1 April 2009

Special Event "The United Nations and ESD: Walking the talk"

Organizer: Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, Stephanie Hodge, Programme Specialist, Education Section, UNICEF NYHQ
Time: 13:15 - 14:15h

Abstract: At 'Walking the Talk' our objective was to inspire each other by putting a face on real-world experiences and stories in ESD from the field. During the session, a moderator presided over a relatively light, entertaining, "talk show" kind of event. The six interviewees were from different age groups, gender and regional settings, who were associated with IAC-DESD member initiatives, and represented tangible improvements in each of the main thrusts of DESD. The moderator followed a script of questions, which enticed stories from the interviewees. Following the interview, each of them came up with suggestions of how to upscale these initiatives. The moderator then opened up to questions and sharing from the audience during which representatives from the UN agencies also had a chance to speak about their support for these projects.

Speakers are:

  • Ms. Mumsie Gumede or Mr. Tich Pesanayi
    WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa), serving as the Secretariat of RCE KwaZulu-Natal, supported by UNU
  • Professor Margaret Fubara
    Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria on higher education, supported by UNEP
  • Prateek Awashti
    A young person from India who benefited from youth programmes and has created an NGO to educate young people on development and health, supported by UNFPA
  • Alexander Wegner
    A student in Germany working on water issues and former J-8 participant, supported by UNICEF
  • Dr. Art-Ong Jumsai na Ayudhya
    A prominent educationist who has spearheaded the Human Value based Water Sanitation and Hygiene Education (HVWSHE) approach in Thailand, supported by UN-HABITAT
  • Ms. Tomoko Shibao
    ACCU (Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO)
  • Moderator: Ms. Donna L. Goodman
    Executive Director, Earthchild Institute


Special Event "Regional Centres of Expertise for Education for Sustainable Development - lessons and ways ahead"

Organizer: United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), Dr. Zinaida Fadeeva;  Director RCE Rhine-Meuse UNU Joseph Eussen
Time: 13:15 - 14:15h

Abstract: The concept of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was developed by the ESD Programme of UNU-IAS in 2004, to help achieve the goals of DESD by translating global objectives into local contexts. An RCE is a network of existing formal, non-formal and informal education institutions, mobilized to jointly develop learning system for sustainability at the regional/local level. An RCE builds an innovative platform for multi-sectoral and interdisciplinary information-sharing, dialogue and collaboration for promoting ESD among regional/local stakeholders.  The RCEs can be seen as regional 'communities of practice' for ESD.  The seven RCEs were acknowledged at the UNU-UNESCO Conference on Globalization and Education for Sustainable Development (Nagoya, June 2005). Today, the RCE network includes more than 60 RCEs globally.

The side-event demonstrated the current progress of RCEs and challenges they were facing. Each RCE implements activities in response to the challenges faced by its region. In addition, the RCE network is also exploring strategic inter-RCE linkages, particularly on six identified themes – sustainable production and consumption, youth, health, biodiversity, e-learning and teacher training.  The RCEs developed continental networks in Europe, Africa, Americas and the Asia-Pacific. Together with the representatives of UNU-IAS that serves as the Global RCE Service Centre, panellists discussed current achievements and challenges in development of the RCE movement.  They also discussed issues of coordination, communication, development of sub-networks (inter-RCE thematic networks and geographic networks) and designing evaluation mechanism within and among the RCEs.

The RCE movement is one of the many responses to the DESD which truly has a global reach. There are other innovative ESD processes that gained momentum globally and regionally. The workshop participants explored links between activities of RCEs, MESA, ProSPER.Net, IAU, AAU and others in an attempt to highlight existing and potential interlinkages between these networks and initiatives. 

Special Event "Human Rights Education – Key to Sustainable Development"

Organizer: Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation
Time: 13:15 - 14:15h

Abstract: The Anna Lindh Foundation is a unique organization, resourced by and reporting to the governments of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and acting as a network of 43 national networks of civil society organizations working for dialogue in the region. During the Heads of State and Governments' Summit of Paris (July 2008) and the following Euro-Med Ministerial Meeting of Marseille (November 2008) the ALF was recognized as an institution of the  Union for the Mediterranean. Its overall aim is the promotion of intercultural dialogue and respect for diversity. The Foundation shall bring the people of the region together for better understanding and sharing common values.

The German Network of the ALF presents an example of its work in the field of intercultural dialogue and human rights education. Model International Criminal Court simulates trials at the ICC. The participants are high-school students from across Europe, the working language is English.

The aims of MICC are twofold:

  • Raising awareness for human rights and educating students about methods for their protection, and
  • Fostering intercultural dialogue and understanding between high-school students.

During the project, the students took on the roles of judges, prosecutors, defenders in tri-national teams. The trial cases were final pleadings of real historic cases that were heard before international tribunals.

Following the simulation a representative of the ALF headquarters in Alexandria gave input on the motion of "Human Rights Education – A key to sustainable development" and kindly welcomed anyone interested to a short but interesting discussion on ways any means of achieving sustainable development through human rights.

Special Event: "Promotion of (early) education in STEM fields as a contribution by a corporate foundation to education for sustainable development"

Organizers: Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Telekom Foundation
Time: 13:15 - 14:15h