Issue # 41, December 2014

RCE Logo

Issue 41: December 2014

Message from the Global RCE Service Centre:

Dear colleagues and friends,

It was truly wonderful to meet everyone during the 9th Global RCE Conference beginning of November in Okayama. Surely we speak for the whole RCE Community when saying that RCE Okayama and the City of Okayama exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Not only were they great hosts, providing top-notch facilities and useful information whenever needed, but above all, there was fun entertainment, delicious food and beautiful sights in and around Okayama to see. Many praised the never-ending flow of coffee during the event and not to forget the lovely gifts and souvenirs, small but precious gestures in the conference bags and available throughout the venue.

There were many occasions for mingling and plenty of opportunities for networking and meeting new and old friends. During the different discussions, many interesting ideas were shared with an overall feeling that there was a need for more communication, networking and interaction in the RCE Community.

We sincerely hope everyone enjoyed the meeting as much as we here at the Global RCE Service Centre did, and hope to see many of you again soon!

9th Global RCE Conference Proceedings

We are still waiting to receive some of the reports from the different rapporteurs. Once these have come in, we will also post the summaries of the sessions (outside of the plenaries) online. With more than 5000 photos to go through, we are hoping to show most of them via the RCE Portal as well. This will hopefully be uploaded in due course. We hope to share them with you just in time before everyone leaves for their Holidays.

RCE Recognition Award Presentations

In order to give particular recognition to all projects submitted for the RCE Award, we have uploaded them in the Community Tab. Feel free to browse through the different projects, all which gave important contributions to the communities around them. We thank and congratulate the 27 RCEs that submitted their projects for the RCE Award.

9th Global RCE Post-Conference Evaluation Survey

We sincerely thank all those who participated in the 9th Global RCE Conference. The Global RCE Service Centre is dedicated to improving the next conference planning and organization. We therefore, kindly request those who attended the conference to provide the Global RCE Service Centre and RCE Okayama with feedback on the quality and effectiveness of the event by filling out an evaluation survey found at this link.

It will take you about 15 minutes to complete the survey. Your responses will only be used for survey purposes and the deadline for submitting your responses is 20 December 2014.

Best wishes,

The Global RCE Service Centre

Upcoming Events

Events organized by RCE members

RCE Delhi hosts YUVA Meet 2015 and RCE Youth Meeting

2-4 February 2015

New Delhi

The Youth Unite for Voluntary Action (YUVA Meet) 2015 will be organized by RCE Delhi (TERI: The Energy and Resources Institute) on 2-3 February 2015 at India International Centre, Max Muller Marg, New Delhi. The YUVA Meet is a special event of Delhi Sustainable Development Summit (DSDS) and is held a day prior to the event so that the voice of the youth can be heard at this major international forum. Seventh in the series, this year’s YUVA Meet will focus on the theme ‘Sustainable Solutions: Safe Water for All’. The meet serves as a platform for youth to collectively air their views and form a common network thereby reaching out to many more-like minded people. YUVA Meet 2014 witnessed participation from 173 young participants from 66 colleges/universities in India and eight other nations (Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Canada, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya and Swaziland).

Travel support is available for selected RCE youth representatives through the Global RCE Service Centre( The selection will be made based on certain criteria including the level of engagement with the RCEs, quality of the applications as well as the geographical balance of the participants. For those who are interested in participating in the event, please send your application form and travel support request form (if you wish to apply for funding) to the Global RCE Service Centre and RCE Delhi/TERI no later than 19 December. We also encourage self-funded participants. RCE Delhi is willing to provide free accommodations during the meeting.

For more details, please refer to the Youth Community on the RCE Portal, and visit the event’s website. You will find the travel and application forms in the Youth Community under Files. For inquiries or information, please contact Ms. Livleen Kahlon at RCE Delhi/TERI (

RCE West Sweden: Planet and People – how can they develop together?

