Global RCE Network

The Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) are multi-sector networks of organizations that support formal, non-formal and informal sustainability education efforts in local and regional communities. They create a knowledge base to support stakeholders and sustainability providers and promote four major goals: collaborative partnerships and governance; projects and programs; transformative education; and research and development.

A network of RCEs worldwide constitute a Global Learning Space, offering innovative platforms to share knowledge, expertise, and best practices and to promote dialogue on sustainable development efforts and initiatives. As of 2018, there are 164 RCEs around the world, as acknowledged by the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) and supported by the RCE Service Centre, in Tokyo, Japan.

RCE Vision

RCEs aspire to translate global objectives into their local communities. Upon the completion of the Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) in 2014, RCEs are asked to generate, accelerate, and mainstream ESD by implementing the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD and help implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

RCE Mission

International platforms exist to tackle sustainability challenges. The RCE Service Centre has
identified the following priorities: the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
; the 10 Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP on SCP); and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

RCEs are uniquely placed to help create solutions to these sustainability challenges and more.
They are influential policy advocates and help prepare local leaders and community members
with the tools and information they need to make smart and sustainable choices for themselves
and their communities. RCE efforts encourage innovative approaches to sustainable development
and translate existing knowledge into concrete actions. The success each RCE achieves on the
local level is brought to scale through the global RCE Network.

Global Action Programme on ESD

To build on achievements and create new momentum on the DESD, UNESCO developed
the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD.
As a follow-up to the Decade, the GAP was designed to create concrete, tangible contributions
to Agenda 2030 and the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

Priority Action Areas

The Global Action Programme comes with a detailed implementation Roadmap which has five
Priority Action Areas:

  • 1) Advancing policy: Mainstream ESD
  • 2) Transforming learning and training environments: Whole-Institution Approach
  • 3) Building capacities of educators and trainers
  • 4) Empowering and mobilizing youth
  • 5) Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level

ESD Resources

The UNESCO Decade on ESD Final Report: Shaping the Future We Want was launched at the 2014 World Conference on ESD. This report assesses the growth of ESD throughout the Decade, features lessons learned, and draws conclusions for future actions on ESD. At the conclusion of the latest World Conference on ESD, the ‘Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development was adopted, calling for urgent action to further strengthen and scale up ESD and inviting governments of UNESCO Member States to make further efforts towards achieving the goals of ESD. The United States submitted the following to UNESCO, in December 2015:

ESD Implementation Recommendations for the U.S.
ESD in the United States Report

Additional resources:

Video: Shaping the Future We Want

Video: ESD: Children Speak Up!

Education for Sustainability Networks


The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) empowers higher education faculty, administrators, staff and students to be effective change agents and drivers of sustainability innovation and enables its nearly 1,000 members to translate information into action by offering essential resources and professional development to a diverse, engaged community of sustainability leaders.

US Partnership for ESD

The U.S. Partnership for ESD consists of individuals, organizations and institutions in the United States dedicated to education for sustainable development (ESD). It acts as a convener, catalyst, and communicator working across all sectors of American society.


The Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC)
is a strong alliance of universities and colleges, sector bodies and commercial organisations, working together both in the UK and internationally. We stand strong individually, but we make a far stronger impact when we work together. Education has a huge role to play but we need to drive next generation leadership to address next generation sustainability. We need to look wider, internationally, globally, to business and to the next leaders: students.

One Planet Education Networks

One Planet Education Networks (OPEN) strives to transform our economic model, understanding that it is a subsystem of a finite natural system. We need to rethink how we do business to reconsider its role in society and create new business models and partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders in order to solve problems bigger than any one organisation. This will require a dramatic shift in the business environment – including policy and regulations – but also in mindsets and values and above all, learning to innovate collaboratively like we have never done before. OPEN exists to accelerate this transition by working with educators, learners and employers to close the execution gap between ambition and performance.