18 December 2017, Okayama, Japan - In order to advance Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) around the world, the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability has been supporting since 2003, a global network of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) on ESD. This includes formal, non-formal and informal organizations that facilitate learning towards sustainability at the local and regional level. RCEs are also key members of the UNESCO-led Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD, participating in the Partner Network focusing on “Accelerating Sustainable Solutions” at the community level.
The First RCE Thematic Conference: Towards Achieving the SDGs, held on 5-7 December 2017 in Okayama (Japan), provided an opportunity for RCEs representatives to meet and share best practices, focusing on three specific areas: 1) Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, 2) Climate Change, and 3) Sustainable Consumption and Production.
Following presentations of multiple and diverse RCE initiatives and experiences on day 1 – ranging from youth engagement to curriculum review, to community-based adaptation, the second day was dedicated to introducing UN/international platforms, with the aim to strengthen the link between local stakeholders and global frameworks. Invited to contribute to this segment, UNITAR/UN CC:Learn showcased its work for the promotion of climate change learning, emphasizing synergies with RCEs’ activities. In particular, a UNITAR representatives, Ms. Cristina Rekakavas, introduced UNITAR’s capacity building approach and wide portfolio in the area of climate change and green economy. She also delivered an in-depth presentation of the UN CC:Learn programme – highlighting both the global and the national components. UN CC:Learn learning resources, covering many topics and available for free in multiple languages, received special interest from the audience. Additionally, Ms. Rekakavas co-facilitated a workshop designed to discuss and identify blockages to the integration of climate change in school curricula.
Further input from a country perspective was provided by Dr. Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng, Principal Programme Officer of Ghana Environmental Protection Agency and UN CC:Learn Ambassador for Climate Change Learning. Dr. Tachie-Obeng shared his experience in promoting climate change education and training in Ghana as an ACE Focal Point. His intervention was very well received and attracted numerous questions from RCEs interested in linking up with their national ACE for points, or in promoting the appointment of such representatives, if not yet the case.
All interventions highlighted good practices and success stories, but also challenges and lessons learned, as well as existing tools and possible opportunities for RCEs’ consideration in their future activities.
The last day of the conferences was dedicated to field visits to see the implementation of ESD in action in Okayama, as well as further exchanges and networking.
About UN CC:Learn
UN CC:Learn is a partnership of more than 30 multilateral organizations supporting countries to design and implement systematic, recurrent and results-oriented climate change learning. At the global level, the partnership supports knowledge-sharing, promotes the development of common climate change learning materials, and coordinates learning interventions through a collaboration of UN agencies and other partners. At the national level, UN CC:Learn supports countries in developing and implementing national climate change learning strategies. Through its engagement at the national and global levels, UN CC:Learn contributes to the implementation of Article 6 of the UNFCCC on training, education and public awareness-raising, and the 2012-2020 Doha Work Programme. Funding for UN CC:Learn is provided by the Swiss Government and UN partners. The Secretariat for UN CC:Learn is hosted by the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR).
Photo 1: Photos: Dr. Hirofumi Makino, designed by Atsufumi Yokoi.
Photo 2: Ms. Cristina Rekakavas introduced UNITAR and UN CC:Learn programme.
Photo 3: Dr. Emmanuel Tachie-Obeng, Principal Programme Officer of Ghana Environmental Protection Agency and UN CC:Learn Ambassador for Climate Change Learning, is sharing his experience in promoting climate change education and training in Ghana as an ACE Focal Point.