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8th WEEC Gothenburg 2015

Planet and People – How They Can Develop Together?

Gothenburg (Sweden), 29 June/ 2 July 2015

The 8th World Environment Education Congress (WEEC 2015) was hosted by the Centre for Environment and Sustainability at Chalmers University of Technology and University of Gothenburg.

The Congress themes were 11 and ranged from the digital age to poverty reduction, green cities, climate change adaptation and educational policy development for environment and sustainability.

The 8th WEEC registered 800 delegates of 73 nationalities and youth from different countries. Students from Sweden, Slovakia and Turkey were sent by the Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) – coordinated by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) – to report from the congress.

Read more: 8th WEEC Gothenburg 2015

Mario Salomone: conclusion of the 8th Congress, and announcement of the 9th

Dear participants, during these days we heard speeches, presentations, debates, we talked a lot each other.

As panelist and many participants have been underlined, we experienced the crucial importance of a regular and continuous keeping in touch, to improve relationships, and to update our information on the policies at international and national level.
In other words, we experienced the importance of the WEEC meetings and of a worldwide network of all actors, public and private, nonprofit and profit.

The congress has certainly been a success and I have to congratulate with all local organizers for the high quality of the contents and for the efficient and the effective organization.
I warmly thank the City of Gothenburg, the Gothenburg and the Chalmers universities, the GMV Center for Environment and Sustainability, and the MCI, also on behalf of all participants and of the worldwide environmental education community.

Many thanks also to the staff and the volunteers for their professional commitment and kind collaboration.

The congress has also been fruitfully in promoting initiatives. A lot of dynamics moving towards thematic committees were born as financial education, water education, and many others.

In particular I’m very glad to announce that Ibero-American Women for Environment Network, integrated by women from all over the world, became a women international network inside WEEC community.
I think it is a historical step in our path.

These facts show that we are growing and this congress, as the previous one in Marrakech (Morocco), organized by the Mohammed VI Foundation for the environment, and the Marrakech Declaration, has been very important, and it is necessary to go on working between a congress and the following.

It means to build a network able to face the world changes.
Any day we have to defend the Earth, the commons, the people and the other living species combined in the biodiversity.

Research can help to move towards action, common campaigns can help, empowerment initiatives can help, tools developed together can help, and strongest partnerships can help.

So, I remind you the importance of joining and of supporting the WEEC network.

I invite news countries, new institutions, new civil society organization to join the WEEC network.

I encourage all of you to use the website and the WEEC newsletter for spreading proposals and news.

I remind you that the call for hosting the 10th WEEC is open.

I remind also the European participants the Third pan-European days of EE in Barcelona, on 1st and 2nd October.

An now, chers amis et chères amies, queridos amigos y queridas amigas, dear friends coming here from all over the world, it is for me a great pleasure and a great honor to invite the organizers of the 9th Congress in 2017 to present the hosting city and institution organizing the congress.

The organizer body is the IEL, Institute for Environmental Learning at Simon Frazer University. The hosting city will be Vancouver, Canada.
I’m sure that the 9th WEEC will be an extraordinary and beautiful congress, the first WEEC of our new deal of the network.
Many wishes from me and from all of us. Now I will give the ground to our Vancouver friends, I welcome.

The 8th WEEC congress is now open

The 8th World Environmental Education Congress has been opened on Monday, June 29th, in Goteborg (Sweden) during an opening ceremony chaired by Katarina Gärdfeldt, director of the centre of environment and sustainability GMV at University of Goteborg and Chalmers University of technology (Sweden).
At the moment over 800 participants from 75 countries are attending the Congress, that will finish on Thursday.
The most numerous delegations are from Sweden, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada and Brazil.
The congress has been set up thanks to the help of 85 volunteers that facilitate languages, logistic and so on.
During the opening ceremony Mario Salomone, General Secretary of the WEEC network said that he is proud to contribute to build awareness, capabilities, participation, and ecological citizenship, “We are very happy – he said – for this intersection and true crossroads of institutions, actors from civil society, scientific researchers, experiences and competencies, making the congresses a friendly site where top down and bottom up initiatives and where academia, public bodies, associations, companies can enhance dialogue and collaboration”. The network must be built now to ensure dissemination information about activities, to promote events and publications via website and newsletter, to enable collaborations and partnerships, to better to inform about what is happening in the world. (Read all the speech here)
Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, co-chair of WEEC 2015 and Pam Fredman, vice-chancellor of University of Goteborg focus on the transitions and the role of students in this process aimed to achieve education to all (all countries, all genders, etc) .
John Holmberg, vice president for Chalmers University of Technology has pointed out the rule of university in order to promote the transformation and integration of the educational system.
The Director-General of Unesco, Irina Bokova has reminded the delegates the past WEEC congress in Morocco and the continuity that links the environmental education congresses. “Green societies for green citizenship education for sustainability – she said – must stand in the heart of the political agenda”.
“Unep commitment on environmental education – said Achim Steiner, Unep Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General of the united Nations – remains strong than ever”.
Arjen Wals WEEC 2015 co-chair and Professor at Wageningen University and University of Goteborg said that different approches and solutions can be mixed. Local solutions can be shared and this exchange of best practises and information has been one of the main goal since the first WEEC congress.
The 8th WEEC congress is now open, good luck for this new challenging adventure!

