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The staff members from the Charles University Environment Center attended the 6th Regional Centre for Expertise World Conference in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, from 20-23 November 2011.
The conference was hosted by the RCE Rhine-Meuse and sponsored by the Japanese government through the United Nations University-Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS). The Conference programme included discussion, news, and the sharing of good practices, as well as real working ESD practice. Above all the Conference offered a thorough look at and an understanding of the way ESD is best organized and made operational.
Following the official welcome on Sunday, 20 November, the work of the conference began on Monday morning with an overview of RCE community progress since the founding of the first RCEs in 2006. CUEC staff participated in a break-out session on the work of European RCEs and pointed out the gap in the European RCE map in Eastern European and the need for the mentoring of new RCEs in that part of the world. The CUEC, representing the candidate Czech RCE proposed to set up the first RCE behind the former Iron Curtain outside Russia and thereafter provide a model for Eastern European countries.
The afternoon sessions focused on operating RCE regional alliances, the value of a global alliance, strategies for implementing the RCE vision, and a strategy for RCE capacity development.
Tuesday morning was dedicated to a range of themes, with CUEC staff particpating in the session focusing on the relevance and role of higher education within RCEs. This session heard a presentation from Professor Geoff Scott from RCE Western Sydney on an initiative called Turnaround Leadership for ESD in Higher Education in
which the CUEC has volunteered to participate and which has expressed interest in using the eventual results for application in Central and Eastern Europe. In the afternoon sessions, CUEC staff participated in ESD-based school and teaching, and climate change and disaster reduction.
The morning of the final day was dominated by a World Cafe on 'defining products' (e.g. research), 'alliances
and communication' and 'marketing and funding'.
This was followed by a panel discussion on the RCE Road Map toward 2014. The conference ended with a visit to a local cinema facility where short film presentations on aspects of sustainability were screened for conference participants, as well as discussions with children from local schools, and short talks by local entrepreneurs, e.g. on the concept of 'cradle-to-cradle' products.
Jiří Dlouhý remained in Kerkrade for another two days to participate in a meeting of the COPERNICUS Alliance of higher education institutions for ESD.