What is an RCE?
RCE Tantramar is one of over 100 Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development around the world. RCEs are recognized by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) and represent centres working to coordinate regional collaboration, create new knowledge, and support community initiatives in order to contribute to the resilience and sustainability of their respective regions.
In Canada, there are only six RCEs: British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Toronto, Greater Sudbury, Montreal, and Tantramar. RCEs originate from a 2002 meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, during which the decade from 2005 to 2014 was proclaimed the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. This designation emphasizes that education is an indispensable tool for achieving sustainable development, which requires equal attention to economic, environmental, and social dimensions.
Vision and Objectives
Our vision: to gather the resources and imaginations of Tantramar’s communities to plan and take action on sustainability through education that promotes the region’s collective environmental, economic, and socio-cultural well-being.
The establishment of RCE Tantramar and its vision come as a follow-up to the immediate priority within the Tantramar 2040 plan listed below, which is supported by all municipalities in the region, to:
“focus on education as it relates to themes of sustainability. The lack of public knowledge prevents action to make the region more sustainable.”
This objective highlights Tantramar 2040′s commitment to education for sustainable development, and its intent to establish an RCE in the region. Accordingly, the educational objectives for RCE Tantramar are derived from the Tantramar 2040 document and are listed below for each of the seven priority areas.
Regional Sustainability Objectives
Energy. To ensure that we reach our regional energy needs in an efficient, affordable, sustainable, and reliable way by diversifying our energy sources and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Water. To ensure a dependable supply of safe, high-quality water in a way that maintains healthy aquatic environments and uses water efficiently.
Food. To ensure there is a healthy, nutritious, and sustainable food supply that primarily comes from within the region and that Tantramar residents value food and have learned how to store, prepare, and preserve whole foods.
Bio-regional Planning. To use planning as a tool whereby we maintain and improve the integrity of all ecosystems.
Coast and Infrastructure Strategy. To ensure the health and safety of residents by adapting to climate change threats, while we work to maintain the natural function of wetlands, waterways, and coastal lands.
Social Support. To have equal access to a broad range of services for all community members in the region.
Regional Transportation. To enjoy a community-based transportation system that provides service to all community members.
Tantramar became an RCE as a follow-up to the Tantramar 2040 regional sustainability initiative, as well as other municipal plans in the region such as the Town of Sackville’s Sustainable Sackville Plan, the Village of Port Elgin’s Integrated Community Sustainability Plan (ICSP) and the Village of Memramcook’s Green Plan. After participating in these initiatives, community members concluded that the key to achieving sustainability within the Tantramar region was using education as a tool to teach and discuss sustainable practices.
Research into the UNU-IAS RCEs in 2010 led to the realization that this opportunity would serve as an excellent mechanism by which the region could formally execute their plan for a sustainable Tantramar. RCE Tantramar’s intent is to contribute to the implementation of the principles and objectives of the Tantramar 2040 plan. In 2011, a formal application for RCE designation was completed and in 2012 the UNU-IAS designated Tantramar with official RCE status.