Our Background

Members of the Platform first came together in the preparation for the 2012 Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro. Our contribution to the Earth Summit process was successful with the Summit Output Document, "The Future We Want", comprising 6 strong education and sustainability paragraphs*.

This Platform is part of our response to "The Future We Want" document and in time we seek UN support and recognition.

Education has always been a key element of Sustainable Development (access to education for all is a deep-rooted challenge for UNESCO) and of course we have the Decade of ESD also lead by UNESCO.

For the last few years civil society has started to relook and question the role and value of Higher Education. To face this challenge, UN bodies have launched different useful initiatives for HEIs:
- Global compact with Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME)
- UNU with the global network of ESD Regional Centres of Expertise, and
- UNEP with the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES). Click here for UN Resources.

On the other hand, the HE community has organised itself with organisations such as AASHE and EAUC being formed and policy leads from leadership bodies such as CGE/CPU in France. All of this has contributed to a large range of projects in the sector all over the world. In many Universities launched research chairs, Sustainability Directors, dedicated programs, green campus initiatives etc.

Howerer, in The Future We Want, Institutions are being asked to go beyond programs dedicated to sustainable development, to extend sustainable development throughout general curricula and programs. Three other key points, include the importance of professional training, faculty development, and the necessity of leading by example by implementing green and social policies on our campuses.

Rio+ 20 was a catalyst, a wonderful moment of collaboration between a broad array of stakeholders, punctuated by the launch of numerous initiatives and commitments by individual and groups.

A recurring theme coming out of Rio+20 was the value of institution wide sustainability performance reporting and improvement, we believe there is much to be gained by creating a learning platform. By doing so we hope to:
- Promote the value of Sustainability Assessment and Performance Improvement Tools and other resources
- Provide a  framework for wordwide collaboration and linkeage
- Communicate with and learn from each other better,
-  Provide a platform to inform national debates and activity and influence national and international policy and practice.

* We acknowledge the importance of corporate sustainability reporting and encourage […] to consider integrating sustainability information into their reporting cycle. We encourage  […] to develop models for best practice and facilitate action for the integration of sustainability reporting, taking into account experiences from already existing frameworks  […] .