Creating Partnerships and New Acronyms - ESD, RCE, MESA and WESSA
15 August 2007
One of the unwritten emphases of the 2007 WEEC was the vital importance of partnership and working together to address an issues as large as the need for sustainable development. The conference was filled with members from networks and partner programmes all over the world. The acronyms took a little getting used to, but they represent a series of innovative and exciting initiatives to support Education for Sustainable Development. Some of these have been summarised below:
RCE – Regional Centres of Expertise
All information taken from the website - http://www.ias.unu.edu/research/regionalcentres.cfm
One of the main activities of the Education for Sustainable Development (EfSD) Programme is the promotion of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE). An RCE is a network of existing formal, non-formal and informal education organizations aiming to deliver education for sustainable development (ESD) to a regional/local community. RCEs aspire to achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014), by translating its global objectives into the context of the local/regional community in which it operates.
Botanic gardens have and can play an important role in RCEs – contact your nearest RCE to get involved.
An RCE should have four elements:
An RCE is composed of a network of:
Functions of an RCE
RCEs bring together organizations at the regional/local level to jointly promote ESD. They build innovative platforms to share information and experiences and to promote dialogue among regional/local stakeholders through partnerships for sustainable development. This leads to the creation of a local/regional knowledge base to support ESD actors, thereby contributing to the four major goals of ESD in a resource-effective manner. These four goals are to:
Seven pioneer RCEs were launched at the UNU-UNESCO Conference on Globalization and ESD in June 2005:
MESA: Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability into African Universities
All information taken from the website http://www.unep.org/training/features/mesa.asp
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners is supporting a partnership programme to mainstream environment and sustainability concerns into the teaching, research, community engagement and management of universities in Africa .
The MESA (Mainstreaming Environment & Sustainability into African Universities) Partnership includes the following:
The MESA Universities Partnership strengthens UNEP's special focus on Africa and is constituted as a major contribution to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD). The MESA Universities Partnership also supports the New Partnership for Africa 's Development (NEPAD) environmental action plan and the objectives of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment.
The NEPAD Environmental Action Plan (UNEP, 2003) indicates that the state of the environment is a major determinant of the growth and development objectives of any nation and has a pervasive effect on the safety and standard of living of the populace. One of the strategic actions in the NEPAD Environmental Action Plan is the ‘ development of capacity in all aspects of environmental issues in Africa ' (UNEP 2003). Universities will have a key role to play in strengthening capacity for sustainable development through ESD initiatives.
WESSA – Wildlife Education Society of South Africa
More information about WESSA on the website http://www.wessa.org.za
Founded in 1926, the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA is South Africa's oldest and largest non-government membership-based environmental organisation. WESSA maintains a watchful eye on the South African environment through its extensive network of Regional Offices, Branches (volunteer groups acting for their communities), Friends Groups (groups of people who have banded together to conserve natural areas) and Environmental Clubs.
Professional environmental staff are employed to work directly with the public, with local, provincial and national government and with other environmental organisations to press for effective environmental planning and legislation, to offer better protection of the environment. WESSA has representation on many National and Regional conservation bodies and investigatory commissions, and is a founder member of the World Conservation Union (formerly the International Union for the Conservation of Nature - IUCN).
WESSA offers services to schools, teacher's groups and other environmental educators, it engages in community development work and run a number of EE Centres. WESSA is also involved in adult education and training through many of its projects.
Major successes in this field are the establishment of the SADC (Southern African Development Community) Regional Environmental Education Centre which supports education activities in fourteen SADC countries, the initiation of a national Environmental Clubs scheme and the establishment of a resource development network known as Share-Net. The latter is an open, collaborative structure which is set up through a partnership of WESSA, KwaZulu-Natal Nature Conservation Service and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF - SA) with the endorsement of the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA).
SADC Reep: Southern African Development Community – Regional Environmental Education Programme
All information from the SADC Reep website http://www.sadc-reep.org.za/
In 1993, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Environment and Land Management Sector (ELMS) initiated a programme to support environmental education processes in the southern African region. A series of workshops involving environmental education practitioners in the region were developed, complemented by other research processes designed to assess the state of environmental education in the region. Based on information gathered during this initial phase a formal programme document was developed and submitted to the SADC Council of Ministers for approval.
The Council of Ministers ratified the proposal and agreed that the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) should act as implementing agency of the programme. Following approval in August 1996 the document was submitted to the Swedish International Development Developing Agency (Sida) for funding. Sida found the Programme’s recommendations appropriate for responding to the urgent need for environmental education processes in the SADC region and agreed to fund the first three years of operation from July 1997 to June 2000. Sida has recently agreed to fund the second phase of the programme from 2002 to 2005. The Royal Danish Ministry of Foriegn Affairs (Danida), USAID and IUCN – The World Conservation Union, also provide financial support for different components of the Programme
The purpose of the Regional Environmental Education (EE) Programme is to enable environmental education practitioners in the SADC region to strengthen environmental education processes for equitable and sustainable environmental management choices.
The SADC Regional EE Programme consists of four major components with different sub-projects:
Member countries of SADC Reep:
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"Education for Sustainable Development: Guidelines for Action in Botanic Gardens"
BGCI has published Guidelines on Education for Sustainable Development. Suitable for those working in botanic gardens and other site-based education centres, it features tips and case studies from botanic gardens around the world. The Guidelines are freely available to all in PDF and printed format.
Education for Sustainable Development
Develop the necessary knowledge and skills required in order to teach on the subject of sustainable development. BGCI earns credit for your purchases on Amazon.