8th World Environmental Education Congress: Outcomes and Potential Follow Up

The 8th World Environmental Education Congress, 29 June – 2 July, 2015, Gothenburg – short memo on potential follow up actions

Context and observations:

The 8th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) was held by the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology, through the Centre for Environment and Sustainability, and the WEEC permanent secretariat. Many RCEs from Scandinavia as well as from other countries (estimated 12) have attended the Congress. UNU-IAS has co-organised and/or supported three events including Plenary Seesion on GAP, Parallel and Side Events dedicated to relations between ESD & 10YFP and to RCEs & GAP productive engagements.
Events and potential follow up actions Plenary Session with Panel Discussion: The Global Action Programme on ESD – Global, Regional and National Perspectives. “Everything you’d wish to know about the GAP but were reluctant to ask!”, 30 June 17-18 Among the panelists were Alexander Leicht (short presentation of GAP and its ambitions), Zinaida Fadeeva, (focus on the role of ESD programme and its new strategy in advancing ESD post 2014), Sylvia Utete, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Zimbabwe (sharing some experiences form Zimbabwe), Uranchimeg Tserendorj, senior officer, Ministry of Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia (sharing elements of national strategy of addressing GAP in Mongolia). The short time of the Panel allowed a very concise sharing of the information on GAP, strategies to advance it (including by UNU-IAS program) and a few clarifying questions. Yet, the message form our side appeared to come through as I was approached by participants with request for more information. It also allowed to bring people to the following side events. Parallel Session “Sustainable Lifestyle and Education: Realising 10 Year Framework of Programme (10YFP) on Sustainable Consumption and Production” 30 June, 2015; 8:30-10:30, co-organised by UNU-IAS, UNESCO and PERL. The co-organising partners, presented the concept of 10YFP and its ambitions and explore the question of the role of educational initiatives in achieving SLE objectives. They then engage the audience, in small groups, in reflecting on some of the key questions leading to understanding of the SLE concept by the educational community, discussion of the root causes behind unsustainable lifestyle practices and potential role of knowledge and learning partners in addressing them; identification of promising strategies, and partnerships to enact these strategies, to upscale creation of new SLE models and their uptake. Suggested follow ups:

1. There would be a promising idea to develop a policy paper (or position document) that clarifies relations between 10YFP and ESD/GAP community. While documentation of the workshop provided initial points, this work does require substantive time to develop. We might also consider developing additional short training activities for the ESD/RCEs in ‘understanding SCP’ or some sort of ‘ABC of SCP’, accompanied by activities that help educators in understanding their role in addressing the issue. 2. Both UNECO and PERL expressed a wish to develop project proposal in the area of Lifestyle Education under GAP. This will become a cross-cutting activity for both -10YFP and GAP. Further discussions are required. Side Event RCE-GAP, 30 June, 18.30 – 21.30 The meeting, conducted in line with Open Space methodology, was hosted by RCE West Sweden and attended by 42 RCE participants from Africa and Europe. Topics, collectively generated, included Strategy and Governance; Funding RCEs; Place Based Learning; Networking RCEs; Ensemble Learning as a Basis for RCE operation; Moving from the Local to the Global. Discussions highlighted the need for strategic action and also the need for continuity also supported by the need to keep institutional memory at the local and global levels. (More elaborated report of the meeting is provided in the separate document.) Some of the ideas generated during the session were followed by discussions at the meeting on the 3rd of July (separate document) facilitated by Global Action Plan International. That session engaged the participants into reflections on aspects of RCE operation including:
 The October 2016 London Regional RCE Meeting (proposed and welcomed by the participants of meeting on 30 June)
 RCE Networking and Competencies
 The nature of leadership for RCEs
 The role of Robust Ignorance in RCE functions
 Sociocracy 3.0 - http://sociocracy30.org/
 The importance of documentation and dissemination and the power of Action Research
 Strengthening of linkages between RCEs and UNU and UNESCO
 The floating of an idea for an RCE Conference in 2018
 The collaboration of RCE’s with the NGO Global Action Plan in which tools and methods are adapted for RCE needs
Suggested follow ups:
1. The topic of leadership and governance comes strong on the agenda of the RCEs. We have discussed earlier to have the topic of leadership, governance and coordination of the RCEs as
our next research/publication work. Discussions in Sweden helped to further identify potentially interesting issues to be considered. It is suggested to begin the process after obtaining agreement and securing budget within the team.
2. GAP International was asked by the RCEs in Malaysia to develop ‘start-up RCE’ training with emphasis on the organisation and leadership. It could be a good idea to engage with the GAP-I team in furthering the idea more systematically and to make it applicable for the whole global RCE community..
3. Proposal from the RCE West Sweden on setting up a number of webinars for the RCEs on future planning and visioning could be a good idea to pursue. The RCE has successful methodology of broad engagement of own community and collaborates with RCEs in Australia on this matter. The suggested pilot can be done with a limited number of interested RCEs already in August.
4. There was a request to communicate significance of the RCE community for implementation of GAP agenda. Such request would assist efforts of the RCEs in their own regions. Alexander Liecht agreed to write a short message to this effect in the next RCE Bulletin.
5. There was also suggestion on bringing discussions of the RCEs and the further priority area of GAP closer together. This is being currently explored with UNESCO.