Live update from UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development

10th November 2014

The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development takes place 10-12 November 2014 in Japan. This also includes many stakeholder meetings that took place in the days before. We have received some updates from Daniella Tilbury who is in attendance. 

Global Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) Conference

The United Nations University and International Association of Universities held a Higher Education Conference on ESD. Its goal was to reflect on progress in HESD and to identify priority areas for future actions. Visit UNU's webpage for a copy of programme and key papers

The Conference brought together 800 participants from very diverse backgrounds: higher education institutions, HE associations, Ministries of education, Ministries of Higher Education, Education Councils, UNESCO Delegations, National Environment Authorities, Students organisations, NGOs, other national and international organisations, Development cooperation agencies, teacher unions, Embassies and other government representatives, from over 75 different countries.

The UNU have released information of the new accredited centres as well as a Yokohama Declaration to support the Global Action Plan on ESD. If you would like to find out more please visit

The Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) Progress Report was shared at the event - see below.

Recommendations and a Declaration arising from this HE Conference will go forward to the World Summit on ESD. The World Summit opens tomorrow [10 November] and I hope to share the final Monitoring and Evaluation DESD report with you shorty.

UNEP also held a Forum on the Global Universities Partnerships on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES). Below is an extract (taken from GUPES document) summarising key international HE for SD projects:

1. The Eye on Environmental Education Special Initiative: is one of the Eye on Earth Foundation Initiatives, designed as an educational contribution towards sustainable development guided by the objectives of Eye on Earth and within the on-going United Nations Decade of ESD. GUPES is one of the projects that has received seed funding from EAD under this SI, looking to mainstream environmental education in the Arab Region. For this purpose, a series of activities will be implemented through the Eye on Environmental Education Special Initiative throughout 2013, 2014 and 2015, with focus on data access, curriculum innovation, capacity building and networking.

2. 2014 Toolkit for Greening Universities: As one of the outputs under the EoEE SI, one of the sessions will focus on the 2014 Toolkit for Greening Universities. The 2014 Toolkit builds on the first version of the Toolkit, launched at the 7th World Environmental Education Congress in June 2013 in Marrakesh, Morocco. The 2014 Toolkit will include updates measuring sustainability across universities, cost/benefit analysis, as well as new case studies on the greening of campuses.

3. Sustainability indicators for universities: The development of sustainability indicators for university campuses is ongoing in partnership with universities in Africa, Europe and Latin America. This activity is closely linked to the Greening Universities Toolkit, and will focus on the development of Sustainability Indicators for Universities. The session will also feature the results from RISU, the Red de Indicadores de Sostenibilidad en las Universidades, and its pilot work in Latin America.

4. Sustainable Campus Initiative: The Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD), in conjunction with Borouge, has launched the Sustainable Campus Initiative, an extension of the Sustainable Schools Initiative. The main goal of the project is to have university students in the UAE take responsibility for their ecological footprint at their university campuses.

5. MOOC on Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate: Jointly developed with the DRR colleagues from Geneva and the Center for Natural Resources and Development (CNRD) a consortium of 11 universities led by University of Cologne, the MOOC is one of the outputs under the Eye on Environmental Education Special Initiative (EoEESI) GUPES Project. The MOOC is based on an earlier the Masters Module on Disasters, Environment and Risk Reduction.

6. Forests in a Changing Climate: A Sourcebook for Integrating REDD+ into Academic Programmes: is a comprehensive syllabus for the academic study of forests and climate change issues, under the overarching and evolving REDD+ narrative. It is designed to facilitate the integration of this new knowledge domain into multidisciplinary university programmes.

7. Waste Management Curriculum: is being developed through a Consortium of 5 Universities in the Asia Pacific, and UNEP's International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Osaka, Japan

8. The Sustainability Literacy Test: The Sustainability Literacy Test is a free on-line Multiple Choice Question (MCQ) assessment. It assesses the minimum level of knowledge in economic, social and environmental responsibility, applicable all over the world, in any kind of Higher Education Institution (HEI), in any country, for students from any kind of tertiary-level course.

9. Proceedings of the Best of Best Worlds Conference: Presentation of the proceedings and highlights of the Best of Best Worlds Conference, which took place in Brazil in May 2014

10. VIIth Ibero American Environmental Education Conference: Briefing on the Lima Declaration, as an outcome of this Conference which was held during 10-12 September 2014.

11. Intergenerational Learning and Transformative Leadership for Sustainable Futures: Launch of book, with foreword by the UNESCO Director General and afterword by UNEP Executive Director

12. International Training Programmes on Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Launch of a publication documenting change projects undertaken through the ITP, with support from SIDA

13.  Asia Pacific Leadership Programme on Environment and Development: Launch of a booklet documenting 11 years of experience in convening Asia-Pacific's pioneer leadership programme on sustainability by the Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development at Tongji Univesity

14. Asia Pacific Regional University Consortium on Environment for Sustainable Development

15. University Educators for Sustainable Development (UE4SD): Launch of a report mapping opportunities to develop ESD competencies across 33 countries in Europe,

The GUPES webpage will upload slides and key project documents shortly

View the November 2014 ESD Zoom newsletter for a round up of events.

Find out more about the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development  

Thanks to Daniella for sharing this information. We will keep this page updates with more news as it comes in!
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