Issue #49: July 2015

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Issue 49: July 2015


Message from the Global RCE Service Centre:


Dear colleagues and friends,

At the beginning of the year, I delivered a message on the events that transpired in Japan last November, marking the conclusion of the UN DESD and to which the RCE community made meaningful contributions. I emphasized that UNU-IAS is committed to continuing its support for ESD activities beyond the Decade. As indicated in my message, an internal review of the UNU-IAS’ ESD Programme was undertaken early this year, reflecting on a decade of achievements in order to reposition the ESD Programme initiatives and shape its new strategic direction in the context of the post-2015 development agenda and the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD.

The internal review has produced salient findings/recommendations which served as a base for defining the Programme’s new strategic direction and action plan for 2015 and beyond. Key elements include subjects on relevance in terms of SD/ESD policy-practice linkages and capacities and competencies development; quality and impact; integration, synergy and coordination; research niche; dissemination of outputs; effectiveness of management; appropriateness and adequacy of human resources; generation and use of financial resources; integration of important associated ESD issues; and adaptability to change of programme elements and priority areas.

Taking all these points into consideration, the ESD Programme developed a new strategic direction focusing on a tangible contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda. It will be addressed through accelerating regional and local solutions to sustainability issues; re-orienting higher education for societal transformation into SD; and developing SD and ESD competences and capabilities as well as a science-policy interface. Among a number of international sustainability agendas and processes, the ESD Programme has also identified four priority areas to be focused on in the next coming years - namely, the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD; Sustainability Consumption and Production; Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services; Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction; and Higher Education-driven Initiatives.

Such aspirations will not be achievable without strong commitments of individual RCEs and strategic partnership of the global RCE network as well as the cooperation of other ESD-related networks. UNU-IAS, through the Global RCE Service Centre, is committed to continue its support for further strengthening the global RCE network in every possible way. In this regard, your proactive cooperation and collaboration are very much appreciated. For more information on our new strategic direction, please refer to the ESD Programme’s new flyer.

Finally, I would like to inform you that there will be no face-to-face Global RCE Conference this year, but again, let me emphasize that we will mobilise our resources to support the regional meetings as well as various leadership programmes and capacity development activities related to the above-mentioned priority focus areas. For those who are interested in hosting/co-organising any future RCE regional meetings/conferences as well as a Global RCE Conference, please do not hesitate to contact us.

In conclusion, I wish you all the best and thank you for all your wonderful work and continuous support.


Kazu Takemoto

Director, Global RCE Service Centre


Upcoming Events


Events organised by RCE members

2015 RCE Conference of the Americas

9-12 August, 2015
Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

RCE Grand Rapids is honoured to host the RCE Conference of the Americas this year. The conference will provide a global platform that elevates the conversation around ESD, with a focus on the impact of water resources. Influential thinkers, researchers, authors, academics, and educators from the Americas and beyond are welcome to participate. Outcomes of the conference on ESD will impact and guide the implementation of future work of the RCEs.

The Youth Session led by Jonathan Yee of RCE Saskatchewan on 10 August, will focus on activities and issues of the RCE Youth Network. In addition to this, there will be a strategic session on 11 August, where RCEs of the Americas will discuss future directions and actions to take towards the next regional conference. For more details visit the conference website.

Please also note that this conference will be live streamed, so please join this conference through this link.

RCE Conference of the German Speaking RCEs

17 September 2015

RCE Munich is hosting this year’s German speaking RCEs meeting on 17 September 2015. Currently the list of participating RCEs include: RCE Hamburg, RCE Oldenburger Münsterland, RCE Ruhr, RCE Nürnberg, RCE Munich, RCE Southern Black Forest, RCE Rhine-Meuse, RCE Graz-Styria, RCE Vienna, and RCE Europe Region Tyrol. Major items on the agenda are the activities in each country and the collaboration of RCEs there. More information will be posted on the RCE Portal.

5th RCE Conference of Africa

14-16 October, 2015
Entebbe, Uganda

RCE Greater Eastern Uganda is honoured to host the next African RCE Conference. Please mark your calendar so that you can attend the conference! More details will be announced through the RCE Portal and the RCE Bulletin in due course.

