ProSPER.Net E-bulletin Issue 29 (Mar 2015)

ProSPER.NetLogo-Banner Issue 29: March 2015

Message from the ProSPER.Net Secretariat:

Dear colleagues and friends, Warm spring greetings from Tokyo! We are pleased to announce the 2015 ProSPER.Net-Scopus Young Scientist Award in Sustainable Development (YSA). This award is given annually to young scientists and researchers who have made significant contributions in the area of sustainable development. The categories for this year’s YSA are Energy, Water and Biodiversity. Applications and nominations will be accepted until 24 May through ProSPER.Net and Elsevier's websites. As part of the judging process, the three finalists in each category will be sponsored to present their work in a public symposium on 27 July 2015 in Yokohama, Japan. Winners will receive a cash award from ProSPER.Net-Scopus and a fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Please disseminate this award in your institutions and encourage young scientists and researchers to apply. For further details about eligibility requirements, the evaluation process and awards to be offered, please visit the ProSPER.Net website. We would also like to remind ProSPER.Net members to register for the Joint Meeting of the 9th ProSPER.Net General Assembly and the 15th Board Meeting. The meeting will be hosted by Tongji University in Shanghai, China on 3 and 4 June 2015. Kindly send us back the registration form by 12 April 2015 to confirm your participation. Sincerely, ProSPER.Net Secretariat  

Upcoming Events

Events organized by UNU-IAS

Asia Pacific Leadership Programme 2015 on Environment for Sustainable Development

21-25 September 2015 Shanghai, China The Asia-Pacific Leadership Programme on Environment for Sustainable Development is an annual flagship programme co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Tongji University, aiming to build capacity for emerging leaders from the Asia Pacific region on holistic sustainability thinking and evidence based approaches for effective action. The Leadership Programme is organized by the Institute of Environment for Sustainable Development (IESD) at Tongji University, in support of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-14, and closely linked with the training pillar of the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability GUPES. The Leadership Programme will provide participants from the Asia Pacific region with the opportunity to improve all-round thinking and their decision-making abilities. The programme is targeted to emerging leaders in the region, representing governmental organizations, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector. The objective of the programme is to get a good understanding in the three key dimensions – human, environmental and social/economic – in promoting sustainable development and finally set up a platform for emerging leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to communicate and network with each other while working together to address complex practical sustainable development challenges. For more information please visit the RCE Portal or the programme’s website.

Other Events

Media Workshop on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

6-8 April 2015 Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir To sensitize journalists on climate change issues globally viz-a-viz the Himalayan region; apprise them on existing policies and programmes for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and orient them about effective reporting on climate change issues, case studies and sustainable development for the mountain communities, the Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and The Third Pole (TTP) under the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) supported by RCE Srinagar are organising this media workshop. For more information please contact Dr. Abdhesh Gangwar, RCE Srinagar (+91-9415104125 or at

UNESCO World Education Forum (WEF)

19-22 May, 2015 Incheon, Republic of Korea UNESCO, in close collaboration with other UN Agencies as co-conveners, will organize the World Education Forum 2015 (WEF 2015). The WEF’s outcome will be fully aligned with the education goal and targets of the global development agenda to be adopted at the UN High-Level Summit in September 2015, in order to have one single education agenda for 2015-2030. To achieve this consensus UNESCO is facilitating consultations at various levels and with the UN Secretariat. This also requires continued strong engagement and support from governments and other education partners to ensure that the final targets for education post-2015 are transformative, achievable and measurable. For more information on this event please visit the UNESCO website.

2015 International Student Conference on Environment and Sustainability

2-7 June 2015 Tongji University, Shanghai, China The conference will be hosted by Tongji University and co-hosted by UNEP, Xinhua News Agency, BEFYT. Other co-organizers include UNESCO, FAO, UNAIDS, Bayer, and SKLPCR. There will be five different panels of discussion at the conference: Ecological Civilization and Green Development, Education for Sustainable Development, Food and Health, Ecosystem and Climate Change, Green Development, and finally Sustainable Development and the United Nations. For more information on this event and how to register please visit the conference’s website.

Open Calls

Call for Public Review on the Policy Briefs to the UN Global Sustainable Development Report 2015

As part of the efforts to improve the science-policy interface in the intergovernmental processes on sustainable development at the United Nations, the Global Sustainable Development Report had posted an open call to the scientific community around the world, inviting scientists to submit briefs, highlighting specific issues, findings, or researches with a bearing on sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environment – or their inter-linkages. Briefs had been submitted by end of January 2015. They had to be factual and based on peer-reviewed literature, focusing on the review of up-to-date findings relating to a particular issue, or presenting solutions to a problem or challenge. Key messages from the current scientific debate had to be highlighted for the attention of policy-makers. In the spirit of transparency, all published briefs are now open for public review here.

2015 SEED Awards - Apply by 31 March 2015!

The SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development is an annual awards scheme designed to find the most promising, innovative and locally led start-up social and environmental enterprises in countries with developing and emerging economies. The independent SEED International Jury of experts selects enterprises, which have the potential to make real improvements in poverty eradication and environmental sustainability while contributing to a greener economy. For more information please click here. UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Regional Consultation Platform on Sustainable Development This online platform was established to widen stakeholder access to the Asia-Pacific discussions on Sustainable Development. Your insights and perspectives are important for strengthening these regional discussions and may be used in materials to inform future intergovernmental dialogues including the Asia-Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development 2015. For inquiries, please contact, check out the platform’s website or visit the UN ESCAP website.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) CONFINTEA Scholarships Available

In September 2015, UIL will offer four CONFINTEA research scholarships for one month each to researchers from UNESCO Member States (particularly from the global South). The scholarships are mainly based on private donations from the British educationalist Peter Jarvis and his publisher Taylor & Francis and the Nomura Centre for Lifelong Integrated Education in Japan. Participants are selected on the basis of their potential to produce articles, research papers, programme tools or policies which can be shared with decision-makers and will have an impact in the education sector of their home countries. Please submit your application by 30 April 2015 to Lisa Krolak at, or consult the website.

