7th African Regional Conference

African Regional Conference

2-4 August, 2017, Lusaka, Zambia

African RCEs Make Formal Recommendations for Curricula Change, Policy Dialogue, and Youth Engagement

African RCEs met for the 7th African RCE Conference in Lusaka, Zambia on 2-4 August 2017  to discuss capacity development initiatives and more coherent approaches to implement Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Africa. RCE Lusaka kindly hosted the conference with the theme “RCE Initiatives: Milestones for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”

Since 2011, the African RCE network, in collaboration with UNU-IAS, has been meeting annually to develop capacities of African RCEs for implementing ESD at global, regional and local levels, and to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Such efforts support the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Programme of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). This year’s conference focused on spelling out future milestones for the African RCE network to meet the sustainable development agenda through education.

The following topics were discussed:

  1. Mobilize national, regional and global efforts to achieve effective and inclusive partnerships among African RCEs.
  2. Showcase the work of the African RCE network on ESD.
  3. Establish a sector-wide and multiple sector approach for assessing and reporting RCE activities.
  4. Share ESD opportunities and challenges associated with implementation of the SDGs.
  5. Discuss the roles adults and youths can play in RCE activities.
  6. Review the Action Plan for African RCEs.

66 delegates from ten countries and 13 RCEs participated in the event. Naoya Tsukamoto (UNU-IAS ESD Project Director) and Goolam Mohamedbhai (African RCE Advisor) joined the meeting. The conference was officially opened by the Minister of Higher Education of Zambia Nkandu Luo. RCEs present included RCE Lusaka, RCE Minna, RCE Kano, RCE Zaria, RCE Port-Harcourt, RCE Greater Nairobi, RCE Greater Pwani, RCE Dar es Salaam, RCE Greater Eastern Uganda, RCE Greater Masaka, RCE Zomba, RCE Harare and RCE Gauteng.

Significance of the Conference

The 7th African RCE Conference was particularly significant, as it offered openings for increasing sustainability knowledge and capacities within and across disciplines. Notably, deliberate efforts were made to empower Youth as important stakeholders and change agents of ESD. In a closed African RCE meeting delegates deliberated ways of strengthening African RCEs as multi-stakeholder partnerships for scaling up innovation, resources and action to deliver the SDGs in local and regional contexts. The conference introduced delegates to the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Eco-systems Services (IPBES) to highlight the key role of biodiversity in achieving SDGs in Africa.

Major outcomes of the conference included an enhanced agenda for implementing RCE activities and the planned increase in capacity development and reporting of RCE activities. The Action Plan of African RCEs will be revised, and RCEs are considering publishing more papers in ESD journals. The implementation of the RCE Evaluation Toolkit was also widely encouraged, as well as more collaborative research, for example with the International Social Science Council.

The Minister of higher Education of Zambia advocated that delegates should come up with three key recommendations for wider scale implementation to avoid a ‘business-as-usual’ attitude after the event. These were formulated broadly (to be refined) as follows:

  1. Education Curricula Reforms towards sustainable development - African governments need to re-think the colonial inherited educational curricula (pre-school to higher education) towards integrating ESD.
  2. RCEs as Platforms for Policy Dialogue and Capacity Development - African governments should be lobbied to use RCEs as platforms for ESD policy formulation.
  3. Youth Engagement - Involve Youth in the decision-making processes and policy formulation.

Presentations during the youth panel discussion provided a glimpse of the good work Youth are engaged in towards implementing ESD in Africa. Youth were particularly interested in discussing career development and the disconnection between Youth and adults. RCE Zomba, Malawi offered to host the 8th African RCE Conference in 2018.

All presentations have been uploaded here.

Photos have been uploaded on our facebook page.

Here you can find the Programme and the  Concept Note.

Last year, African RCEs came together in Nairobi, back to back with TICAD VI - the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development. For outcomes and reports of the 2016 African RCE Coference click here. For previous conferences, please click here.