Other Events


Asia-Pacific Leadership Programme 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 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 Programme is organised 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 Programme will provide participants from the Asia Pacific region an opportunity to improve all-round thinking and decision-making abilities of emerging leaders, representing governmental organisations, international organisations, NGOs and the private sector. The programme also aims at understanding and balancing the three key dimensions – human, environmental and social/economic – in promoting sustainable development. Finally the objective is to set up a platform for emerging leaders in the region to communicate and network with each other, while working together to address complex practical sustainable development challenges. For more information please visit the news section on ProSPER.Net.

From Rio to Paris: Higher Education for Climate Change Action (HESI)

14 October 2015
UNESCO Headquarters, Paris

HESI was created by a consortium of UN entities (UNESCO, UN-DESA, UNEP, Global Compact and UNU) in the run up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20). In advance of the XXI Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21), HESI will organize an event to take stock of progress made since Rio+20, by sharing best practices and lessons learned, and discuss the roles and responsibilities of higher education institutions in business and technological innovations around climate change adaptation and mitigation. Other objectives are to encourage new or enhanced commitments by HESI members, particularly around the facilitation of academic and scientific inputs into the formulation of climate policies and compose a message and a set of policy recommendations to be presented to the UNFCC Secretariat at COP21.

In preparing for the event, UN-DESA is developing a progress report on the impact of Higher Education institutions in advancing sustainable development and climate change. Contributions from higher education institutions are sought, in responding to specific questions. To register for the event, for more information and if you wish to contribute please click here. To become a member of the HESI network please follow this link.


Open Calls


10 YFP on SCP - 3rd Call for Proposals, USD 500,000 funds available

The Secretariat of the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) is pleased to inform you that the Third Call for Proposals of the 10YFP Trust Fund has been launched.

This third call for proposals focuses on Sustainable Lifestyles and Education. Governments and not-for-profit organizations in developing countries and countries with economies in transition are invited to submit proposals to respond to this call. The total available funds are USD 500,000. Deadline for application is the 11 September 2015, 6pm EST. All related information can be found here. For more information, please and Seraphine Haeussling.

“ESD Okayama Award” by RCE Okayama

Okayama City is pleased to announce the launch of the ‘ESD Okayama Award’, in cooperation with the ESD Okayama Award Steering Board, composed of organizations which have been promoting ESD in Japan and around the world.

The Award is aimed to contribute to showcasing and promoting ESD, and supporting the organizations that carry out ESD activities through rewarding good practices in the world. Applications must be received by 25 Sep 2015. Please send the application documents via e-mail or by post. For more information please visit the RCE Portal.

Apply to attend the Commonwealth Youth Forum

The Commonwealth Youth Forum, hosted by the Government of Malta, and co-organised with the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Youth Council, is one of the four fora held just before CHOGM to help set the agenda for the actual meeting between Heads of Government.

The event brings together youth leaders from across the Commonwealth to exchange ideas and share experiences, build skills and networks, identify the most vital challenges and opportunities facing young people today, and make recommendations to decision makers at the highest level. For more information please visit the website.

Introduction to Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia – 2015 Edition

The second edition of the e-learning course “Introduction to Sustainable Consumption and Production in Asia” will take place 21 September – 13 November, 2015. The course aims to develop and strengthen ability of national actors in the Asia and the Pacific region to incorporate sustainable consumption and production (SCP) into national governance. This e-learning event has been developed jointly by UNEP and UNITAR, within the framework of the SWITCH-Asia Programme. For more information please go to the website.

Wege Prize for Undergraduates

Now in its third year, Wege Prize is a yearly transdisciplinary design competition that gives teams of five undergraduate students the chance to work collaboratively, using design thinking principles, and contend for USD 30,000 in total cash prizes, all while helping to show the world what the future of problem solving looks like. Teams must work across institutional and disciplinary boundaries to develop a product, service, or business model that can function within and contribute to a circular economy, a tightly looped, restorative economic cycle where resources can be re-adapted for use without limiting the desirability of products or the loss of revenue. For more information please visit the Wege Prize Forum website.

