Education for sustainable development: Moving forward

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero Ballescas (The Freeman) - March 7, 2015 - 12:00am

About 135 Regional Centers of Expertise (RCEs) have been accredited by the United Nations University – Institute for Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) throughout various regions of the world within the UN declared Decade of  Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) from 2005-2015. 

More than a hundred local and foreign delegates gathered yesterday in the spacious, beautiful, and comfortable Arts and Sciences Conference Hall of the University of the Philippines (UP Cebu) for the 8th Asia Pacific (AP) RCE Conference with the theme "Beyond 2015: Moving Forward." The event was coordinated by RCE-Cebu in collaboration with UP Cebu, Cebu Province, Cebu City, RAFI, Environmental Management Bureau, Foundation of Philippine Environment, Cebu Holdings, University of Cebu and the Cebu Academe Network.

Professor Mario Tabucanon and Ms. Sachiko Yasuda of the UNU-IAS briefed the delegates about the progress of the RCE movements. Mr. Masaaki Nagareo of RCE Okayama discussed the outcomes of the stakeholders' meeting held in Okayama in 2014 while certain delegates (like Won Jung Byun of RCE-Tongyeong and Doctor Munirah Ghazali and Ingrid of RCE Penang) shared about the achievements of their RCEs, including collaborative projects among AP RCEs. RCE-Cebu Coordinator, former San Francisco Camotes mayor Al Arquillano also shared about the Camotes Model: Eco-concerns, DRR, and Purok Initiatives while Dr. Jonnifer Sinogaya and Dr. Judith Silapan shared about the LIDAR project of UP Cebu. 

The delegates were warmly welcomed by Cebu City councilor and environment champion, Honorable Nida Cabrera, and by the very supportive UP Cebu Dean, lawyer Liza Corro. Despite his tight schedule, Mayor Mike Rama also expressed his warm welcome and the commitment of Cebu City to sustainable development and the valuable role of education for a better city. Foreign delegates were very happy to see a very youthful, energetic city mayor lending his support, together with other top officials in government and the academe, for ESD in Cebu.

The delegates later joined various sessions that focused on a review of activities for 2014 and future planning for upscaling RCE activities locally and globally that could contribute to Global Action Program (GAP) on ESD.

The conference ended with a proposed draft and a declaration containing suggestions for Global Action Program for RCEs and the UNU-IAS, which would be more thoroughly discussed and decided on at the next RCE-AP session scheduled March 7 in Tagbilaran City back to back with the 6th International Conference on Environmental and Rural Development hosted by RCE-Bohol.

Cebu Governor Hilario Davide III, who sadly could not join the delegates as he was still in Tuburan, hosted a happy evening of food, dances, and songs at the Social Hall of the Provincial Capitol. Thank you to Baltz Tribulano, who warmly entertained the delegates in behalf of the governor.

The very productive RCE-Cebu hosted AP Conference would not have been possible without the active support of Dean Liza Corro of UP Cebu and the rest of the UP Cebu technical working group: Engineer Albert Bascon, Jeremias Bajada, Jefre Arong, Professors Januar Yap, Lilio Tio, the PIO staff, Grace Mendez, Zeny Tabucanon, Edelord Sambrano, Julie Nieva, Solita Virtudazo, and students Celestine Dionisio, Mary Grace Binarao, Josefina Carmen Roa, Clark Alda, Joyce Jane Borres, Hatchlee Pasadoble, Justine Villarante and Farrah Baanio, Ms. Rodil and the UP Cebu Serenata and UP Cebu Cultural Dance Group.

Special mention has to be made about the very active role of Ms. Annie Manzano of UP Cebu for the successful conference! It was also very reassuring to see the supportive presence of security officers: PO1 Darwin Cempron, PO1 Bryan Coyogue and UP Cebu Sg. Ariel Arrabis and Sg. Ronelo Pastidio.

Congratulations to RCE-Cebu led by Sir Al Arquillano, Annie Manzano, Architect Socorro Atega, SWU Professor Huberto Zanoria, UP Professors Rhodora Bucoy, Ian Manticajon, Weena Gerra, and many more, including all the foreign and local delegates who deserve so much gratitude and appreciation for a very successful, productive Asia Pacific RCE Conference–the first ever in the Philippines!





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