The summoning of an international meeting on environmental education has been anticipated for many years. The idea was born during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
Valuable to recognize is the failure of those NGOs who drafted an “Alternative Treaty on Environmental Education” in Rio in 1992 in which they pledged to hold a “Plenary Meeting of Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies” within 3 years. The failure to do so indicates the value provided by the WEEC with the First World Environmental Education Congress (1st WEEC) held in Espinho, Portugal.
The 2nd WEEC has been held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2004.
The 3rd WEEC Congress in Torino, Italy in 2005 brought the consolidation phase of the Congress to an end and paved the way for the series of bi-annual Congresses to follow.
With the Congresses in Espinho (2003) and Torino (2005), the great international assemblies on environmental education returned to Europe after having been absent since the Thessaloniki Conference “Environment and Society: Education and Public Awareness for Sustainability” in 1997.
The topic of the 4th WEEC in Durban, “Learning in a Changing World”, initiated the opportunity for critical reflection on the role of education, in both practice and theory.
The topic of the 5th WEEC in Montréal, “Live together on Earth”, invited participants to contribute to the most important project of our humanity: to learn to live better on the Earth.
The 6th WEEC in 2011, which was hosted in Brisbane, Australia, made it possible for greater participation of people in the Asian-Pacific context.
The 7th WEEC was hosted in Marrakech (Morocco) in 2013 under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and the chairmanship of HRH Princess Lalla Hasna, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environment Protection. With nearly 2,600 delegates from 105 countries, 20 Side Events, 900 papers and 30 exhibitors, the congress was marked by the presence of renowned international institutions such as UNESCO, UNEP, ISESCO, and FEE.
The last edition of the WEEC was once again held in Europe.
In 2015 the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden hosted the 8th WEEC from June 29 to July 2 with the title “Planet and People – How can they develop together?”
Vancouver (Canada) is the next hosting city. The 9th WEEC will run from 9 to 15 September 2017. The Local Organizing Committee is the Institute for Environmental Learning (IEL), made up of the collaboration of researchers and practitioners committed to high quality environmental and sustainability learning in British Columbia, held jointly with many Canadian Universities and institutions.