Become a member of SDSN

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) invites youth-led and youth-focused institutions, groups, NGOs, university clubs and societies to join a global problem-solving network for sustainable development. Participation in the SDSN Youth is open to university clubs and societies, youth-led and youth-focused research institutes, NGOs, science-oriented youth groups, and other organisations that have an expertise in one or more areas related to sustainable development, and who commit a substantial amount of their own resources and activities to work towards research, advocacy, education or implementing solutions for sustainable development. For more information please visit SDSN.

Two ESD-related PhDs at London South Bank University Available

Applications are welcome for two full-time, funded PhDs, commencing in September 2015 in the School of Law and Social Sciences at London South Bank University. The scholarships cover fees and offer a stipend of £15,000 p.a. for three years. For more information click here.


Latest News


Winners of the ProSPER.Net-Scopus Young Scientist Award (YSA)

On July 27th, 2015, the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Programme at UNU-IAS welcomed eight young researchers from the Asia-Pacific region to the ProSPER.Net-Scopus YSA Symposium. The event gave researchers with outstanding contributions in the field of sustainable development, a chance to present their research to both senior scholars as well as their peers. Their outstanding contributions were aimed at receiving the top prize in one of the three fields energy, water, and biodiversity.

This year’s winners were Dr. Ravichandar Babarao (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia) in the energy category, Dr. Hongwei Bai (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) in the water category, and Dr. Jaswinder Singh (Khaksa College Amritsar, India) for biodiversity Dr. Babarao presented on the applications of an organic metal matrix for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide produced from combustion of conventional fossil fuels for energy. Dr. Bai presented on a synthetic membrane for water filtration that can be applied within city hydro-systems for clean drinking water. Dr. Singh presented on the application of a worm species for soil filtration and fertilizer in agriculture. For more information on this event and the full proceedings please visit ProSPER.Net.

Young Leaders ESD-Water Camp for ASPnet and Kelab Sejahtera Schools 2015

From 28 to 30 July 2015, RCE Penang, the Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO (SKUM) and UNESCO Malaysia International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP Malaysia) organised the “Young Leaders ESD-Water Camp for ASPnet and Kelab Sejahtera Schools 2015”. The camp was held at Northern Multimedia College, Taiping and Kuala Sepetang, Perak Darul Ridzuan. It aimed at building students' knowledge and capacities on water issues and river ecosystems. A total of 51 secondary school students (aged 14 to 16 years old) and 16 teachers from 16 ASPnet and Kelab Sejahtera Schools from all over the country participated in this camp.

During the camp, participants engaged to further commit to sustainable development and water education. Ten different water education agencies from all over Malaysia organised various lectures, group discussions, learning games, practical modules and workshops for both teachers and students. For more information, please contact Muhammad Ammar Mohd Aziz.

Capacity Development Seminar for Green Economy and SCP in Kyrgyzstan

The seminar in Kyrgyzstan dedicated to developing green skills in small companies was hosted by RCE Kyrgyzstan, State Agency of Environmental Protection with support from representatives of the State Agency of TVET and was held on 30 March – 1 April. Participants comprised businesses, governmental agencies (representing TVET and Environmental Protection), educational institutions from the TVET system, NGOs, as well as three UN agencies – UNECE, UNU-IAS and UNDP.

The concepts of green economy and cleaner and resource efficient production and responsible business practices were presented in such a format that participants who had considered these topics abstract prior to the seminar, were able to join in the discussions. A link with the set of concepts related to SD and ESD competencies was also successfully drawn. Four specific action lines (with different degree of complexities) were discussed: these included the creation of the ongoing platform for interaction on the issue, training for the SMEs, introduction of the relevant competencies into the TVET system, and the process of a methodological development.

During the seminar, it was concluded that if one acts quickly, in principle, green skills and ESD competencies can be introduced into the TVET system through the TVET Agency (at the state level). The person who represented the Agency was also attending. They would, however, need help in interpreting green, i.e. cleaner production, skills as well as SD competencies. Collaborative processes between UNUECE and UNU-IAS could be explored, to for example develop a process of developing professional qualifications of TVET graduates. Another idea discussed was to help the TVET colleagues to put together a course for the small entrepreneurs on resource efficient and cleaner production - something that was requested during the meeting by the representatives of the business.

