Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has announced the first winners of the UNESCO-Japan Prize for outstanding projects related to ESD.
Asociación SERES (Guatemala and El Salvador)
~ awarded for its “SERES ESD Youth Ambassadors” initiative, which uses an imaginative approach in its application of ESD. The project certifies youth ambassadors to train other young people to become facilitators of established sustainability programmes that build community resilience to climate change. It thus inspires and activates youth leadership for more sustainable lifestyles through individual and collective actions.
The Centre for Development of Early Childhood, Non-Formal and Informal Education (Bandung, Indonesia)
~ awarded for its “Eco Friendly Entrepreneurship for Youths and Adults” project, which takes an innovative and committed approach to the development of entrepreneurial skills and local engagement in sustainability. It encourages people between the ages of 18 and 45 to work with their local community to harness local traditions and resources and to create their own products with recycled material. The project preserves local culture and the environment while initiating rural business and stimulating competitiveness through active pedagogies.
~ awarded for its “Green Office Model” initiative, which trains young people as transformation agents to foster a whole-institution approach towards ESD. Its main actors are university students who form Green Offices as a team with both teaching and administrative staff of their institution. They learn to run their own activities, such as waste recycling, energy efficiency and sustainable catering, while raising their own funding. Green Offices have already been established in six European countries.
The last of these is very like the work that the NUS does here which was also nominated for a prize. Could be the Germans won because their work has already reached other countries – including the UK. I'm told that you can find the Green Office model at both Exeter and Greenwich; ironically enough, developments that were funded through the NUS.
Meanwhile, I note the politically-correct distribution of prizes: Asia, the Americas, Europe. Did they forget about Africa, do you think? Or is there no decent ESD there – hard to imagine. However, I suppose we mustn't begrudge the Germans their €50k prize as, with the VW scandal, they will need all the cash and good publicity they can get their hands on.