On 1-2 February 2020, a meeting in Kobe, Japan brought together 25 young participants to discuss youth activities and networks on education for sustainable development (ESD). The Japanese RCE Youth Meeting was organised as part of the UNU-IAS initiative Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCEs), a global multi-stakeholder network of organisations promoting ESD. The meeting was hosted by RCE Hyogo-Kobe and included a field visit and workshop, with participants from seven Japanese RCEs, the Ministry of the Environment of Japan (MOEJ), and UNU-IAS. It discussed how to develop the Japanese RCE youth network and the future direction of RCE youth activities.
On the first day, participants presented their backgrounds and experience in relation to ESD and shared possible ideas for promoting ESD activities. Following a team-building session, small group discussions took place and each group created a project proposal for promoting ESD at the local level. The meeting was held in parallel with an RCE Working-level Meeting and a Forum on “Perspectives of Future RCE Activities”, which was also hosted by RCE Hyogo-Kobe.
On the second day, young participants together with some RCE members conducted field visits to learn from selected local ESD activities of RCE Hyogo-Kobe, including a reconstruction site built after the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquakes, a Satoyama area and small river site, and a bakery shop operated by disabled employees.
In the afternoon, participants convened a World Café-style group discussion on future perspectives of the ESD activities of RCEs. The discussion considered how RCEs could more actively involve youth and develop innovative ideas, in collaboration with other RCEs within Japan and abroad, taking into account current developments related to ESD and the SDGs.
In the final session, participants discussed and explored next steps, including how to share respective RCE youth activities with others, how to develop RCE youth networks after the meeting (including the use of social media), and how they could learn from each other and improve their own activities.
The discussions that took place at this meeting are expected to lead to RCE youth activities that will be further elaborated at the next meeting.
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The RCE initiative is part of the UNU-IAS project Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The ESD project seeks to generate, accelerate, and mainstream education on sustainable development, by accelerating local and regional solutions to sustainability issues through education and training.