RCE Greater Shangri-la - 2019

Waterschool China Programme
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Waterschool China Programme
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Greater Shangri-la
Contributing organization(s) : 
1. Shangri-La Institute for Sustainable Communities;
2. Mianyang Teacher Training College;
3. Southwest University;
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Liu Yunhua
Organizational Affiliation: 
Director of Shangri-La Institute for Sustainable Communities
Format of project: 
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
The Waterschool China Programme contributed to the implementation of the first ever national guidelines on environmental education in China.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Four watersheds – The Yangzte River, Yarlung Tsampo, Pearl River and The Hai River – across 12 provinces in China: Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, Hebei, Shanghai, Guangdong, Beijing, Tibet, Jiangxi, Guangxi, Chongqing, Hubei and Hunan.
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Room 1605, Building 3, SOHO New Town, 88 Jian Guo Road, Beijing, China 100022
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Covering an area of 1.8 million square kilometres the Yangtze River Basin is the source of life for about one-third of China’s population, as well as an array of flora and fauna, including many rare and endemic species such as the giant panda, black-necked crane, Yunnan golden monkey and the Yangtze finless porpoise. Population pressure and rapid economic development are causing increased pollution, threatening the ecosystems and
communities that depend on the Yangtze for survival. Urgent action is needed to ensure effective and sustainable protection of China's water resources such as Yangtze and other three watersheds where the programme is working.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
China’s significant environmental, social and cultural challenges are already shaping the global struggle to protect the environment, with major impacts on global climate change, regional water shortages and pressures on globally threatened biodiversity and natural resources. In particular, culturally and biologically diverse areas such as Greater Shangri-La are of scientific, environmental and cultural value, but are among the most vulnerable in the country due to poverty, risk of overexploitation of natural resources, and a higher risk of cultural degradation of minority groups due to globalization and industrialization. In addition, the Chinese education system needs to be better equipped to deal with reorienting the population towards sustainable development.
January, 2008
More local people leave from their water environment and feel powerless to control their natural environment. They are also lack of knowledge to deal with new challenges. The WS China Programme aims to address these problems through education, stakeholder engagement and community empowerment. The programme also funds community development and heritage preservation projects. A Tibetan Women's Forest Patrolling Team has been established and supported in Bazhu Administrative Village since 2006. A special column of environmental conservation and biodiversity protection has been funded in Tibetan Children's Newspaper.
The programme aims to restore the ecological integrity of key watersheds in China through effective public participation in sustainable water resource management. The programme also aims to build community and school capacity through teacher training, school implementation, resource development, linking and learning, and community outreach to impact the maximum number of lives through lifelong learning, innovative and place-based education.
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The programme uses local indigenous knowledge from the areas with rich of cultural heritage to embed a deep psychological link between communities and their natural heritage. It does this through teacher training and improving public participation in environmental issues, empowering local people to make changes in their local water environment. Examples of activities regularly organized include teacher training workshops, regular conferences, exchange trips between teachers and rangers of nature reserves. Cultural heritage preservation activities are such as local handicraft training for women, Tibetan folktales recording, Tibetan language training for villagers, local dancing and music etc,.
Size of academic audience: 
Since its inception, the programme has reached over 129000 students, 204000 community members and 1990 teachers across China.
The WS China program has empowered teachers in the project schools to teach about water and the environment in a place-specific, interactive, comprehensive way. However, the most tangible result of the project can be seen in the hundreds of thousands of teachers, students and community members who have been impacted by the program all across China.
This approach has resulted in environmental progress across many sites as well as progress in educational objectives. Just one example is the action of rural project schools located along tributaries of the Jianling River in Mianyang, Sichuan Province. The project schools carried out community action and information campaigns that successfully change the community’s waste management behavior, for example, the village administration with supports from project teachers and staff has established its first ever garbage disposal system so that the villagers no more throw their garbages into the river directly but to the garbage disposal system after refuse clarifications.
Lessons learned: 
Shangri-La Institute for Sustainable Communities, the implementing NGO behind the Waterschool China Programme, has developed immeasurably in the early years of the programme. The approach taken by SISC has involved painstaking stakeholder management, careful capacity building and strengthening of local partners, and building a network of passionate and empowered educators.
Key messages: 
Waterschool China Programme is not just an education programme – it’s a holistic approach to whole community learning about water, culture and the environment that has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people, their teachers and their communities since its inception in 2008.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
The Waterschool China Programme has built a solid network of educators, preservice teachers, local authorities and other stakeholders. The RCE provides collaboration, cooperation and experience sharing between shareholders at the regional, national and international levels related to the Greater Shangri-La region, many of whom have been actively involved in the Waterschool China Programme since its inception. Many of the schools and universities that are key members of the RCE have also been active and passionate members of the Waterschool China network.
The programme is funded by Swarovski Waterschool, a global initiative spanning 6 countries.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon Photo1.jpg (1.36 MB) Photo 1 - Students are painting in Shangri-La Yunhua Liu
Image icon Photo2.jpg (2.15 MB) Photo 2 - Water Protection Activity in Tacheng, Shangri-La Wande Gongba
Image icon Photo3.JPG (1.42 MB) Photo 3 - Students are planting potatoes at the eco-farm in Shangri-La Wande Gongba
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 5 - Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development – Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Building capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Empowering and mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level