A consolidated effort

October 20, 2010

Sustainable Development Academy launches umbrella website

By Nathan Johnson

MAKING THE RIGHT MOVES: Participants play a simulation game during 2010’s Black Sea Course. Photos: Pinar Akpinar

Dating back to 2004, more than 500 people have participated in roughly 20 courses specially designed to promote practices leading to sustainable development. These various 'courses for sustainability' have been carried out in and focused on areas such as Central and Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe, the Visegrad countries, Central Asia, the Black Sea region, Turkey, and the Russian Federation. Now called the Sustainable Development Academy (SDA), this educational enterprise launched a new umbrella website on September 24, 2010, thereby consolidating various past course information into a single, convenient location.

By offering regional courses - and now, certificate programmes - the Sustainable Development Academy provides participants with a number of tools to initiate and implement national policies promoting sustainable development. Targeting mostly national and local government officials and business representatives, the SDA promotes leadership skills and participant cooperation and exchange by providing valuable networking opportunities.

The SDA draws attention to long-term environmental damage caused by short-term thinking, and stresses the need to allocate more resources for environmental protection and rehabilitation, to expand access to environmental information and increase the capacities of local institutions, and to harmonise economic social and environmental policies. Course curricula draws from high-quality training materials and the latest methods for teaching sustainable development and best practices.

Course and programme summary

TAKING NOTE: Black Sea participants tune in to a course lecture.

The Course for Sustainable Development for Central and Eastern Europe was offered on four occasions between 2004 and 2007, drawing a total of 233 participants from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Poland, Slovenia, Serbia and Turkey. The course focused primarily on enhancing government capacities of senior government officials in creating policies and programmes that are more sustainable environmentally, socially and economically.

Also targeting senior government officials to achieve the same objectives, the Kazakhstan Course for Sustainability was offered in 2007 to 36 participants.

The Course for Local Sustainability and Action and South-Eastern Europe and the Visegrad Countries as been delivered on three occasions to date, starting in 2008. This course has drawn 105 participants from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Kosovo (as defined under UNSCR 1244), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia and Slovakia.

Partnerships for Sustainable Development & Sustainable Public Policies and Business Practices for the Black Sea Countries is a two-part seminar series that began in 2008 and has been offered on three occasions to a total of 93 participants. The seminar offers a comprehensive analysis of regional problems and needs with the aim of identifying the best solutions and establishing a network for joint activities. The seminar has drawn central and local-government representatives from Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.

The Course for Sustainability for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region debuted in 2010, with 24 people taking part. This is a capacity-building course, designed specifically for government officials, that helps participants to identify tools most suitable for promoting sustainable development in the target region. A similar course for sustainability for Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian Federation is forthcoming.

The Sustainable Development Academy's recently developed certificate programmes focus on meeting social, economic and environmental challenges in today's competitive environment, and are targeted primarily toward the professional business community. The first certificate programme, developed in 2008 with cooperation from Turkey's Bogazici University, covered corporate social responsibility in the private sector.

Foundation and support

TOP-LEVEL TRAINING: SDA curricula draw from a wealth of regional expertise.

The Course for Sustainability was created under the auspices of Corrado Clini, Director General of the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea (IMELS), and IMELS has been the main course donor since 2004. IMELS has allocated funds for course implementation to the Regional Environmental Center (SDA's lead organisation) and Venice International University and undertakes continuous monitoring and supervision.

Also acting as SDA donors are the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation and the BG Group. Course sponsors include AT&T, the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK), ISTAC Co., Bedol, Reware, ATP and KPMG.

For all information, past and present, related to the Sustainable Development Academy, please visit the new website here.