UN Social Development Network: Join the e-Discussion on Innovation and Technology

As part of promoting the 20th Anniversary of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development and the adoption of the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, the UNDESA Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) launched a yearlong campaign called ‘For Inclusion. For Equality. For People’. The campaign, which is part of the wider ‘2015 Time for Global Action’ campaign, highlights the importance of unity and the need to put people at the centre of the development agenda. To promote this month’s theme on ‘Innovation and Technology’, UNDESA DSPD has launched an e-discussion ‘How could the international community facilitate knowledge sharing and access to new technologies and innovation to all social groups, including youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous people, as well as vulnerable groups such as people living in rural and remote areas and people living in poverty?’. Your responses will help UNDESA DSPD review the role of Innovation and Technology in the post-2015 Development Agenda with a focus on the social dimensions of sustainable development. The e-Discussion will take place from 11 March to 31 March. For more information please visit the RCE Portal.

2015 Time for Global Action for #YouthNow: Join the Campaign

Join the #YouthNow Campaign, a global campaign that leverages the power of digital and social engagement to mobilize global voices to share ideas on development issues most important to youth and that will leverage the grassroot's momentum to advocate for the full inclusion of youth in the Sustainable Development process and implementation. #YouthNow engages in a global community and in initiatives that inspire people, institutions and governments to celebrate the milestones achieved to date in advancing the global youth agenda, and advocate for further actions to be taken. Learn more here.

Latest News

8th Asia-Pacific RCE Conference and 6th International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development (ICERD)

The 8th Asia-Pacific RCE Conference was organized in Cebu and Bohol, the Philippines from 5 to 8 March 2015 in conjunction with the 6th International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development (ICERD). This event was a joint effort of RCE Cebu, RCE Bohol and RCE Greater Phnom Penh - engaging a variety of stakeholders such as university students who provided most logistical support during the conference. Over 50 participants from 13 RCEs and candidate members in Asia-Pacific exchanged updates and innovative ideas on various projects related to biodiversity, community, schools, disaster risk reduction and youth. During the meeting, it was noted that many interesting collaborative projects were emerging among two or more RCEs while there was still a need for more consolidated efforts and a strategic approach in order to strengthen such collaborations and maximize the impact of these projects. RCE members were also invited to present at ICERD, where 180 participants from 16 countries gathered to discuss effective processes and strategies for sustainable rural development. It provided a great opportunity for RCEs to share their experiences with other practitioners outside the network and enhance the visibility of the RCE initiative.

Asia-Pacific Strategic Paper ‘Advancing ESD beyond 2014: Strategy for Asia-Pacific RCEs'

Over 100 RCE members from 29 of the 49 Asia-Pacific RCEs met in Okayama during the 9th Global RCE Conference to reflect on recent developments in the community and discuss a more dynamic collaboration and the post-2014 strategic direction. One of the highlights of the meeting was the adoption of the Asia-Pacific Strategic Paper ‘Advancing ESD beyond 2014: Strategy for Asia-Pacific RCEs’ which encapsulates the aspirations of the Asia-Pacific RCE community and served as input to the RCE Global Conference. The category of issues are aligned with, but not limited to, the priority action areas of GAP. You can find the paper on the RCE Portal.

Media and Other Articles

The Science Magazine: Sustainable Goals from the UN under fire Reuters: New development goals risk failure without clearer targets, scientists warn UNESCOPRESS: Five exceptional women honored for their ground-breaking discoveries in the physical sciences NY Times: Gender gap in education cuts both ways These and many more articles can be found on the RCE Portal, a flagship initiative by UNU-IAS. For instantaneous news, please sign up for the RSS Feed!  


International Council of Science (ICSU) Review of Targets for the Sustainable Development Goals: The Science Perspective (2015)

The SDGs offer a "major improvement" over their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, this report by the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) finds that of the 169 targets beneath the 17 draft goals, just 29% are well defined and based on the latest scientific evidence, while 54% need more work and 17% are weak or non-essential. The assessment of the targets – which are intended to operationalise the 17 goals set to be approved by governments later in 2015 – is the first of its kind to be carried out by the scientific community, and represents the work of over 40 leading researchers covering a range of fields across the natural and social sciences. Read the report here.

The Growth of Trees – A Historical Perspective on Sustainability

How could alpine farmers in the Swiss village of Törbel survive over centuries in adverse conditions? Why did the Hohokam culture suddenly collapse after more than 1000 years? Looking back in history, did truly sustainable societies ever exist? 300 years ago Carl von Carlowitz the so called “father of the term sustainability” died. Why is it worthwhile to remember him today? In his search for the history of sustainability, Christof Mauch discusses these and many more questions. Looking back at the historical relationship between humans and their environment may serve as a guide for the central political debates of today. Christof Mauch is co-founder and Director of the Rachel Carson Center for environment and society. The RCE Munich is partnering with the Rachel Carson Center since 2012 in a sustainability lecture. The publication is available online here. This is a publication of UNU-IAS ProSPER.Net Secretariat. Please send your comments, suggestions and materials to . Visit the ProSPER.Net website regularly for up-to-date news and event information. To unsubscribe click here.