ISAP 2015 in Brief

The seventh annual International Forum for Sustainable Asia and the Pacific (ISAP) held in Yokohama, Japan this July focused on the impacts of climate change and the need for building multi-stakeholder partnerships to respond to it. With the majority of the world’s human population as well, as a huge share of its biodiversity, it’s clear why the stakes are so high for the nations of Asia and the Pacific. To read the full blurp on ISAP please visit ProSPER.Net.

RCE Srinagar celebrates several International Days

RCE Srinagar with CEE Himalaya, JSW Foundation and UNICEF celebrated International Women’s Day. They called upon women’s participation in water, sanitation and the hygiene sector, to help stop defecating in the open and getting toilets constructed at home, observing behaviour changes like washing hands at critical times, using safe water for drinking and cooking and practicing personal hygiene.

During the World Water Day celebration, the contamination of water sources due to open defecation was highlighted as well as how people suffer from various diseases and children dying in large numbers due to diarrhoea. On the International Day for Biological Diversity, the importance of biodiversity for proper functioning of the Earth’s ecosystem and how it has been getting adversely affected during recent times was emphasized. The rapid loss of biodiversity was discussed and biodiversity conservation was emphasized. During World Environment Day, the effects of increasing consumerism and decreasing one’s footprint by consuming less as well as improving one’s handprint by doing positive actions leading to environmental sustainability, were discussed.


Media and Other Articles


TED Talk: The inside story why the pope decided to support science

UGEC Blog: Formulating and testing the Urban Sustainable Development Goal: Applied urban research with immediate impact and Urbanization and global environmental change: A matter of politics? and Do cities have the institutional capacity to address climate change?

UN Radio: 193 Countries sign off on new global development agenda

UN Radio: Millions of lives saved thanks to poverty goals but many are still left behind amid MDG success.

UN Radio: Education is essential to a life of dignity for all. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the opening of the Oslo Summit on Education for Development. For Mr Ban, the gathering was an opportunity to mobilize political commitment and to reaffirm what he called "the human right to education." The two-day Oslo Summit on Education for Development focused on four themes: girls, emergencies, investments and the quality of education. Mr Ban said progress on these issues will advance the global campaign for a better future. "This Oslo Summit is a chance to reaffirm the human right to education. It is an opportunity to mobilize political commitment. And it is our moment to galvanize international support for education as the world prepares to adopt a new set of sustainable development goals to guide the struggle to achieve a life of dignity for all."

The UN chief also welcomed the establishment of a commission on the financing of global education. It will be led by Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and former United Kingdom Prime Minister.

UN News: Ban welcomes UN Assembly’s endorsement of action plan on post-2015 development financing

UN Radio: US climate change plan shows "visionary leadership"

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


Hot Off the Press: ESD Books, Publications and Other


Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2015

The most successful anti-poverty movement in history has yielded dramatic results in reducing poverty, promoting gender parity and fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria. The findings come in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2015which highlights significant global achievements since world leaders launched the eight MDGs in the year 2000. The report compiles data from over 28 UN and international agencies which have been monitoring progress on the goals, whose deadline is this year.

Japan Environment Quarterly (JEQ)

The Ministry of the Environment of Japan puts out a quarterly (Japan Environment Quarterly) to introduce its policies and activities in English. The tenth volume of JEQ, which features the Post-2015 Development Agenda, has just been published. The current volume can be found on the MOEJ website.

The Age of Sustainable Development

Jeffrey D. Sachs. Foreword by Ban Ki-moon (Columbia University Press, 2015)

The Challenge of Sustainability: linking politics, education, and learning

Editors: Hugh Atkinson and Ros Wade (Policy Press, 2015)

Intergenerational Learning and Transformative Leadership for Sustainable Futures

Editors: Peter Blaze Corcoran and Brandon Hollingshead (Wageningen Academic Publishers, 2014)

Do We Know What We Are Doing? Reflections on Learning, Knowledge, Economics, Community and Sustainability

Author: Rolf Jucker (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014)

Schooling for Sustainable Development in Europe – Concepts, Policies and Educational Experiences at the End of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

Editors: Rolf Jucker, Reiner Mathar (Springer, 2015)

Educating for Hope in Troubled Times: Climate change and the transition to a post-carbon future

Author/Editor: David Hicks (IOE Press, 2014)


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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