Hosted by Western Sydney University, the RCE Greater Western Sydney network has been building collaborative place-based, partner-led programs and initiatives for 10-years to accelerate and mainstream ESD in our region.
Coordinated by the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) at the global level, Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) are multi-stakeholder networks of existing formal, non-formal and informal organisations working together to facilitate ESD learning and action in a local setting (UNU-IAS, 2021).
RCE Greater Western Sydney (RCE-GWS), auspiced and hosted by Western Sydney University, is situated in one of Australia’s most rapidly growing regions in Australia facing many social, cultural, economic and ecological sustainability challenges. As an anchor institution in the region the University brought together key partners to strategically link, leverage and strengthen work that was already happening in parallel. Endorsed by the UNU-IAS in 2011, RCE-GWS network has built collaborative and innovative place-based programs and initiatives for 10-years. Our 23 external partners include the region’s educational institutions, non-government/non-profit organisations, school networks, community groups, local government, and government agencies. Our initiatives are developed by our partners in collaboration with each other and focused on formal and informal education for school students, university students and community members. These initiatives are a combination of in-kind, internally and externally funded collaborations, ranging from professional development days for teachers to larger scale whole of region engagement programs. Our aim is to educate and empower local people to take action in their local places.
Our strategy for implementation has been to collectively work to address our regional challenges identified as a network to deliver local impact. Since the launch of the global SDG 2030 agenda our areas of focus have been realigned to the global goals. Our current collaborate initiatives fit under three thematics and are underpinned by the cross cutting SDG 4 and 17:
- Urban Heat and Climate Action (SDG 7, 11 and 13),
- Food Justice and Sustainable Agriculture (SDG 2 and 12), and
- Urban Biodiversity and Riparian and River Health (SDG 6, 14 and 15).
The RCE-GWS network is embedded in our institutional educational commitment to the SDGs. RCE-GWS is one of 179 RCEs globally and is part of the global learning space for SDGs.