Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) on Education for Sustainable Development

An RCE is a network of existing formal, non-formal and informal education organisations, mobilised to deliver ESD to a regional community.

SADC REEP has been directly involved in establishing RCE Swaziland, RCE Zomba (Malawi), and RCE Maputo (Mozambique), RCE KwaZulu Natal (South Africa), and RCE Makana (South Africa).

A network of RCEs worldwide will constitute the Global Learning Space for Sustainable Development. RCEs aspire to achieve the goals of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014), by translating its global objectives into the context of the local community in which it operates.

Core Elements of an RCE

An RCE should have four elements:

  1. Governance - addressing issues of RCE management and leadership
  2. Collaboration - addressing the engagement of actors from all levels as formal, non-formal and informal education in RCE activities
  3. Research and development - addressing the role of research and its inclusion in RCE activities, as well as contributing to the design of strategies for collaborative activities, including those with other RCEs.
  4. Transformative education - contributing to the transformation of the current education and training systems to satisfy ambitions of the region regarding sustainable living and livelihood.

An RCE involves:

  • actors in the formal and non-formal education sectors (school teachers, professors at higher education institutions, researchers and environmental NGOs)
  • providers of content for ESD (scientists, researchers, museums, zoos, botanical gardens)
  • supporters of the delivery of ESD (local government officials, representatives of local enterprises, volunteers, media people, and any other civic associations or individuals who work in spheres of sustainable development such as economic growth, social development, and environmental protections, and
  • students and learners at all levels

Functions of an RCE

RCEs bring together institutions at the regional/local level to jointly promote ESD. They build innovative platforms to share information and experiences and to promote dialogue among regional/local stakeholders through partnerships for sustainable development. RCEs create a local/regional knowledge base to support ESD actors, and promote four major goals of ESD in a resource-effective manner. These four goals are to:

  1. re-orient education towards Sustainable Development , covering existing programmes/subjects from the point of ESD and designing an integrated SD curricula. ESD programmes are tailored to address issues and local context of the community in which they operate;
  2. increase access to quality education that is most needed in the regional context
  3. deliver trainers' training programme and to develop methodologies and learning materials for them
  4. lead advocacy and awareness-raising efforts to raise public awareness about the importance of educators and the essential role of ESD in achieving a sustainable future. RCEs promote the long-term goals of ESD, such as environmental stewardship, social justice, and improvement of the quality of life.

For more information on RCEs on general, contact the RCE Service Centre:

Zinaida Fadeeva,
Research Associate for ESD programme:


SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme