAL 101, as well as enhancing the RCE World Map with more interactive features and including a feature on Connecting with Members.

However, we would like to emphasize that it is your responsibility as an RCE within this network to provide us with relevant information. The RCE Portal is an interactive website that strongly depends on your input and information sharing. The Global RCE Service Centre merely acts as an administrator.

Many RCEs are still missing their Profile Pages and contact information and not enough are using the portal to upload relevant material that can be shared and may be useful to others in the COMMUNITY. It is up to you at the end to make this portal successful and useful for us all!


Global RCE Service Centre

Upcoming Events

Events organized by RCE members

UN 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction Forum: Fostering Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) through Education for Sustainable Development

16 March 2015
Sendai, Miyagi, Japan

Together with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology and the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO during the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, RCE Greater Sendai is organizing the forum ‘Fostering DRR through Education for Sustainable Development’.

DRR education has grown as a major component of ESD, particularly since March 2011 in the Tohoku area. The Aichi-Nagoya declaration on ESD clearly reaffirmed that it can serve as a vital means of implementation of DRR, hence specific measures and strategies should be discussed to effectively foster DRR within the ESD context.

As leading promoters of ESD, the organizers will present practical DRR educational programs from local elementary, junior high and high schools. Practitioners in both fields are invited to explore the contribution of ESD to DRR and develop a framework from their common ground for a better future for children. For more information on this event click here.

A second event of interest during the conference is the public forum “Disaster and Education for Building a Resilient Society” on March 17. Organised by the Japan RQ Disaster Education Center, the Japan Society for the Study of Adult and Community Education, and the Japanese Society for Environmental Education, this symposium will focus on possibilities of education in formal, non-formal, and informal settings to develop resilience of communities and people based on reports of experiences in the area afflicted by Great East Japan Earthquake. You can find more information here.

For more information on the UN conference itself click here.

3rd World Sustainable Development Teach-in Day

25 March 2015
Hamburg, Germany

The 3rd "World Sustainable Development Teach-In Day" consists of a set of lectures in English prepared by some of the leading experts on sustainable development, a set of videos on the scientific, economic and social aspects of sustainable development, which can be downloaded and a discussion forum. Being a global event, the Teach-In Day will cater for all time zones. Participation is open to anyone interested, and is free of charge. Interested persons can register here.

3rd Annual Youth Virtual Conference: Energy Systems and Sustainability

15 May 2015
Grand Rapids, USA

For the past two years RCE Grand Rapids has successfully hosted the Youth Virtual Conference on sustainability issues. This year, on May 15, eight secondary schools (ages 14-18) from RCEs across the world will be linked in a four-hour, peer-education symposium. Each class/student group will present their research on sustainability related energy issues of interest to them and their region. The following RCEs have participated in the past and/or have expressed interest in participating this year: Grand Rapids (USA), Portland (USA), Curitiba (Brazil), Kerkrade (Rhine-Meuse, Netherlands), Lima-Callao (Peru), Bogotá (Columbia), Nairobi (Kenya), Saskatchewan (Canada).

The benefits of this conference are many and include the following objectives: (1) create a global learning community in order to understand the complex issues of sustainability related to food systems and security, (2) develop a skills set of collaboration, communication and problem solving among bright young people, and (3) understand how local actions have global impacts.

For more information on the event click here.You can download the registration form and the abstract here.

Other Events

BLISS 2015 : Towards Cleaner and Greener Societies

16-20 March, 2015
New Delhi, India

TERI University's BLISS 2015, with a contemporary theme - 'Towards Cleaner and Greener Societies', aims to address the sustainability concerns regarding a safe and clean environment and equitable social development. The programme will provide a platform to address and debate diverse problems associated with the creation of a 'clean and green' society at large and also ponder upon how youth can contribute to solving these problems. To ensure that sustainability-driven business models to combat climate change can be maintained, the five-day programme will play a pivotal role in providing insights into the problems and solutions related to sustainability science, using an interdisciplinary approach.

Application deadline is the 6 March. For more information on the event visit the BLISS website.

Online Course: The Age of Sustainable Development provides a course as an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of sustainable development, drawing on the most recent developments in the social, policy, and physical sciences. The course describes the complex interactions between the world economy and the Earth’s physical environment. The course offers a broad overview of the key challenges and potential solutions to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century. For more information please visit the course’s website.

Latest News

YUVA Meet and the RCE Youth Meeting, New Delhi, 2 - 4 February 2014

Youth Unite for Voluntary Action (YUVA) meet, an annual event organized by The Energy Resource Institute (TERI) and RCE Delhi, was held on 2nd and 3rd Feb 2015 in New Delhi. Representatives from RCEs such as Bogota, Guatemala, Penang, Minna, Kano, Greater Dhaka, Srinagar, Chandigarh and Lucknow attended the two day event on the theme "Sustainable Solutions: Safe Water for All". RCE participants interacted with over 200 youth participants from India.

On the second day, a special panel was organized about the RCE network involving RCE youth participants to highlight diverse contributions of the network on ESD. The RCE Youth meeting held on February 4 took stock of the developments since the last meeting in Okayama and discussed strategic directions as well as various initiatives of the youth network. Participants shared their experiences on various youth-related projects undertaken by RCEs. Members from RCE Saskatchewan, Greater Nairobi, Penang, Minna, Pwani also participated through Skype. The meeting ended with the decision to further strengthen the network by inviting every RCE to nominate a youth representative for the network.

