Rio+20 - Giving the education sector a powerful international voice

The role that tertiary education does, can and should play in sustainable development

Building a new alliance to enable The Future We Want - April 2014

We're now pleased to be reporting back from the Manifesto launch event (see below). Read what our ‘witnesses’ had to say and the changes we all want to see to get The Future We Want. This includes some of the aspirations, commitments and would like to meets shared during during the round table session.

Read the post event report 'Building a new alliance to enable The Future We Want'

Manifesto launch event - December 2013

This event saw the launch of the Manifest and was hosted by Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Select Committee at the House of Commons, London on Tuesday 17 December. The Manifesto (see below in 'downloads') will be an important stimulus document which has come about by a wide consultation of over 50 organisations.

The manifesto calls on Governments, education sectors, NGOs and civil society in the United Kingdom to work more closely together to strengthen the role of education as an enabler of Sustainable Development. Further, it calls for supporting mechanisms that governments and civil society should put in place to enable and strengthen UK delivery of the educational commitments agreed in The Future We Want.

Guests at the launch included Shadow Schools Minister Kevin Brennan MP and over 80 people from all aspects of education, including tertiary education bodies, environmental charities, business people, teachers, lots of school pupils and older students. The event saw mince pies, singing, whistles and more importantly, extensive dialogue about the Future We Want.

Implementing the Rio+20 Future We Want in UK Education

If you met Dr Joan Walley, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) what would you ask her? 

The EAUC Annual Conference 2013 hosted an important stage in the national consultation on Education in response to The Future We Want document from the Rio Earth Summit last year. Chair of the Government’s Watchdog The Environmental Audit Committee Joan Walley will contribute to a Roadmap to Action session on Thursday 18 April at 11am. For details click here. This was our opportunity to understand better the Governments policy thinking about sustainability and what the EAC is doing.

Following a Post Rio+20 consultation (November 2012) instigated and facilitated by EAUC in response to the education commitments in the Future We Want document, responses have been collected from the education sector, governmental agencies and NGOs. The interim summary of the consultation highlights synergies in views, but also differences in priorities and ambitions for ESD. (Click here for that summary paper.)

This session aims to instigate further dialogue and exploration of how different stakeholders could work together to strengthen learning for sustainability in the UK. The outcomes of prior consultation and this session will inform a manifesto aimed at the government and other stakeholders and will aim to contribute the development of the Sustainable Development Goals.

• For a copy of the Consultation Discussion paper click here
• For a copy of the Collated Responses click here
• For a copy of the Westminster University Workshop paper click here
• For a copy of the Westminster University Workshop Event Summary and delegate click here
• For a copy of the System Analyses of Responses paper click here

The Tertiary Education Collaboration for Sustainability have joined together to develop a mechanism for the worldwide tertiary education community to collectively inform the delegates of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 (UNCSD). Our vision and views were compiled and presented to Earth Summit delegates in June 2012.

We were also delighted that Harriet Sjerps-Jones (EAUC Board Member) represented the EAUC and the University of Exeter (the sponsor of the trip) at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. Harriet is one of the editors of the Rio+20 Treaty on Sustainable Development in Higher Education. This treaty aims to provide a frame work for collaborative efforts to transform the sector towards sustainable development.

The collaboration held a side event at the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June. The full title of the side event is ‘Aiming higher, unlocking tertiary education's potential to accelerate sustainable development and the transition to a fair and green economy’ and it is endorsed and supported by UNESCO.

This is a fantastic achievement for the collaboration and will really help to raise the profile and the role of tertiary education in sustainable development and the transition to a green economy on the international stage. As the EAUC has been saying for years, the further and higher education sector has a critical role to play in environmental and sustainability issues, not least by leading the way in technology, being amongst the first to embrace new sustainability initiatives and, of course, by influencing students.

The Future We Want - November 2012 event

The EAUC brought together organisations and the Government following the strong educational commitments resulting from Rio+20. The EAUC facilitated an event, on 14 November at the University of Westminster, which aimed to engage influential stakeholders from the education community in discussion around how this important agenda could be taken forward and how NGOs, Government and Agencies can work together to accelerate constructive change for sustainability through formal and informal education. Find out more about the event.

Keeping Rio alive

There are lots of ways to keep up to date on Rio:

►Harriet Sjerps-Jones spent a week at the Earth Summit in Rio contributing to negotiations, co-hosting a UN Side Event and participating in the Sustainable Development Dialogues. In this report she reflects on the outcomes of the Summit and the opportunities for the sector following from the Future We Want output document and collaborative initiatives. Read Harriet's report

►You can also read the collective outcome of our side event from the Tertiary Education Collaboration for Sustainability. 

►View the Guardian's Rio+20 Earth Summit site for news, blogs and updates.

International collaboration
As well as the EAUC, the collaboration includes:

• Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (USA, Canada)
• Australasian Campuses Towards Sustainability
• Copernicus Alliance (Europe)
• Fondaterra – Fondation Européenne pour des Territoires Durables (France)
• Global University Network for Innovation (International)
• Korean Association for Green Campus Initiative (Korea)
• Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research network (Asia)
• China Green University Network (China)
• United Nations Environment Programme – Environmental Education and Training Unit (International)
• Global Responsibility Leadership Initiative (International)
• Conference des Grandes Ecoles (France)
• Conference des Presidents d’Universite (France)

Higher Education Sustainability Initiative 

The EAUC is delighted to announce that it has officially endorsed the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative for Rio+20.

As part of Rio+20, leaders of the international academic community are being called upon to commit to the development of sustainable practices for Higher Education Institutions. In line with the EAUC's rising international profile and as a result of our  continued  international collaboration with other tertiary education sector bodies around the world, the EAUC was invited and has agreed to officially endorse the declaration below.

Find out if your institution has signed up to the initiative.

Consultation: tertiary education at Rio +20

Two documents were offered as a framework and stimulus to the discussion that will feed into the conference.

The first document, Framework for Discussing the Role of Tertiary Education in Sustainable Development at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is based on the UNCSD request for input to the Compilation document and uses that framework to solicit and collect input into a collection that will shape the document to be provided on behalf of the represented tertiary education community.

The second document, Why the Critical Role of Tertiary Education Institutions to Global Sustainable Development Must Be Central to the Rio+20 Discussion, is intended to stimulate discussion and critique regarding the role of tertiary education in sustainable development with the intent of producing a set of arguments to support that role. A statement of this sort will be needed to convince delegates that tertiary education should be included in the Earth Summit Outcomes document.

Your voice
For a two week period in October 2011, we collected EAUC Members' views on the above documents in order to put forward our collective vision and views. The survey is now closed, thank you to everyone who submitted their views. The final EAUC response, aggregated with AASHE, ACTS, GUNi and KAGCI is published below. 

All Rio news

Post Rio+20- What is the future of education for sustainability in the UK?

The Future of Education for Sustainable Development in the UK

News from Rio

Join the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Dialogues

Rio+20 – One month to go!

Rio+20 EAUC side event confirmed!

HEI sustainability initative for Rio+20 declaration

EAUC endorses the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative for Rio+20

International partnership for Rio+20


Giving EAUC Members a voice
Giving EAUC Members a voice