8th WEEC Greetings of the Secretary-General

Distinguished representatives of the international institutions, of the City of Gothenburg and of Gothenburg and Chalmers Universities, dear friends and colleagues involved in environmental education, many warmest thanks for attending this 8th congress in Gothenburg.

Many thanks also to all people unable to attend the congress for a lot of reasons as scarcity of funds or personal problems, but interested in the EE and in our congresses.

Many thanks to the Gothenburg and Chalmers universities, to the scientific and advisors committees, to the GMV Centre for environment sustainability, to the staff at the Local organizing committee and at the Permanent Secretariat and, of course, to all bodies that are helping us.

Your participation is going to give value to the meeting.
All people will leave the congress with a luggage richer in terms of new friendships, partnerships, contacts, suggestions, best practices, and, I hope, all people will leave the congress more open-minded and with an improved motivation and enthusiasm.

Since 2003 this is the spirit and the main aim of the world environmental education congresses.

Since 2003 we reached four continents collecting thousands and thousands of people of different cultures, languages, religions.

On Thursday we will announce where the 9th congress will be held in 2017 and from now we encourage all you to consider a candidacy for the 10th congress in 2019.
The call for bids opens today.

Since 2013 we are also engaged in building in Europe a regional network and a Pan-European area of consultation on the environmental and sustainability education.
So, I take the opportunity to invite all European attendees to join the Third Pan-European Days of environmental education that will be held on 1st and 2nd October in Barcelona, organized by Government of Catalonia – I thank warmly – jointly with the Permanent Secretariat and the network of Regions Four Motors for Europe. I encourage all of you to get involved and contribute to the discussions.
You can find more information on the special website of the event at the network international website.

Dear participants to the 8th congress in Gothenburg

We are proud for the capacity of our worldwide community to organize an international meeting each two years.

We are proud to contribute to build awareness, capabilities, participation, and ecological citizenship.

We are very happy for this intersection and true crossroads of institutions, actors from civil society, scientific researchers, experiences and competencies, making the congresses a friendly site where top down and bottom up initiatives and where academia, public bodies, associations, companies can enhance dialogue and collaboration.

But.. but…

Distinguished authorities, dear friends, dear colleagues,

But we are not proud; we are not satisfied with the present, sad world.
In the present world there are too many wars, to many walls, too many refugees and migrants, too many social injustices, too huge ecological debt, too much violence, to dangerous military expenditures…

The humankind seems orphan of horizons of solidarity, of dreams, of freedom, true democracy, and participation.
In too many countries the humankind is hostage of egoism, xenophobia, fear, “business as usual”…

This framework is closely linked with this ‘robbery’ of the planet that continues unabated, and indeed worsens.

It is that I call “Syndrome of Phileas Fogg”, from the novel of the French writer Jules Verne. Phileas Fogg burn all wood on his steamship for reaching United Kingdom on time for winning the bet. As Phileas Fogg on the boat Henrietta, we are burning renewable and non-renewable resources for supporting an impossible and unsustainable socio-economic system. We are burning our future and the right of future generations to enjoy the great beauty of the Earth, its biodiversity and to live safe and peaceful.

In general, the atmosphere is not encouraging, as the main focus is on the growth, whatever the cost of growth is both for humankind and for the planet.
In many countries, the economic crisis and public spending reduce the funding available for environmental education that is not considered essential.

So, all actors engaged in environmental education over the world need the network to be strengthened.

So, we are opening a campaign of formal adhesion to the network.

So that to be able to disseminate information about your activities, to promote events and publications via website and newsletter, to enable collaborations and partnerships, to be better informed about what is happening in the world.

Since we are working on the extension of the network, we will welcome any support and direct engagement both at the cultural and scientific level and on the initiatives of the network.

I thank you for your attention.
My warmest wishes and a happy and useful congress!