8th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC)

29 June – 2 July 2015

Gothenburg, Sweden

The Centre for Environment and Sustainability (GMV) at the University of Gothenburg (a stakeholder of RCE West Sweden) will host the 8th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) on June 29 to July 2, 2015. The congress is targeted to educators, practitioners and researchers from all over the world, discussing education for sustainable development and environmental education from all educational aspects. There are 11 themes covering everything from early childhood education to policy development. Submissions are accepted in English, French and Spanish no later than December 19. Listen to Prof. Arjen Wals’ invitation to the congress onYoutube or for more information visit the event’s website.

RCE Hamburg: World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation

2-4 September 2015

Manchester, UK

The “World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation” will be a truly interdisciplinary event, covering some of the key areas in the field of climate change adaptation. Organised by Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (Germany), in cooperation with the International Climate Change Information Programme (ICCIP) and RCEs, the event will focus on innovative approaches to implement climate change adaptation, and will contribute to the further development of this fast-growing field.

A set of presentations, divided into six main themes will be organised. The Symposium will be of special interest to researchers, government agencies, NGOs and companies engaged in the field of climate change adaptation, as well as development and aid agencies funding climate change adaptation processes in developing countries. Please visit the event’s website for more information.

Other Events

Second Baltic Conference on Education for Sustainable Development - WORKING AND LEARNING TOGETHER

12-14 December 2014

Riga, Latvia

This conference builds on the ESD conferences in Visby, Sweden (2012) and Riga, Latvia (2013). It takes place under the auspices of the Baltic Sea Region Network on ESD (BSRESDN), which began in 2012. Previous conferences had gathered participants from the education sector, but for the first time a wider spectrum of stakeholders have been invited in order to learn together and create new synergies for joint actions.

The conference participants are key professionals with existing prior knowledge and experience in ESD in various sectors – be it business, education or the arts - each of them having their own directions for developing their ESD-related practice and expertise. The conference avoids lengthy speeches and lectures. Instead it opens space for action and interaction. How can we work and learn together? Are there innovative ways for education and learning that we can identify together? Are there ways to cooperate in order to create knowledge and skills for sustainable development? For more information please visit the event’s website.

Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Conference

26–29 October 2014

Portland, Oregon

Nearly 2,000 sustainability professionals and students will gather in Portland, Oregon for AASHE’s annual conference to network and share innovations, activities, frameworks, learning outcomes, tools, strategies, research, theory and leadership initiatives that are changing the face of sustainability on their campus and surrounding communities. RCE Greater Portland, being on the coordinating committee of the conference, will host an RCE Panel discussion on the benefits of the RCE model and cross-sector ESD networks. Representatives from RCE Grand Rapids, RCE Saskatchewan and the U.S. Partnership for ESD will attend the panel discussion. For more details please visit the AASHE Conference website.

Latest News

Conference Declaration Renews Commitments to Higher Education for Sustainable Development

On 9 November 2014, UNU organized the International Conference on Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Higher Education Beyond 2014 in Nagoya, Japan. Marking the final year of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) 2005–2014, the conference celebrated achievements throughout the decade and reviewed commitments to ESD beyond 2014. With approximately 750 participants from 66 countries, it highlighted the major challenges and pathways for transforming higher education, with a focus on mainstreaming innovative practices in learning, knowledge development, and research.

The conference was organized in collaboration with UNESCO, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Environment Programme, the UN Global Compact Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative and the International Association of Universities (IAU). The co-organizers of the event were the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan and Nagoya University.

The conference resulted in the Nagoya Declaration on Higher Education for Sustainable Development, in which conference participants reaffirmed and renewed commitments made within the framework of the UN DESD. The declaration also calls upon world leaders to support the transformative role of higher education towards sustainable development, and to recognize the essential role and responsibility of higher education institutions towards creating sustainable societies. The declaration and the outcomes of the event were shared at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, also held in Nagoya on 10–12 November.

The conference opened with remarks by David M. Malone (Rector, UNU), Irina Bokova (Director-General, UNESCO), and other high-level speakers. In the first high-level panel on the “whole-institution approach”, Hans Van Ginkel (former UNU Rector) called for HEIs to implement a matrix organization principle by which disciplines are connected through breakthrough science. The whole-institution approach to ESD would need to go beyond education and research in order to reach society more broadly.

Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Senior Vice-Rector, UNU) emphasized that UNU was committed to advancing ESD beyond 2014 through promoting sustainability science, conducting policy-relevant research, implementing capacity development for leadership, and strengthening networks. The second high-level panel focused on “engagement across boundaries and working with critical sectors”. Prof. Dzulkifli Abdul Razak (President, IAU) shared the three pillars of sustainability and multi-stakeholder partnerships: respect for knowledge systems, relevance in terms of societal needs, and reciprocity.Dr. Anantha Kumar Duraiappah (Director, UNESCO-Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development) called for transformative learning and the development of “knowledge commons” between HEIs. He stated that today’s challenge lay in implementing these two components to address global sustainable development issues.

Discussions following the panel sessions focused on advancing policy, transforming learning and training environments, building capacities of educators and trainers, empowering and mobilizing youth, and accelerating sustainable solutions at the local level. For more information on the event please visit the conference website. Presentation slides are available here.

UNESCO World Conference on ESD Publishes Roadmap for GAP

As the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD 2005-2014) comes to a close, the global education sector came together during the World Conference on ESD in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan. The event was co-organized by UNESCO and the Government of Japan, from 10 to 12 November 2014.

More than 1,000 participants gathered for the three-day conference under the theme “Learning Today for a Sustainable Future.” Among them were 76 ministerial-level representatives of UNESCO Member States, NGOs, academia, the private sector and UN agencies, as well as individual experts and youth participants from 150 countries. The Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Japan graciously presided the grand opening of the conference.

Lending his support to the event in a video message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, stated, “there is no plan B, because there is no planet B.” He called for sustainability to be built into the daily lives of people with education being the starting point. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova stressed that “we cannot just build green economies, we need green societies” and “sustainability requires changes in how we produce and consume, changes in our lifestyles…and education is the way to connect the dots."

The participants reflected on the achievements, lessons learnt, challenges they faced and how to advance the ESD agenda in the post-2014 education framework. With the UN Decade of ESD coming to an end, UNESCO presented the report ‘Shaping the Future We Want’, which essentially looked at ESD initiatives around the world. The document was based on questionnaires submitted by 70 countries. Additionally, the ‘UNESCO Roadmap for implementing the post-2014 Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP)’ was released.

Representatives from numerous organizations around the world took part in different high-level keynote presentations, panel discussions, workshops and side events during the celebratory and historic three-day event. The United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) supported the conference by participating in panel discussions and organizing workshops and side events. These were specifically related to multi-stakeholder, multi-sectoral networking in local communities, networking of higher education institutions. UNU-IAS was further involved in international debate issues such as climate change, sustainable consumption and production, biodiversity, traditional knowledge, health as well as higher education and other processes on education for sustainable development.

Several multi-stakeholder meetings conveniently took place just before the UNESCO conference. This allowed many participants for example of the 9th Global RCE on ESD Conference, as well as members of the UNU-IAS Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network (ProSPER.Net) to attend the UNESCO World Conference on ESD.

At the conclusion of the conference, the ‘Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development’was adopted, calling for urgent action to further strengthen and scale up ESD and inviting governments of UNESCO Member States to make further efforts towards achieving the goals of ESD. The definitive UNESCO GAP document that was launched during the World ESD Conference can be downloaded at UNESCO’s website.

RCE Structure and Governance Survey

At the Global RCE Conference, many different organizational structures and governance models of RCEs were discussed. RCE Greater Portland also announced that it had designed a short survey to gather information on the different types of RCE governance, membership, and funding models, in order to collect recommended best practices. They hope that this research will be beneficial for existing and new RCEs, as well as UNU-IAS. Results will be shared with participants who express interest.

To complete the survey, please visit:

Survey RCE Global Conference 2014

The survey takes no longer than 5-10 minutes to complete with the deadline now extended to December 20. Your input is of great value to the RCE Community.

SEAMEO Congress Proceedings

Based on feedback received from participants, speakers and partners, SEAMEO Congress has indeed been a great success with nearly 500 participants from Southeast Asian countries and beyond. We owe the success of the Congress to the support of our co-organizers British Council and the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST), 11 Southeast Asian Ministries of Education, SEAMEO Associate Member Countries, SEAMEO Affiliate Members, Congress Sponsors, Partner Organizations, SEAMEO Regional Centres, and lastly your participation in the SEAMEO Congress.

