APSCC participated and presented in the World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities – A Parallel Event to Rio+20. Forty years after the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and twenty years after the first “Earth Summit” (UN Conference and Environment and Development) held in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, the world community met again, to review progresses and outline the future steps we need to take towards a more sustainable world. The 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as “Rio+20”, was a historical event. The objectives of UNCSD were: to secure renewed political commitment to sustainable development; to assess progress towards internationally agreed goals on sustainable development and to address new and emerging challenges. The Summit focussed on two specific themes: a green economy in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development, and an institutional framework for sustainable development. UNCSD offered a unique opportunity to also discuss the extent to which universities have been providing a meaningful contribution towards the efforts in shaping a better world and, perhaps more importantly, to discuss what else remains to be done. It is against this background that the “World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities” (WSSD-U-2012) was organised by the Research and Transfer Centre “Applications of Life Sciences” of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, under the auspices of the RCE Hamburg and Region. The RCE Hamburg and Region was part of a global network of Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCEs) coordinated by the United Nations University
The aims of the “World Symposium on Sustainable Development at Universities” are as follows:
i. to provide universities all round the world with an opportunity to display and present their works (i.e. curriculum innovation, research, activities, practical projects) as they relate to education for sustainable development at university level;
ii. to foster the exchange of information, ideas and experiences acquired in the execution of projects, from successful initiatives and good practice;
iii. to discuss methodological approaches and projects which aim to integrate the topic of sustainable development in the curriculum of universities;
iv. to network the participants and provide a platform so they can explore possibilities for cooperation.
Last but not least, a further aim of the event will be to document and disseminate the wealth of experiences available today. To this purpose, a special issue of the “International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education (IJSHE) with selected papers from the conference will be produced. Furthermore, the book “Sustainable Development at Universities: New Horizons” will be published, with a further set of papers. This will be volume 33 of the award-winning book series “Environmental Education, Communication and Sustainability” (Peter Lang Scientific Publishers), which since its creation in 1998 has become the world´s longest running book series on education and communication on sustainable development.