More updates are available on the RCE youth network Facebook page as well as on the RCE Portal.

ISSC calls for proposal for Transformative Knowledge Networks worth €900,000

The International Social Science Council (ISSC) and its partners are inviting applications for proposals for Transformative Knowledge Networks for the recently launched Transformations to Sustainability Programme.Three Transformative Knowledge Networks will be supported each with up to €900,000 over three years.

The Transformations to Sustainability Programme seeks to address global sustainability challenges by supporting research on the complex processes of social transformation needed to secure effective, equitable and durable solutions. It will enable social scientists to develop knowledge networks that will both strengthen social science leadership in global change and sustainability research and to foster on-the-ground progress towards greater sustainability.

The knowledge networks will be led or co-led by social scientists in low- and middle-income countries, and will involve the relevant academic disciplines, as well as societal stakeholders, in truly co-designed and co-implemented solutions-oriented research. For more information visit the RCE Portal.

Health Food Traditions of Asia – Research Project Meeting, Penang, Malaysia

A two day meeting of Health Food Traditions of Asia (HFTA) project under the ProSPER.Net research program was hosted by the Centre for Global Sustainability Studies (CGSS), Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang 10-11 February. The eight month project was coordinated by the University of Gadjah Madah (UGM), Yogyakarta, Indonesia with three partners Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Prince Songhkla University (PSU). Experts from UNU-IAS and the Oxford University also participated in the event.

The event highlighted the vast geographic, socioeconomic and cultural diversity in Asia (with special reference to ASEAN) and the relevance of rich food traditions in the region, as well as the increasing disparity in health status within and between countries.Read more.

Sustainable & Low Carbon Schools Exhibition

Iskandar Malaysia Sustainable & Low Carbon Schools Exhibition 2015 was successfully held on February 7, 2015 at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia. The exhibition showcased sustainable efforts initiated by schools in RCE Iskandar such as regular recycling activities, special projects and campaigns and active participation of schools at various communities, at the national and international level related to sustainable development.

The exhibition was a joint effort between Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Iskandar Regional Development Agency (IRDA), Johor State Education Department (JPNJ) and Johor State Science & Mathematics Education Association (PPSMJ) under RCE Iskandar. 22 primary and secondary schools participated in the exhibition competition, while more than 600 visitors from the area of RCE Iskandar joined the exhibition where parallel workshops were also conducted throughout the day. The exhibition was inaugurated by Datuk Ayub Rahmat, Johor State Executive Council on Health and Environment together with the official announcement of RCE Iskandar.

Presentations from 2nd World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities (WSSD-U-2014)

Over 100 power point presentations from sustainability experts from across the world, presented at WSSD-U-2014 are now online here. RCE Hamburg would like to encourage you to make use of these presentations as a basis for lectures, to be held as part of the Teach-In Day on 26th March.

Media and Other Articles

The Guardian: SGD’s: all you need to know

World Economic Forum: 24 Charts every leader should see

UN Women: Education and Training for Women - The Beijing Platform for Action turns 20

The Guardian: We are the last generation that can fight climate change. Ban Ki-moon

Reuters: Climate Change pushes India’s poorest children into slavery - Satyarthi

RTCC: Europe to reveal UN climate deal pledge on February 25

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


UN SDSN Report: Indicators and a Monitoring Framework for SDGs

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a Global Initiative by the UN has been working to develop a set of indicators for the SDGs for over a year. They now launched a new global consultation on their draft report, ‘Indicators and a Monitoring Framework for the SDGs.’ This draft report presents a comprehensive indicator framework for the OWG goals and outlines major indicator gaps that must be filled over the next twelve months. The report can be found here.

UE4SD State of the ART Report

The report from University Educators for Sustainable Development (UE4SD), which is a three-year European Commission project funded through the Lifelong Learning Programme, analyses the findings of four regional reports, which summarized the national mapping exercises conducted by 53 UE4SD partner institutions in 33 countries across Europe. This process identified existing policy developments and strategic commitments for ESD in higher education across the different countries, and collected the examples of best practice in supporting professional development in this area. Please find the report here.

UNICEF Report: The Investment Case for Education and Equity

Education is in crisis worldwide. Millions of children, especially the most marginalized, are excluded from school. Many millions more attend school, but they do not learn basic reading and math skills. In addition, international funding for education is on the decline. The Investment Case for Education and Equity UNICEF Report explains the global education crisis and outlines solutions. It calls for an increase in funding for education and investments that are more equitable and efficient.

The Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness Rising

One of the major outcomes of the COP20/CMP10 Alliance meeting is the Lima Ministerial Declaration on Education and Awareness Rising. After the adoption, Minister Korolec, COP 19/CMP 9 President, said that "this declaration is an important step towards bringing education back into the spotlight where it belongs". The minutes of the COP20/CMP10 meeting can be downloaded here.

IUCN: Protected Planet Report 2014

The Protected Planet Report 2014 follows the recommendation of the Protected Planet Report 2012 to provide a more complete overview of each of these elements of the Aichi Biodiversity Target, 11 Chapters summarise current knowledge and progress towards achieving each element of the target, and provide further guidance for implementation, based on data from the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), a review of published literature, and expert review.


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.

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