UE4SD Newletter #2 - February 2015

 DSC2945mWelcome to the second of our bi-annual UE4SD newsletters! The purpose of the newsletter is to serve as a news and information platform for UE4SD partners and external stakeholders. It seeks to provide information about UE4SD activities, meetings, updates from project work packages as well as outcomes and resources that may be of interest to partners. The newsletters will also share partners’ profiles and provide details of relevant news and contact details.

The UE4SD project secretariat would value feedback. Please could you take a minute to let us know if the newsletter serves its purpose and advise how it could be improved. Please send your feedback at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Project News

New UE4SD publication! Education for Sustainable Development in Higher Education: professional development opportunities

This state of the art report analyses the findings of the four regional reports, which summarised the national mapping exercises conducted by the 53 UE4SD partner institutions. This process identified existing policy developments and strategic commitments for ESD in higher education across the different countries, and collected the examples of best practice in supporting professional development in this area.

The report clearly shows that ESD has gained importance in higher education across Europe and a growing number of universities have formal commitments to ESD as part of their corporate sustainability activities. It reflects on the status of ESD professional development, noting the variety of approaches in use, examples of innovative practice, and the need for clearer focus on professional competences in ESD.

Findings from the report will inform the next steps of the UE4SD project, which include the development of a leading practice publication and an online platform of ESD professional development resources, as well as the creation of a training academy for ESD in higher education.

We would really appreciate it if you could take the time and send this report to your network of contacts. We will need evidence for the Commission that this report has been widely disseminated. Please could you send us screenshots or evidence that it has been published in websites, newsletters or other communication platforms as soon as possible. Many thanks!

UE4SD Annual Innovation Report reviews ESD developments globally

We are pleased to share with you this Innovation Report which is the first annual review of significant developments in ESD in higher education, as part of the UE4SD project. The Innovation Reports are developed as part of work package 1 on Management by the University of Gloucestershire. The aim is to situate the UE4SD project within the changing global landscape of higher education, ESD and professional development and to ensure that the core thinking and outcomes of the project are informed by an up-to-date and international perspective.

This first report spans important developments in the first year of the project from September 2013 to September 2014. It focuses on:

  • significant international initiatives at the close of the UNESCO Decade of ESD (2005-14);
  • the present policy landscape and potential for ESD in the European Higher Education Area;
  • signs of rising demand for ESD in the curriculum among higher education student populations;
  • examples of recent innovations in ESD of relevance to the UE4SD project.

We hope that you enjoy the reading!

Future project developments - UE4SD leading practice publication and online platform of resources

In 2015, the focus of U4SD is to develop resources on ESD and professional development in higher education. Plans for the development of a leading practice publication and an online platform of resources will be shared with all partners very soon. The publication will showcase case studies identified as leading practice during the mapping exercise and the online platform will include key information and materials from all UE4SD partner institutions as well as resources developed by external organisations. We look forward to working with you on these key project outputs!

UE4SD at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD (Aichi-Nagoya, Japan, 10-12 November 2014)

The UNESCO World Conference on ESD marked the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014), celebrated the achievements made for the last ten years, and saw the launch of the new Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD. The Conference was attended by over 1,000 participants, including 67 ministries, and closed with the unanimous adoption of the Aichi-Nagoya Declaration. The Declaration calls for urgent action to mainstream ESD in the post-2015 development agenda and on all nations to implement the GAP on ESD. Prior to the Conference, the UE4SD partnership formally committed to the GAP through supporting the ESD professional development of university educators. The UE4SD launch commitment can be viewed here.

UE4SD’s presence and influence at the UNESCO Conference both served to raise our profile and inform international plans. Many members of the UE4SD Steering Group and partnership actively participated in presenting the project in various official workshops, including the higher education, monitoring & evaluation, agriculture & food security, biodiversity and 21st century competences ones. Indeed, our efforts were captured in the DESD Final Report launched at the Conference. The report specifically includes UE4SD as a case study in the higher education chapter. This is an important achievement to continue to profile our work internationally.

