RCE Wales Acknowledgement: News Release

NEWS RELEASE

One Wales: One Planet: Wales receives global recognition of sustainability expertise

Wales has gained formal international recognition for its expertise in advancing Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC).

‘RCE Wales’, to be launched on 1 February 2010, will formally recognise Wales’ expertise in education for sustainability.

The venture is the result of a successful application prepared by Swansea University and the University of Wales, Newport and has benefited from sustained support from the Welsh Assembly Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. Input via public consultations and from a Steering Group drawn from ESDGC professionals from across Wales have also proved invaluable to RCE Wales’ success.

The formal recognition of RCE Wales from the United Nations University means that Wales takes its place alongside other recognised RCEs currently making up a global network of RCEs for ESDGC.

RCE Wales is set to become a significant player in building an educational legacy that will outlive the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) under which programme it was launched.

The establishment of RCE Wales will help ESDGC players across Wales to research, develop and promote high quality ESDGC and to increase its uptake and impact.

The initiative will help to ensure a more sustainable future for the people and environment of Wales and beyond, and ensure a legacy that will help to achieve a vibrant and secure Wales that lives within its means using only its share of the earth’s resources.

The global network to which RCE Wales now belongs will enable stakeholders to extend their reach and to bring into Wales more easily, relevant expertise from around the world.

RCE Wales will serve as a focal point, facilitating coordination and increasing the impact of efforts of the individuals and organisations throughout Wales who are working voluntarily and professionally for sustainability aims, including further and higher-education institutions; schools; non-governmental organisations; private businesses and local authorities.

RCE Wales benefits from the support of the Welsh Assembly Government in tackling the complex issues involved and understanding the essential role of ESDGC in achieving the changes necessary to create a sustainable Wales.

RCE Wales is also keen to assist anyone looking for ESDGC-related information to locate appropriate sources and expertise.

Swansea University is to be the base for the Secretariat of the RCE. Professor Iwan Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (External Affairs and Internationalisation) and ESDGC Champion at Swansea University said: “I am delighted to share in the excitement as Wales joins an internationally-recognised global community of educators for sustainable development and global citizenship following formal recognition of RCE Wales.

“I am proud that Swansea University played an instrumental role in achieving ‘Regional Centre of Expertise for ESDGC’ status for Wales, and that the University’s active involvement and support will continue as we host the permanent Secretariat for RCE Wales.

“I appreciate the important and growing role that ESDGC plays, for example, in our own internationalisation agenda. And I look forward to the additional opportunities for professionals and private citizens in Wales that RCE Wales brings, as we all seek to understand what ‘sustainable development’ means and how we in Wales can best contribute to it. Swansea University is pleased to be part of such an essential educational endeavour.”

Dr David Skydmore, Project Director at Glyndŵr University Northop, and a member of the steering group which helped to prepare the RCE application, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to support such an exciting venture which will help Wales tap into expertise on education for sustainable development from across the world. Glyndŵr University is continuing to make great strides in its own education for sustainable development programme and as a member of the RCE Wales network will be able to press ahead further. This will help us to forge vital links with other universities and professionals with an interest in ESDGC. RCE Wales exhibits to an international audience the quality of education being provided throughout the country into issues of sustainability and global citizenship.”

Jon Grufffydd, stakeholder in the initiative from RSPB Cymru said: “RCE Wales will help us to inspire children and adults alike to learn about the environment and biodiversity.  Our field teaching programmes and outdoor activities incorporate Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship and are designed to develop people's understanding of nature and encourage them to develop more sustainable lifestyles.  This will in turn enable them to help care for and conserve wildlife and the environment.' 

“Professor Philip Gummett, Chief Executive of HEFCW, said: “This is an important example of how the higher education sector  through working in collaboration, can provide both the expertise and the support to achieve international recognition of the work being done throughout Wales on sustainability, and reinforce the Welsh Assembly Government’s commitment to sustainable development. “

Julie Bromilow, Education Officer at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth said: “This is a much needed opportunity. We hope that RCE Wales will act as a ‘dating agency’ between research institutes and subject specialist solutions-based organisations like our own, to help us further develop rigorous evaluation and delivery of ESD that has maximum effectiveness.”

