Issue 37: November 2015
Message from the ProSPER.Net Secretariat:
Dear colleagues and friends,
We would like to draw your attention to the recently published ProSPER.Net Working Paper “Developing Leaders for Sustainable Development: Networking in Higher Education” by Mario Tabucanon (UNU-IAS) and Aurea Tanaka (UNU-IAS). Integrating the vision of sustainability in higher education means to challenge the status quo, to build a culture of change for reforming higher education institutions and to restructure unsustainable processes and practices to shape the leaders of the 21st century.
The paper demonstrates that networking can be a strategic approach to effectuate the needed transformation in the higher education sector and the experience of ProSPER.Net is summarized in this paper. The publication has three key messages:
(1) Networking can create opportunities for change and innovation, helping to transform higher education institutions and integrate sustainability thinking into their work.
(2) Multilateral networking through initiatives such as ProSPER.Net can facilitate cross-cultural, multidisciplinary and multi-stakeholder dialogues, strengthening the interface between science, policy and society, thereby linking education and development. Curriculum change towards sustainable development can be effectively achieved with a pilot network project, followed by dissemination of knowledge and practices to the wider network community and beyond.
(3) Capacity building designed within a network setting favours diversity of cultural and academic background, enables higher education institutions to offer innovative programmes, and enhances regional and global knowledge transfer to a young generation of professionals.
You can download the full paper here.
ProSPER.Net Young Researchers’School
The 2016 ProSPER.Net Young Researchers’ School (YRS) will be held at TERI University in New Delhi, India from 1 to 12 February 2016. The theme this year will be ‘Sustainable Energy for Transforming Lives: Availability, Accessibility, and Affordability’. The programme outlines the ways in which students will be exposed to issues related to sustainable energy, and for them to begin developing research responses to several challenges that provide integrative solutions as considering energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Applications are now closed and the ProSPER.Net Secretariat is now in the process of screening all applications. For a preliminary programme, please visit ProSPER.Net.
Education as a driver for SDGs
11-13 January, 2016
The conference is organised in partnership with UNESCO, UNEP, and the Government of India. The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development has demonstrated how education can play a vital role leading to sustainable development. As the UN has finalized the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) proposed by Open Working Groups, it is important for ESD communities to look specifically at each goal and determine how education can play an effective role in helping achieve this. The conference aims to recognize education as a key enabler to the broader realization of SDGs.
The role of education in its broadest sense including training and capacity building, communication and creating public awareness, scientific research, sharing and access to information and networking, and partnerships become a key strategy for achieving the SDGs. The objective of the conference is to bring together the global experience and expertise of using education as a way of achieving SDGs and showcasing the India experience in doing so.
The conference spread over three days will have five plenaries and 17 working groups. The ESDG conference workshop themes will be organized on the lines of the SDGs. More details on the conference can be found here.
Urban Thinker Campus: Health and well being in the city we need
24-27 January, 2016
The United Nations University’s International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH), as an Associate Partner of the World Urban Campaign will coordinate the Urban Thinkers Campus on Health and Wellbeing. This is a global event to re-imagine sustainable urban development in the interest of human health and environmental wellbeing. To achieve this ambitious goal, a wide variety of stakeholders such as civil society, grass roots, and professionals from health, planning, architecture, businesses, women’s and children’s groups, will join the campus. For more information on this event, click here.
Youth Survey on Target 4.7 of the SDGs
UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP) in partnership with the UNESCO ESD section is conducting a survey to understand youth perspectives on SDGs, with special reference to Target 4.7 which looks at Education for Peace, Sustainability and Global Citizenship (EPSG). The results of this exercise will play an important part in developing the youth led monitoring strategy of SDG Target 4.7. The survey can be accessed here.
Green Growth Indicator Consultant, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
The Global Green Growth Institute is looking for a Green Growth Indicator Consultant based in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia for the period of November 2015 to May 2016. Read more
UNU-IAS intern for ESD, Tokyo, Japan
We are looking for an intern to join our Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) team for 3 to 6 months. He/she will be working on both flagship projects the Global RCE Network and ProSPER.Net. Please spread the word! For more information, click here.