UE4SD was also promoted in various stakeholder meetings which took place in Japan before and after the UNESCO World Conference. Perhaps the most relevant ones were the GUPES Partnerships Forum and the Higher Education for Sustainable Development Conference that took place in Aichi-Nagoya on 8 and 9 November 2014 respectively. The first provided a platform to review progress of the UNEP university network community over the past several years, as well as identifying joint initiatives/partnerships in the implementation of the GAP. Prof Daniella Tilbury, UE4SD Project Director, was invited as keynote speaker and presented the UE4SD project aims and achievements. The second was organised by the United Nations University (UNU) and attended by over 700 delegates. Marking the final year of the DESD, it celebrated the achievements of various higher education initiatives throughout the Decade and reviewed commitments to make more profound contributions to ESD beyond 2014. The conference highlighted the major challenges and pathways for transforming universities with a focus on scaling up and mainstreaming innovative practices in learning and knowledge development and research. Many UE4SD members such as University of Siena (Italy), Vilnius University (Lithuania), University of Graz (Austria), Leuphana University of Lueneburg (Germany), Autonomous University of Madrid (Spain), Charles University (Czech Republic) or the University of Gloucestershire (UK) presented the UE4SD project in parallel sessions and presentations. This conference ended by unanimously adopting the Aichi-Nagoya Higher Education Declaration, which emphasises the role of universities in bringing about change for sustainability.

UE4SD partners met for the first time at the Annual Meeting and COPERNICUS Alliance Conference in October 2014

UE4SD partners from all four geographical regions - North, East, South and West - met for the first time at the UE4SD Project Partner Annual Meeting and Conference held during 2-3 October 2014 in Prague, Czech Republic. At the Annual Meeting, participants presented the results of the national mapping and discussed the regional reports. Future project steps were introduced and discussed during the meeting including the leading practice publication, the online platform for resources, the monitoring and evaluation process and the project’s communication strategies. The atmosphere of the meeting was very positive with many informal discussions and interactions taking place amongst partners.

The Annual Meeting was followed by the 2014 COPERNICUS Alliance Conference entitled Education for Sustainability: Building Capacity in Higher Education. This open event was held at Charles University in Prague and was attended by 120 participants from more than 30 countries. The event counted with a number of prominent keynote speakers from the UK, Germany, Czech Republic and Greece. The conference reviewed major trends and changes in higher education towards sustainability over the last ten years, with an emphasis on university educators’ needs and capabilities in ESD.

All materials from the conference, including photographs, videos of keynote speakers, powerpoint presentations and more are available here.

We hope that you enjoyed the dialogues and presentations and had an opportunity to discuss projects and experiences with other partners. We welcome your feedback to improve our future UE4SD events.

UE4SD Next Events

Save the date! 2015 UE4SD Annual Meeting and COPERNICUS Alliance Conference (Madrid, 23-24 November 2015) Date changed!!!

We are pleased to announce that the next UE4SD Annual Meeting and COPERNICUS Alliance Conference will be held on 23-24 November 2015 in Madrid, Spain.

Please note that the Steering Group has decided to change the dates for the meeting announced in our last newsletter in February. This is because we have recently learned of other international conferences taking place in October 2015, and we would like to ensure as much participation as possible from partners and external participants. We hope that this change does not cause you any inconvenience.

On 23 November, the meeting will be attended by UE4SD partners only and will be focused on presenting key project outputs and outcomes as well as discussing the development of an Academy for ESD in Higher Education. On 24 November, external participants will join us at the COPERNICUS Alliance Conference which will include presentations from renowned keynote speakers and opportunities for colleagues to present their work and research.

UE4SD Partners Tasks

Translations

We would like to remind partners that the translations of the second project press release and summary of the state of the art report were due before the Christmas break. If you haven’t done this, please could you send your translations to your regional partners as soon as possible.

Progress reports and claims

The next project reporting and financial deadline is on 27 February 2015. As communicated by email, this time we are combining two reporting periods in one in order to lower the administrative burden associated with the claims. This means that by 27 February you will need to submit to your regional coordinator two reports and two claims, one for the period April -October 2014 and another for the period November 2014-February 2015. This reporting period is extremely important as the interim report for the Commission is due in April. We would really appreciate your cooperation on this.

 

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