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Region Recognized as Leader in Sustainable Education

By Kelly Jessup
two young researchers collecting water specimen from a field

This region is one where businesses and educational institutions are changing the ways that we look at growth, sustainability and global outlooks on the future. Yesterday it was announced that Peterborough & the Kawarthas, along with City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton, have been designated a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) on Education in Sustainable Development by the United Nations University as endorsed by UNESCO. The region is now one of three RCEs in the Province and 1 of 8 RCEs in all of Canada. Full details included in the release below:

MEDIA RELEASE – January 11, 2017

Peterborough-Kawarthas-Haliburton has been designated as a Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations University as endorsed by UNESCO. The RCE initiative recognizes regions from around the world that demonstrate leadership in addressing complex sustainability challenges, and works to network these communities internationally to support even greater innovation and collaboration.

Our region was selected through a juried review process by the Ubuntu Committee of Peers, and was among only a few to receive the prestigious designation. This is a true testament to the leadership and commitment to sustainability demonstrated across this region. In addition to Toronto and Sudbury, Peterborough-Kawarthas-Haliburton is only the third RCE to be designated in the province, and the eighth in Canada. There are 150 RCEs globally.

A diverse partnership that included academic institutions, governments and government agencies, private sector partnerships, and NGOs came together to support the development of our region’s RCE application. (Please see the list of partners and quotes from community leaders attached.) The success of this application speaks to our long history of transformative and collaborative education to achieve local and global sustainability goals. Our application identified five long-term objectives that will guide the work of the local RCE network moving forward. These include:

  • To recognize the vital importance of Indigenous Knowledge systems as they engage across all curricula
  • To implement age-appropriate sustainability and stewardship education frameworks from pre-school to secondary school, in both formal and informal settings
  • To build strong bridges between school curriculum and the spectrum of programs offered at Trent University and Fleming College
  • To link post-secondary programs and community-based training programs to green jobs, research, and innovation in the region, and
  • To develop reciprocal exchanges of sustainability knowledge and practice between residents within the region and with communities across the globe

While the work of this newly established RCE network lies before us, this designation will serve as a meaningful platform and catalyst for deeper partnerships and sustained collaborative action. A formal program launch and celebration is being planned for May 2017, with more details to be shared in the coming months.

Peterborough Economic Development President & CEO, Rhonda Keenan commented, “Peterborough & the Kawarthas is well-known for its strong commitment to education and sustainable development. This formal recognition as a regional centre of expertise is a testament to the community and positions Peterborough & the Kawarthas as a strategic place for investment based on these strengths.”