YRS Alumni Nominated Finalist in Victorian International Education Awards
ProSPER.Net’s Young Researcher’s School alumni Jessica Pandohee has been nominated finalist in the Victorian International Education Awards – International Student of the Year Research Category. The award recognises exceptional accomplishments of international students through academic performance and their contribution to the wider Victorian Community. Jessica’s participation at the YRS 2013, together with presenting in overseas conferences and other international activities have contributed to the internationalisation and student representation of RMIT abroad.
Jessica was delighted to have received the Award: “Through this nomination I would like to share the news with other science, technology, engineering and mathematics students encouraging them to not only work at being an expert in their field but also be involved and make a positive impact in the community around them.” ProSPER.Net congratulates Jessica on this achievement!
Report of the AASHE Conference, Minneapolis, USA
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) held its annual conference at the end of October, marking the organization’s first decade with the theme of “Transforming Sustainability Education.”
UNU-IAS Research Fellow Philip Vaughter facilitated a workshop on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD along with RCE Greater Portland coordinator Kim Smith, UNESCO Chair Charles Hopkins, Professor Hongwei Tan of the China Green University Network (CGUN), and Rick Nader of the University of North Texas. The focus of the session was to discuss the role higher education institutions can play in implementing SDGs and the GAP, and how education networks, such as ProSPER.Net, the RCE Network, and the CGUN can help facilitate local to global (termed ‘glocal’) action on UN objectives, while providing service and responding to needs from local communities.
The theme of shifting from competition to collaboration was stressed by both RCE and CGUN representatives, as they discussed how both networks allow universities to learn from one another so that all institutions are able to emerge with better sustainability practices and policies. The use of exchange internationally was also discussed, and Professor Tan. and Dr. Nader deliberated how exchange programmes between Chinese and American universities have allowed ideas to diffuse between campuses quickly in regards to campus operation and curriculum design. Read more
HESI organises COP side event at UNESCO Headquarters
The public seminar ‘From Rio to Paris: Higher Education for Climate Change Action’, on 14 October 2015, was recognized as the official side event of the XXI Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP21). The meeting was attended by representatives of the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) and chaired by Prof Dzul Razak, the President of the International Association of Universities (IAU).
The event reflected on the achievements and challenges of higher education institutions in research, learning and community engagement with respect to climate adaptation. The discussions revolved around the facilitation of academic and scientific inputs into the formulation of climate policies and development of capacity of communities to address consequences of climate change, through learning and action.
Pierre Henri Guignard, Secretary General and COP21 Representative welcomed HESI’s report “Higher Education Climate Action for Sustainable Development” and the Open Letter written by The Global Alliance of Networks and Associations of Higher Education for Sustainable Development (GA), a global alliance of tertiary and higher education sustainability and student networks and associations. This “network of networks” was inspired by HESI and is the collective voice of the world’s universities, colleges and students that affirm their commitment to the critical role that universities, colleges and students play in finding and implementing solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
Their voice needs to be heard at COP21 when the UN Climate Conference takes place in Paris, France during the first week of December. Representatives of tertiary, higher education and student sustainability networks, as well as associations and institutions are invited to endorse the Open Letter expressing their commitment towards more sustainable climate resilient development until end of November.
On 15 October 2015, the HESI sponsors met to discuss the 2030 agenda and the SDGs. The meeting was well attended with representatives from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Education and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), UNU-IAS, UN Global Compact/Principles of Responsible Management Education (PRME), the Global Alliance, University of Gloucestershire, and the Senior Adviser to HESI from Kedge Business School.
Key outcomes of this meeting were that HESI will use the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs as its roadmap, focusing each year on one or two SDGs in conjunction with landmark events of the UN System. As of 1 January, 2016, UNEP will serve as convener of HESI, and will liaise closely with UNHABITAT on HESI’s work on SDG11 – sustainable cities ahead of HABITAT+20, the cities summit, analogous to HESI’s work on SDG 13 – climate change, ahead of COP21 in 2015. In 2017, HESI will focus on SDG 4 education, ahead of the GAP Review led by UNESCO and the Tiblisi Conference on Environmental Education.
ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme discusses how to expand SCP systems in Asia Pacific
The 8th ASEAN+3 Leadership Programme (LP) on Sustainable Production and Consumption (SCP) was held back to back with the SWITCH-Asia Workshop on ASEAN and SCP Governance in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Both events were hosted by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia in partnership with three UN agencies, UNU-IAS, UNEP, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), as well as the ASEAN Secretariat in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
There were 27 participants at the event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with mainly mid to senior level government officials from nine countries (eight of the ten ASEAN Member States; and one of the three dialogue partner countries) – Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. This year’s ASEAN+3 LP constituted the participation of mixed inter-ministerial delegations from countries, reflecting the cross-cutting nature of SCP in national governance. Both the LP and the workshop were geared towards the understanding and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Participants discussed issues critical for expanding SCP systems in the region with one particular focus being policy and decision making tools to finance and support SCP in the small and medium sized enterprise (SME) sector. SMEs constitute a significant sector in the ASEAN region’s economy. Learning cases engaged participants in analyzing and generating policy options. This was particularly highlighted in the transformative potential of green SMEs, taking into account their respective challenges and solutions.
Policy instruments proposed included SME capacity development, green financing, innovative investment schemes, sustainable public procurement, and integrated policy measures for SCP that can ensure this sector’s transformative contribution to competitiveness, job creation, and economic development of the region. At the same time, attendees learned how a favourable investment climate for resource efficient and cleaner production can be created for SMEs. Read more about the outcomes here.
EU declaration on cycling as a means of climate-friendly transport
The European Union officially acknowledged cycling as a big role in combating climate change in its Declaration of Cycling as a means of climate-friendly transport. The Declaration’s action plan invites local, regional and national focal points on cycling as a means of transport. It also asks to integrate cycling into multimodal transport policy, including smart mobility, stressing the need to promote physical infrastructure and behavioural change programmes, and to develop an EU level strategic document on cycling.
It is the official EU-strategy, which was finally agreed upon a few weeks ago by the European Commission that gives priority to climate friendly means of transport such as cycling. One example of a successful business model is Cycle Logistics. Below are extracts from Jos Hermans article on a relatively new development in this field namely the rising popularity of Cycle Logistics, where transporters use so-called carrier-bicycles to bring goods from outside the city into town centers and vice versa. Read the full article here.
A report called Cycling delivers on the Global Goals by the European Cycling Federation (ECF) and the World Cycling Alliance (WCA) explains in detail how cycling delivers on the Sustainable Development Goals, and showcases the ambitions of 70 cities from around the world to increase cycling, as well as highlighting the link between cycling and 11 of the 17 Global Goals. Cycling is already covered in Goal #3 (ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all), Goal #8 (promote sustained inclusive and sustainable economic growth), and Goal #12 (ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns).
The publication refers explicitly to the recent ITDP study “A Global High Shift Cycling Scenario” – which shows, that cycling can have a substantial positive impact on the world’s future. The scenario highlights how increasing bicycle and e-bike use would help: saving almost $6 trillion over the next 15 years, improving quality of life and a 7% decrease of urban transport CO2 emissions.
Hot Off the Press: ESD Books, Publications and Other
UNICEF Report: Unless We Act Now – The Impact of Climate Change on Children
More than half a billion children live in areas with extremely high flood occurrence and 160 million in high drought severity zones, leaving them highly exposed to the impacts of climate change, UNICEF said in a report released ahead of COP21. This report looks at how children, and particularly the most vulnerable, are affected and what concrete steps need to be taken to protect them. Access it here.
UNISDR Report: The Human Costs of Weather Related Disasters
A new report issued by the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) and the Belgian-based Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), “The Human Cost of Weather Related Disasters”, shows that over the last twenty years, 90% of major disasters have been caused by 6,457 recorded floods, storms, heat waves, droughts and other weather-related events. The five countries hit by the highest number of disasters are the United States, China, India, Philippines, and Indonesia. The report demonstrates that since the first Climate Change Conference (COP1) in 1995, 606,000 lives have been lost and 4.1 billion people have been injured, left homeless or in need of emergency assistance as a result of weather disasters. Read more
Indicators of Resilience in SEPLS
The “Indicators of Resilience in Socio-ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes” are a set of indicators developed through the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) via collaborative activities including Biodiversity International, UNU-IAS, UNDP and IGES. First created in 2011, they were then field-tested and applied in more than 20 countries around the world, and updated based on these experiences in 2014. A Toolkit publication was also published in 2014 to provide practical advice for use of the Indicators in the field. The Indicators have now been published in their updated form in a shorter brochure for wide distribution. The brochure contains basic background information and the set of indicators themselves. Download the publication here.