The following information is shared on the SEAMEO Congress' website. Please feel free to download the Congress Executive Summary, presentations of Congress plenary and parallel speakers, poster presentations, SEAMEO Congress Programme Book and visit the photo gallery.


Building a Resilient Future through Multistakeholder Learning and Action: Ten Years of Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development

Editors: Zinaida Fadeeva, Unnikrishnan Payyappallimana, Mario Tabucanon, Kiran Banga Chhokar, (UNU-IAS, 2014).

The global movement of Regional Centres of Expertise on ESD (RCEs), having reached a decade of existence and of constantly contributing to change through learning and action, is deserving of a commemorative memento. As the United Nations Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), upon which the RCE movement was founded and to which it was dedicated, draws to a close, it is also a critical time to look towards the future of the RCE community against the backdrop of the new processes taking shape in sustainable development and education.

This publication is the tale of an extraordinary grassroots movement conceived at the turn of the century and dedicated to the proposition that unless local stakeholders work together to find and implement local solutions to local sustainable development problems, all efforts to translate global sustainable development policy and vision into local realities might be in vain. This book draws upon earlier analyses and publications as well as recent reflections of the RCEs showing the colourful diversity of organizational cultures and approaches in promoting ESD worldwide. On the other hand, it renders possible the identification of common tendencies and emerging qualities, despite the different cultural, social and economic contexts, target groups and action areas. Click here.

ProSPER.Net Book: Transforming Higher Education and Creating Sustainable Societies

Editors: Aurea Christine Tanaka and Mario Tabucanon, (UNU-IAS, 2014).

Major initiatives supported by Japan on ESD through UNU include the networking of ESD stakeholders through the global initiative Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on ESD, and the Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Network (ProSPER.Net), a regional network of leading higher education institutions in Asia and the Pacific.

Over the years, since it’s launching in 2008, ProSPER.Net has been active and robust in the pursuit of its vision on sustainability and mission to transform higher education institutions. This book provides an important contribution to the recognition of the role of education and research to a more sustainable future.

This commemorative publication, which the Ministry is proud to be part of, demonstrates the core of ESD, where multiple stakeholders collaborate for actions and, by the same token, government and academia work together in innovative ways for creating sustainable societies. It also documents the development, achievements and future directions of ProSPER.Net, and is immensely significant and timely as the ESD global community celebrates UNDESD’s conclusion. For the interactive pdf, please click here.

Sustainable Development and Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Editors: Zinaida Fadeeva, Laima Galkute, Clemens Mader, Geoff Scott

Higher education has a central role in helping our world address its interlaced social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges. Our universities and colleges can do this by identifying and testing solutions in collaboration with the regions they serve, and by building the leaders of tomorrow. But to do this higher education institutions (HEIs) must transform themselves, and this involves bringing together best practice in quality management and improvement for tertiary education with best practice in education for sustainable development.

This book seeks to provide those interested in addressing this double helix of transformation with tested strategies and pathways for undertaking the journey successfully. It pays particular attention to dynamic interplays between organizational, national and international development in higher education policies and practices relevant for quality assurance. It also explores changing understandings of the notion of quality in higher education, relations of quality systems and other HEI strategies and questions of learner competences in the context of HEI strategies. You can find more information on the book here.

Exploring the Synergy between Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the Delivery of Quality Education in Finland

Päivi Immonen, PhD (Education), Senior Lecturer, Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Finland and Anna Maaria Nuutinen, RCE Coordinator, City of Espoo, Finland

This report describes ESD and Quality Education in Finland. The main aim was to establish a common understanding of the study subject, thereby creating an interpretation frame of quality education and ESD based on structure – process- outcomes –orientation and quality education literature in Finland. After analyzing the data (answers to study questions) by this frame, the results of this study are presented in this report.

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.

Please send your comments, suggestions and materials to

To unsubscribe click here.

United Nations University
5-53-70 Jingumae
Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-8925

To opt-out of all United Nations University contact system messages click here.