Next steps in forming a Czech RCE

As a result of the recent REC seminar held in Usti nad Labem, it has been decided to begin the process of individual stakeholder meetings to form a Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development. The Charles University Environment Center, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University and the Society for Sustainable Living will form the core group of RCE initiators. COZP will take responsibility for drafting the formal application to gain recognition from the United Nations University as an RCE. The application will be submitted to the UNU by 4 June 2012.

What is an RCE? To reiterate, it is a grouping or network of regional actors from various sectors, e.g. higher education, non-governmental organisations, regional government, schools, etc, which share a common vision of how to provide education and learning that will help to ensure a more environmentally, economically and socially sustainable future for its region. It utilises the various complementary skills and experience of its various members to work on projects targeted at ameliorating specific sustainability problems in the region.

What the RCE is not. The RCE will not be a talking shop only, and it will not propose grand ideas that have little or no application in the real world. It will concentrate on practical ideas only that involve the people of the region, and that have real, concrete and visible outcomes with demonstrable impact on the accumulation of knowledge and understanding of sustainability issues.

What is the specific RCE proposal? We propose to establish an RCE focusing on the Usti nad Labem region. The RCE will bring together partners from that region or with a commitment to the region. They will pool their resources to cooperate on existing activities that benefit education for sustainability in the region, or collaborate on developing new activities and project proposals.

What types of activities will the RCE focus on? For example, COZP currently operates a summer school for Czech and international students in the Ore Mountains. This can form the initial basis for cooperation among the RCE partners – to contribute to wider understanding of the sustainability issues of the region and working with the local population to propose solutions. Other future projects may include establishing an electronic Open Education Resource containing sustainability case studies from the Usti region that can be used as learning aids for schools and universities both in the Usti region and throughout the Czech Republic. Another potential future project is research into participatory processes in the region and subsequent establishment of a participatory platform to enhance democratic decision-making processes in the region. RCE partners will invariably contribute other ideas on how to strengthen regional sustainability in a practical manner.

What is expected of RCE partners? Partners are not expected to contribute money! Neither will they be expected to contribute much in the way of human resources in the beginning. Interested parties need only become involved in the exchange of ideas and contribute their existing knowledge and information about current activities. COZP will do the lion’s share of developing the RCE proposal for submission to the UNU. If the application is successful – we will find out by September 2012 – we can then begin to collaborate on specific projects.

COZP and UJEP will soon begin to contact actors from the region to arrange individual meetings to discuss their interest in joining the RCE. If you wish to be part of this process, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.n.