GHESP - Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership
Four international organisations with a strong commitment to making sustainability a major focus of higher education have formed the Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership (GHESP). The four founding partners of the initiative – the International Association of Universities, the University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, Copernicus Campus and UNESCO – combine forces in a unique effort to mobilise universities and higher education institutions to support sustainable development in response to Chapter 36 of Agenda 21.
The objectives of the partnership are to:
1. Promote better understanding, and more effective implementation of strategies for the incorporation of sustainable development in universities and other higher education institutions, beginning with the over 1000 signatories to the charters and declarations sponsored by the partner organisations. Emphasis is put on the need for interdisciplinary approaches to teaching and research;
2. Undertake a global review and assessment of progress in making sustainability central to curriculum, research, outreach and operations in institutions of higher education. In so doing, assist UNESCO in its role within the UN system with respect to education for sustainable development;
3. Identify, share and disseminate widely, via internet, in print, through seminars and other venues, effective strategies, models and good practices for promoting higher education for sustainable development (HESD);
4. Make recommendations on HESD based on the partnership's research and review and in consultation with key stakeholders from North and South, including business, governments, other UN bodies such as the United Nations University (UNU), as well as other relevant non-governmental organisations;
5. Demonstrate that it is possible to form a partnership of non-governmental organisations working closely with the UN system to develop and implement a joint action plan addressed to achieve common goals; and analyse this experience as an international demonstration project.
ULSF, COPERNICUS-CAMPUS, and IAU each draw on its own experience and on-going work to help advance the goals of the partnership. The role of UNESCO is primarily to act as facilitator for the collaborative work of the partners; provide further international context and input; and make use of and promote the outputs of the group to further innovation and international cooperation in this field.
In order to achieve the objectives outlined above, the partners will undertake a number of collaborative activities, such as international consultations and conferences, good practice inventories, publications, and website development. These target activities are specifically stated in the Lüneburg Declaration on Higher Education for Sustainable Development (October 2001), the first joint policy statement of GHESP addressed to the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
An annually updated GHESP Action Plan, drawn up and discussed by all partners, will serve to set priorities and monitor progress made. GHESP will meet at least once each year. The Chair will rotate after 12 months, preparing a brief report on GHESP activities and passing this onto the new Chair at the end of the cycle.
From December 2004 until December 2005, GHESP is Chaired by ULSF.
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