International Conference on Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Higher Education Beyond 2014
Without doubt, and since the beginning of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD: 2005-2014), higher education is one of the key sectors in charge of the implementation of education for sustainable development; it has seen many inspiring initiatives, networks, and practices being developed over time. With its long history of influencing the development of science and society as well as policy, higher education has a significant role to play in shaping and providing knowledge and learning for today and tomorrow. Ongoing efforts by higher education institutions (HEIs) from around the world to rethink and redesign systems of knowledge must be understood in the context of accelerating environmental, demographic, and geopolitical changes - including associated risks and disasters - as well as new social dynamics and technological advancements that are fundamentally reshaping the ways in which we create and relate to knowledge.
Marking the final year of the DESD, the International Conference on Higher Education for Sustainable Development: Higher Education beyond 2014 will celebrate achievements and review initiatives that have been developed throughout the DESD and, more specifically, since Rio+20. This Conference offers a good opportunity for individual HEIs and higher education networks review commitments, set new goals and develop new strategic partnerships as required. Alignment will be sought between HEIs actions and initiatives and other follow-up activities to the Decade, including the Sustainable Development Goals and the Post 2015 Development agenda; the key role of higher education has to continue to play to achieve sustainable development will be stressed forcefully.
The Conference will balance the celebration of deserving innovations in the field of higher education with further demands for HEIs to make more profound contributions to achieving sustainable development through transformative changes in the vision, leadership, knowledge structure, in relation to other systems of knowledge, and engagement with significant stakeholders. The Conference will highlight the major challenges HEIs face in up-scaling and mainstreaming new and innovative practices in learning and knowledge development, and in creating a conducive environment for supporting required transformative processes.
Since the UNESCO World Conference on ESD will be held in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, from 10 to 12 November 2014, the Conference will be organized in Nagoya immediately before this major event. It is aiming at making a concrete contribution to the UNESCO World Conference on ESD from the perspective of the HEIs. It also follows up on the engagement of HEIs with the Rio+20 Conference recommendations and initiatives, including the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) facilitated by UN partner organizations and other partner institutions.