Tertiary education sustainability networks make progress toward creating a global alliance

23rd April 2015

The world’s most prominent networks for sustainability in further and higher education convened on 25 March 2015 at the EAUC Annual Conference at the University of Leeds.

With the theme of 'Challenging Connections', the EAUC Conference provided a formal stage for all of the voices in the tertiary education sector to inspire and challenge one another and forge new connections.

The tertiary education networks in attendance represented global and regional organisations from Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe and North America. Representatives agreed that we are more effective when we collaborate, and, in building a more collective voice, we can put our member universities, colleges and students at the heart of the international challenge to address sustainability. The meeting in Leeds represented the next step toward developing a global alliance, after the success of the collaborative work for Rio+20.

The overarching aim of the alliance is to connect sustainability networks in the tertiary education sector and provide a collective voice to contribute to global developments such as the Paris COP21 taking place in December 2015. Each network has a unique and valuable perspective to contribute. This global alliance will work in line with United Nation's activities like UNEP’s Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES).

The alliance also demonstrates that we have a collective voice through our own alliance of UK universities and colleges – through EAUC Membership. Together we can create new partnerships, new funding opportunities and share access to the tools and resources of other networks. Ultimately, we also recognise that national drivers for sustainability are key and this alliance brings new collaborative power to influence policy at an international level allowing us to build a foundation to drive new sustainability leadership in the UK.

Last year, EAUC signed a unique agreement with UNEP to link and support tertiary education institutions around the world. This alliance builds on this work and through the EAUC, shows we are taking responsibility for our institutions and our students and ensuring that the UK is leading the way.

As this is a collaborative effort, other tertiary education peer groups are invited to join the dialogue and contribute toward a shared vision, planned to be published in September 2015. Please contact GLOBALALLIANCE-request@jiscmail.ac.uk if you represent a sustainability network and want to be added to the discussion.

Networks and Representatives participating in the Leeds Meeting, March 2015 (see photo)
• Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), NORTH AMERICA www.aashe.org
• Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability (ACTS), AUSTRALASIA www.acts.asn.au
• Copernicus Alliance (European Network on Higher Education for Sustainable Development) www.copernicus-alliance.org and University Educators For Sustainable Development (UE4SD), EUROPE www.ue4sd.eu
• Ecocampus Belgium, EUROPE ecocampus.lne.be
• Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC), UK, EUROPE www.eauc.org.uk
• United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES), GLOBAL www.unep.org/training/programmes/gupes.asp
• Campus Responsables, FRANCE, EUROPE https://campusresponsables.com/
• International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN), GLOBAL www.international-sustainable-campus-network.org
• EMSU and International Journal of Cleaner Production, GLOBAL www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-cleaner-production/
• Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in Africa – MESA, AFRICA www.unep.org/training/mesa_conf/
• Nordic Sustainable Campus Network (NSCN), NORDICS, EUROPE nordicsustainablecampusnetwork.wordpress.com
• Regional University Consortium Asia Pacific, ASIA unep-iesd.tongji.edu.cn
• rootAbility, EUROPE www.rootability.com
• Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), GLOBAL sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdinaction/hesi www.sustainabilitytest.org
• Campus Sustainability Network (CAS-Net), JAPAN, ASIA www.esho.kyoto-u.ac.jp
• UK Youth Climate Coalition, EUROPE www.ukycc.org
• National Union of Students, UK, EUROPE www.nus.org.uk
• Studenten voor Morgen (Students for Tomorrow), NETHERLANDS, EUROPE www.studentenvoormorgen.nl
• Alianza de Redes Iberoamericanas de Universidades por la Sustentabilidad y el Ambiente ARIUSA, SOUTH AMERICA https://ariusa.net/

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