United Nations Decade of
Education for Sustainable Development
University Programme
Mainstreaming Environment and
Sustainability in African Universities
“To provide leadership and encourage partnership in
caring for the environment by inspiring, informing,
and enabling nations and peoples to improve their
quality of life without compromising that of future
generations.” (UNEP’s mission)
“The overall goal of the UN Decade of Education for
Sustainable Development (DESD) is to integrate the
values inherent in sustainable development into all
aspects of learning to encourage changes in
behavior that allow for a more sustainable and just
society for all.” (UNESCO,06)
MESA University Programme
to enhance the quality and policy relevance of
university education in Africa in the context of
sustainable development and the achievement of the
Millennium Development Goals.
to offer unprecedented opportunities for collaborative
projects between universities, civil society /
communities and the private sector
MESA & DESD Strategies
Building Vision and Advocacy
Consultation and Ownership
Partnership and Networks
Capacity-Building and Training
Research and Innovation
Use of Information and Communication Technologies
– ICTs
Monitoring and Evaluation
On the African continent there are over 351 public and
private institutions of higher education, educating
thousands of young men and women
These bright young students
> are Africa’s future!
> play a significant role in whether the DESD
becomes a success and MDG’s will be achieved
Background (2)
UNEP and its partners developed the MESA university
To support a process for sustainability in African
With special focus on Africa
As contribution to the DESD
Priorities results to be achieved
as in MDG’s, DESD, the Bali Strategic Plan and NEPAD
Enhancement of institutional capacities in Africa
Mainstream environment & sustainability learning and
research in university education and university life
Strengthen the network amongst African universities
and other stakeholders in ESD
Promote leadership on sustainable development
Priorities results to be achieved (2)
as in MDG’s, DESD, the Bali Strategic Plan and NEPAD
Making universities more relevant to the communities
that surround them
Increase awareness on ESD in these communities
Trigger initiative & innovation
Trigger the sense of feeling that both small and large
initiatives can make a difference
Priorities results to be achieved (3)
as in MDG’s, DESD, the Bali Strategic Plan and NEPAD
Voice of students in ESD decision-making is seen as
The private sector is expected to share its experiences
and give opportunities to students
Target stakeholders
Partner institutions
university management (including government)
teaching staff
administrative staff
Private actors, companies and communities
Partner Institutions
African Universities
South African Development Commission Regional Environmental Program
Nile Transboundary Environmental Project (NBI-NTEAP)
Association of African Universities (AAU)
Global virtual University (GVU)
Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership (GHESP)
United Nations University (UNU) Online learning (Tokyo)
International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC)
New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
Africa Integrated Environmental Assessment and Reporting Network (AFINET)
African Network for Agro-Forestry Education (ANAFE)
Environic Foundation International (EFI)
Global Student Leadership Programme (GLS)
UNU – Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (INRA)
Pre project Planning Phase (1)
Baseline Study on African Universities
Pre project planning meetings:
Finalize course dates and location
Participant selection
Define responsibilities and personnel
Identify collaborating institutions
Identify private sector actors
Course promotional material
Activities (2)
Phase 2
University Leaders Seminar (1)
Educate the Educators Seminar (1)
Leadership Training for Students Seminar (1)
Development of:
online support material
communications channels
Monitor build up of National Committees
Activities (3)
Phase 3
Intensive workshops (1)
Implementation of
Curricula, committee, projects
Activities (4)
Phase 4
Monitoring session
Evaluation and Improvement
Rotational Chair on ESD innovations
Students Award
International Conference
Activities (5)
Phase 5
University Leaders Seminar (2)
Educate the Educators Seminar (2)
Leadership Training for Students Seminar (2)
Intensive workshops (2) with manual
Implementation of
Curricula, committee, projects
Monitor build up of National Committees
Activities (6)
After Project Phase (Phase 6)
Difficulties - Risks - Sensitivities
4 official languages
Communication and transportation
War / conflict situations
Financial commitment parties
Social issues in differing religions and cultures
Core capacities on mainstreaming of ESD through
conventional means and ICT
‘Adequate management capacity to maintain ESD’
Availability of an extensive resources base of learning
support materials
Strengthened network and partnership between
African universities and similar global networks
ESD training University Leaders
Training of trainers on innovative teaching and learning
methods, as well as online support on pedagogy
Training of staff and students on ESD and
‘ESD-specific approaches increasingly
adopted in learning situations of all kinds’
‘High-quality materials and methodologies in
Course Material
Active student committee
1 biennium international conference held
Conference report on research, best practices and
exemplar projects
Rotational professorial Chair on ESD Innovations
Evaluation reports
Total Cost of Project:
US $ 2,840,000
Funds requested from donors: US $ 2,040,000
Nature of the programme:
Spreading of the Vision
social circles
Civil Society
Private sector
Nature of the programme:
Spreading of the Vision
universities in
home country
Private sector
in home country
Nature of the programme:
Projects NOT meant to be ongoing forever!
but practice is meant to be lasting!
Student committees are being trained to educate their
new partner universities
Build up of national committees
Building of the network should be ongoing after the
programme has stopped, as well as the raising of
funds to support the movement
Post Implementation Review
Pilot = 3 years: But want to have programme running
throughout the DESD!
The pilot is evaluated thoroughly
Did universities extract new funds and find new partners?
Did they spread the vision on national level?
MESA University Programme
Thank you!
- Reorienting university education -

MESA University Programme