We want to hear from you!

RCE Wales is permanently open to newcomers who are actively interested in researching, developing or promoting ESDGC. RCE Wales is stakeholder-led, and its success will depend on the active participation of stakeholders. You can get in touch via the contact details given below, to seek information, to give information, to contribute your expertise to the RCE Wales newsletter and to be added to the RCE Wales circulation for policy and practical information relevant to ESDGC practitioners in Wales. Put your expertise to work more widely, and help us to make sure that Wales becomes known around the world for the quality and impact of its ESDGC!

RCE Wales contact details:

RCE Wales Secretariat

Margam Building

Swansea University

Singleton Park

Swansea

SA2 8PP

Tel: 01792 602029 / 01792 602654 / 01792 602655 / Email: rcewales@swansea.ac.uk

 

ENDS

 

Notes for Editors:

 

1. ‘ESDGC’ (Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship) is used in Wales as our (formalized) equivalent to the more usual ‘ESD’ (Education for Sustainable Development), and is considered equivalent to ‘ESD’ as used in connection with the UN Decade for ESD. In Wales, we choose to add ‘GC’ to the acronym to make explicit the social and global dimensions inherent in ESD[GC], to avoid narrower interpretations which thereby lose some critical aspects of meaning.

 

2. More information about RCEs, including a full list of those recognised, is available from the UN University website at http://www.ias.unu.edu/sub_page.aspx?catID=108&ddlID=183, or by emailing rcewales@swansea.ac.uk

 

3. 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 communities in which they operate. See hyperlink above.

 

4. Swansea University prepared the RCE Wales application, with support from the University of Wales, Newport and a steering group of ESDGC professionals from the Centre for Alternative Technology, Cynnal Cymru, Glyndŵr University, Keep Wales Tidy, RSPB, Swansea University, UNESCO Cymru and the University of Wales Newport, with the Welsh Assembly Government (DCELLS) and HEFCW attending as observers.

 

5. The Secretariat of the RCE will be hosted by Swansea University and provided by the University’s ESDGC team. Around the world, Higher Education and Research Institutes lead and facilitate RCEs.

 

6. The Welsh Assembly Government’s statutory Sustainable Development Scheme, One Wales: One Planet, contains its position on ESDGC, which is developed further in targeted, sectoral terms within its ESDGC Strategic Action Plan, currently under review, with a fresh edition expected in the first half of 2010. The documents can be found, respectively, at

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/sustainabledevelopment/publications/onewalesoneplanet/?lang=en

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/sustainabledevelopment/?lang=cy

http://wales.gov.uk/dcells/publications/policy_strategy_and_planning/sustainabledevelopment/educationforstainabledevjan08/0552008education-e.pdf?lang=en

http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/policy_strategy_and_planning/sustainabledevelop/updates/?skip=1&lang=cy

 

7. The ‘Region’ covered by RCE Wales is the whole of Wales.

 

8. RCE Wales is fully inclusive. Stakeholders include educators, researchers, community groups, local government officers, volunteers, businesses and the media; indeed everyone who is active in building a sustainable future through education.

 

9. The benefits of participating in RCE Wales include:

  • Access to sources for up-to-date ESDGC news, information and specialist sources of support

  • Easier and wider access to ESDGC expertise in Wales and the UK

  • Easier access to international ESDGC professionals and their networks (there are currently 74 RCEs around the world, including RCE Wales)

  • Help with identifying experienced partners to assist with your ESDGC project/activity or research

  • A more extensive knowledge of potential funding sources for ESDGC work

  • Opportunities to participate in research relevant to your ESDGC work

  • Opportunities to increase the visibility of your own ESDGC expertise and activities

  • Awareness of a wider range of opportunities for engagement with ESDGC

 

  • Swansea University is a world-class, research-led university situated in stunning parkland overlooking Swansea Bay on the edge of the Gower peninsula, the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  Founded in 1920, the University now offers around 500 undergraduate courses and 150 postgraduate courses to more than 13,800 students.

 

For more information please contact Mari Hooson, Swansea University Public Relations Office, on 01792 513455 or email m.hooson@swansea.ac.uk.