About the European RCE Meeting 2018

by Françoise Laveuve

The European RCE Meeting 2018 was hosted by RCE Brittany, France, and was held at Université de Bretagne Sud, Tohannic, Vannes. The meeting was attended by twenty RCEs from thirteen countries : Austria (RCE Euregion tyrol), China (RCE Hangzhu), Czechia (RCE Czechia), Denmark (RCE Denmark), Finland (RCE Helsinki Metropolitant) France (RCE Bordeaux Aquitaine, RCE Brittany, RCE Paris Seine), Germany (RCE  Nuremberg, Candidate RCE Oldenburger-Munsterland, RCE Ostwürttemberg-Aalen, RCE München), Greece (RCE Crete), United Kingdom (RCE Cymru, RCE East Midlands, RCE London) Poland (RCE Warsaw Metropolitan), Russia (RCE Nizhny Novgofov), Scotland (RCE Scotland) and Sweden (RCE Skâne). RCE Belarus, unhappily, could not come. Were represented : the Association Ecodemia, Belarus, and Imperial College, London. Dr. Kumi Tashiro, Deputy Director, Office of Environment Education, Ministry of Environment of Japan, Dr.Philip Vaughter, from United Nations University, Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), and Dr. Jos Hermans, Regional Advisor to the RCE Community- Europe also attended the meeting.

The overarching theme of this meeting was : "ESD and the SDGs: how can RCEs coordinate both to achieve the SDGs?"  

The meeting was supported by the United Nations University,  Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainablity (UNU-IAS), the Université de Bretagne Sud (UBS) , and the UBS Laboratory of Mathematics (LMBA).   The purpose of this conference was to share the projects and ideas of the different European countries on the proposed thematic, and share all the positive achievements that had been realized  concerning the SDGs they had chosen to explore  according to their local possibilities, and to strengthen the links between them  by a pooling of projects, in order to make the achieving of the SDGs possible.

On August 29th, 2018, after a short presentation of the overarching theme and the reasons of this choice by RCE Brittany, the meeting was officially opened by Dr.Kumi Tashiro, from the Office of Environment Education, Ministry of Environment of Japan, who emphasized on the importance of Education in Sustainable Development, the importance of UNU-IAS, and the importance of RCEs network. The networks must be strengthened and platforms must be created. Then Dr. Philip Vaughter, from UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability explained the United Nations System, and announced the 11th Global conference 2018 in Cebu - in the Philippines, from December 7th to 9th 2018. Then he explained the principles of the new-look profile page, with its sub-sections, with for example a section for illustrative photos, and also photos of activities. This profile page takes the place of the annual reports, consequently all the projects must be described, the communication channels and contacts details must be mentioned. RCEs, then, are highly requested to update their RCE profile page.

19 interventions and 3 workshops have followed on August 29th and 30th. The meeting was preceded by a welcome dinner on August 28th evening, and followed by a field trip on August 31st afternoon (discovery of the Gulf of Morbihan aboard a tourism boat).

It was a very lively conference with very interesting, various and very high quality presentations, with constructive discussions between the participants during the breaks and already working affinities or common themes to be explored in networks, all that suggesting interesting joint work opportunities for the coming time. The atmosphere of the meeting was particularly excellent.

Some Key topics

- Importance of the NGO COMMEET ; the subject is TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training, and Entrepreneurship). The aim is to help students who can't go to university. TVET must be a priority throughout the world. Furthermore, there are opportunities in TVET for migrants because it is an Entrepreneurship Education, the next step being: how sustainable migrants' entrepreneurships can develop regional community. There is a policy recommendation on curriculum development for Vocational Schools towards ESD, that is methods for Education for ESD competencies and curricula.

- Support for entrepreneurship projects financed by local companies in some towns or countries.

- Education has often been the topic developed by various RCEs, as: * "projects in Tertiary Education for SD", or: * "the project of learning cities", but also:

-  Introducing in primary schools the means  to reduce the production of energy and the use of resources

-  Rethinking the competencies in Basic education by introducing SDGs in school culture

-  Developing a school action plan inspired by the 17 SDGs

- SDGs and Statistics: Research on the interactions between the 17 SDGs and how to challenge students by interesting them to look for interactions by themselves

- Developing competencies for a socio-economic development, (Erasmus Project and Knowledge Alliance)

- Development of Centres of Excellence in CCSAFS (Climate Change, Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security) in Egypt (Cairo), and in Jerash University, Jordan, project financed by Erasmus. There will be major ESD Activities projects up to 2022.  

- The preservation of the heritage represented by nature in general, including the sea, has been the subject of various interventions.

Each intervention was presented with a PPT. These PPTs are available on https://rcebretagne.org.

Challenges

- Build on the strengths and successes achieved to develop our action

- Open new ways of collaboration between RCEs on ESD to be more effective in achieving SDGs

-  Strengthen our links and build collaborative projects

-  Keep up to date our profile page

Opportunities/way forward

-  Collaborative project on Intuitive Thinking

- TVET as a solution for empowering people for entrepreneurship in their community

-  Collaborative project on social justice

- Collaborative project of statistical visualization of the interrelations between the SDGs by the synthetic study of the specific studies in the different European countries

- Working transfer of expertise towards Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asi

Action points

The three thematics of the workshops during this European Conference, Vannes, remain on the agenda as the guiding threads of our work and our relations:

- Evaluation of ESD and RCEs

- Communication strategy among the RCEs

- Priorities for European Community

Conclusion

A very big warm thank you to everyone, thank you for the help received, thank you for the quality of the interventions, but also the good mood, the enthusiasm, the warm relations, all this giving desire to work together more.

The conference was therefore motivating, the links between us were strengthened, and amplifying the collaborative work has appeared as an indispensable necessity.

Photos have been uploaded on the portal site: http://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/europe-regional-meeting-2018 and links provided on www.rcebretagne.org.