June and July 2002, Higher Education Policy and the International
Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education will publish
the same series of articles in their respective issues. The Preface
to that joint issue is reprinted here, with permission from the
August 26 to September 4, 2002, official governmental delegations
and many heads of state will gather in Johannesburg, South Africa
for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD). This Summit
is taking place on the tenth anniversary of the Earth Summit in
Rio, and on the thirtieth anniversary of the first United Nations
Summit that recognized the importance of environmental issues
the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment. The
WSSDs major purpose is to reaffirm the importance of sustainable
development for the 21st century, and to take action to deal with
critical challenges that must be addressed to create a just and
sustainable future. The Johannesburg Summit is taking place in
a world focused on terrorism and economic globalization. Governmental
and civil society representatives will be charting a course that
can provide security and economic benefits for all, while preserving
the ecological and cultural diversity that is the foundation of
a sustainable future.
higher education plays a crucial role in defining the policies
and practices to create a just, sustainable, and peaceful world.
The International Association of Universities (IAU) has joined
with University Leaders for a Sustainable Future (ULSF) to edit
and publish [a special joint journal] issue focused on higher
education for sustainable development with the WSSD in mind. The
primary goals of this issue are to highlight the importance of
sustainable development for higher education and to make an academic
contribution to the WSSD.
has consistently encouraged member institutions to make sustainability
a central focus from developing the Kyoto Declaration to
providing a range of resources to assist members in addressing
their role in sustainable development. ULSF, as the secretariat
of over 285 signatories of the Talloires Declaration, makes sustainable
development its central focus, providing a range of services to
assist colleges and universities in integrating sustainability
into teaching, research, operations, and outreach.
and ULSF have joined with COPERNICUS-Campus, the secretariat for
European universities that have signed the University Charter
for Sustainable Development, and with UNESCO in its role as task
manager for Chapter 36 (Education, Public Awareness and
Training) of Agenda 21. Together we have formed the
Global Higher Education for Sustainability Partnership (GHESP).
At the October 2001 international COPERNICUS conference, Higher
Education for Sustainability Towards the World Summit on
Sustainable Development (Rio+10), the GHESP partners and
conference participants formally approved the Lüneburg Declaration,
which calls on the international higher education community and
its stakeholders to mobilize around the theme of sustainability
in order to speak with one voice at the WSSD in Johannesburg.
This Declaration also committed the GHESP partners to developing
resources and regional centers of excellence to accelerate the
transition toward sustainability in higher education.
articles in [the special joint issue] address higher educations
effort to reorient itself toward sustainability. They provide
an overview of work over the past decade since Rio, the research
and assessment tasks that lie ahead, and they include case studies
from the global south and Russia in pursuing this agenda.
second, but arguably more important, task at the WSSD is for all
of us in the education community to affirm the importance of higher
education for sustainable development. Education was the second
most mentioned word after government in Agenda 21, but
it has not been given the priority it needs in preparing our transition
to a sustainable future. The mobilization and full commitment
of the crucial sector of education is imperative for success in
our common efforts to achieve sustainable development. We are
moving forward with our GHESP partners in this endeavor, and we
urge you to join with us.
President, International Association of Universities
Director, University Leaders for a Sustainable Future
Partnerships and initiatives to implement Agenda 21 are expected
to become one of the major outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable
Development. GHESP is intending to be recognized as one of these
Type II outcomes at the Summit.
information on Higher Education Policy, the quarterly journal
of the International Association of Universities, go to www.unesco.org/iau/publications.html.
information on the International
Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education,
go to www.emeraldinsight.com/ijshe.htm.
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