RCEs Explore How to Upscale Climate Action in Second RCE Global Webinar

The 2nd RCE Global Webinar, 'Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals: action through learning in a time of global crises', took place on 8 June, 2021. Hosted by RCE Scotland and the Global RCE Service Centre, this webinar was the second of two 'bridge' events between the 2020 RCE Regional Meetings and the 12th Global RCE Conference to be held in Autumn 2021. Chaired by Dr. Rehema White, RCE Scotland, the event saw over 90 participants coming together to focus on taking action on the most pressing of issues: climate change.

With this focus at the centre, the webinar provided participants with an opportunity to explore ways to upscale climate activity in both the lead-up to COP26 and beyond, linking to the priority action areas within the UNESCO ESD for 2030 Roadmap. In addition, the event saw the launch of the new Roadmap for the RCE Community 2021-2030, which serves to guide the RCE community’s collective actions towards the SDGs and ESD for 2030 framework at local, national and global levels during the period 2021-2030.

In his opening address, Dr. Akio Takemoto, UNU-IAS, acknowledging the support of the Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan, spoke about the critical role of ESD in driving the fundamental transformations required to address the challenges the globe faces, and the role of RCEs in moving these forward, with the Roadmap an important guiding document. 

Participants then heard from young people who shared their vision for a sustainable future. Edward Msiska, Youth Ambassador for the Scotland Malawi Partnership spoke about the role of young people as the drivers of change, with the need for them to be meaningfully included in decision-making, whilst Emily Farquhar from the 2050 Climate Group stressed the need to instil a sense of responsibility and urgency, highlighting the importance of taking action in the present.

The event saw the launch of the Roadmap for the RCE Community 2021-2030 presented by Dr. Jonghwi Park, UNU-IAS, which outlines the long-term vision and mission for the RCE community towards 2030, with the key strategic priority areas for RCEs highlighted along with monitoring and evaluation aspects.

A number of stimulus presentations provided RCEs with the opportunity to share and learn from outstanding ESD projects from across the network that are working to tackle the climate emergency, each linking action on climate change with one of the five priority action areas within the UNESCO ESD for 2030 Roadmap

RCE Dobong-gu presented on their project related to advancing policy, in which they produced ESD textbooks involving a consultative process amongst teachers, citizens and government which was then launched into schools. RCE Cebu spoke about community-based education and collaboration which have been key in their Mangrove Rehabilitation Project, which is dedicated to reversing the degradation and loss of mangrove forests and wetlands in Cadiz city, the Philippines. RCE East Midlands presented on their work building capacity for educators through their Carbon Literary Training programme, which fosters a collaborative approach across sectors within the Leicester area in the UK. The programme consists of interactive learning on the causes of climate change seeking to inspire individual and collective action. RCE Ogun’s project seeks to empower youth through the development of green skills for secondary school students in order to tackle climate change. A range of activities were carried out including Climate Change Clubs, whereby projects focused on the themes of recycling, reusing, and creating awareness which resulted in increasing students’ desire to become change agents. Finally, RCE Salisbury showcased how they work at a local level, with a short presentation on the analytic induction methodology they used in their research to diagnose missing gaps to be worked on in the community.

Breakout sessions allowed participants to discuss what inspired them about the examples presented, how to take action in the run-up to COP26 and beyond, as well as the practical support needed to achieve climate-action related projects. As RCEs, engaging with local governments is key, whilst COP26 was seen as a prime opportunity to ensure the voices within the Global RCE Network are heard both within the country of each RCE, as well as collectively internationally. 

The event reminded participants of the importance of values, and the need to connect to heads, hearts, and hands, in order to drive action. The 12th Global RCE Conference, to be held virtually from 16-18 November, 2021, will provide a chance to build on the webinars preceding it and further support RCEs' progress towards implementing and driving effective action on ESD and the SDGs.

The Global RCE Service Centre wishes to thank the team at RCE Scotland for their outstanding efforts and coordination towards making this second webinar of the 12th Global RCE Conference a great success, and to all participants for their active participation and contributions.