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RCE Network

Learning for Sustainability Scotland is Scotland’s Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development; officially acknowledged by the United Nations University.

The global network of Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) was established in response to the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) (2005 -2014) as a mechanism to encourage development and strengthening of ESD practice across a defined region. Recognised through the United Nations University (UNU), an RCE is a network of formal, non-formal and informal education organisations; working together to create solutions to sustainability challenges through dialogue, education and learning.

The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005 – 2014 (UNDESD) influenced many LfS initiatives in Scotland – showcasing Scotland as a leader in the sector across the UK and globally. Following on from the UNDESD, the Scottish LfS community worked together to apply to the United Nations University to become a Regional Centre of Expertise. After being accepted in December 2012, Learning for Sustainability Scotland – Scotland’s RCE – officially launched on 19 November 2013 following eighteen months of planning and collaborating.  

Upon the completion of the DESD in 2014, RCEs committed to further generating, accelerating and mainstreaming ESD by implementing the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development 2030 Roadmap, and contributing to the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

You can read our application to become an RCE here.

UK & Europe

Learning for Sustainability Scotland is one of a number of Regional Centres of Expertise across the UK and Europe.

With strong links to other existing and emerging RCEs across the UK and Europe, RCE Scotland regularly participates in events organised to further global collaboration between RCEs.

Our Development Manager, Betsy King, is the current Regional Advisor for Europe. RCE Regional Advisors serve to provide advice to the Global RCE Service Centre on policy and strategic and operational matters in relation to the promotion and development of RCEs. Areas include governance, collaboration, research and development, and transformative education, informed by active engagements with the RCE community in their region. In addition, RCE Regional Advisors provide support to RCEs in order to enhance regional and thematic collaborations, and can provide guidance to candidate RCEs wishing to establish RCEs. You can read more about Betsy and all of the Regional Advisors here.

RCE Scotland (LfS Scotland) hosted the meeting of the UK & Eire Regional Centres of Expertise in 2017. You can read all about it here. Subsequent meetings have been hosted by other RCEs and we look forward to our next meeting.

Details of European conferences can be found here. The last meeting was hosted online by RCE Basque Country-Navarre and RCE Fryslan in September 2023. Planning is currently underway for the 2024 meeting, which will be hosted as a hybrid meeting by RCE Ruhr in Germany in August. Click here to find out more.


As of March 2024, 190 RCEs have officially been acknowledged by the United Nations University worldwide. The Global RCE Service Centre is headquartered at the UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, where it provides assistance to individual RCEs and facilitates their communication and networking.

Global RCE Bulletins can be found here.

In November 2021, COP26 was held in Glasgow. Ahead of this, RCE Scotland hosted two global webinars (4th February and 8th June) and the 12th Global RCE Conference from 16-18 November 2021, which took place online due to the ongoing COVID pandemic. Please click on the hyperlinks for more details. The last Global RCE Conference was hosted by RCE Greater Gombak and RCE Greater Kuala Lumpur in 2023. This was a hybrid event and you can read more about it here.

Youth Co-ordination Network

Learning for Sustainability Scotland is an open network, acknowledged by the UN University as Scotland’s Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) in Education for Sustainable Development. The Global RCE Network has asked all RCEs to nominate a Youth Coordinator to help engage “youth” with the networks (by which they mean under 35!), and our Steering Group Member, Alyson MacKay, is currently the Youth Coordinator for Scotland’s RCE.

Our Youth Network aims to offer events and opportunities which will encourage students and young professionals (aged around 18-35) who are interested in sustainability to engage with Learning for Sustainability Scotland. If you fall in to this age range, or work with people who do, or feel particularly young at heart, then please do join our Network!

You can email us to ask any questions or share your ideas. We would love to hear from you about what you would like from the Youth Network.