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Leadership and Education for Sustainable Development, Philip Vaughter, UNU-IAS

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This presentation was part of the ProSPER.Net Leadership Programme 2017 'Building Transformational Leadership Towards the SDGs'

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Leadership and Education for Sustainable Development, Philip Vaughter, UNU-IAS

  1. 1. Leadership and Education for Sustainable Development 2017 ProSPER.Net Leadership Programme Hosted by Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, Thailand – July 1st, 2017 Dr. Philip Vaughter UNU-IAS
  2. 2. Leadership for Sustainability  Around the world, leaders shape how their organizations engage with the world around them  Government leaders steer policy  Business leaders work with markets  Civil Society leaders work on a variety of issues  However, there has been a lack of leadership in shifting to a just and sustainable lifestyle across sectors and across nations  Why is there a lack of quality leadership around sustainability?
  3. 3. What makes a leader for sustainability?  According to the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership there are seven key characteristics for leadership tackling sustainability issues: 1) Systemic, interdisciplinary understanding 2) Emotional intelligence and a caring attitude 3) Values orientation that shapes culture 4) A strong vision for making a significant difference 5) An inclusive style that engenders trust 6) A willingness to innovate or be radical 7) A long-term perspective on impacts
  4. 4. What factors enable sustainable leadership?  Collaboration is key  Systems must operate to allow diverse groups to interact; breakdown the silos  Focus on critical challenges  Priorities must be set to tackle most critical challenges first  Support for change  Leaders must operate in institutions that allow for change – the status quo must be questioned
  5. 5. Challenges leaders face in addressing sustainability problems  Often takes long time for a solution  Complex interactions with the components and people involved  A weak and scattered science base for making evidence-based decisions  Lack of integration across disciplines needed to tackle problem  Atmospheres are often emotional and contentious
  6. 6. Challenges leaders face in addressing sustainability problems  Communication has made information more available – but this quantity of information can make communication more difficult and complex  More stakeholders are making their voice heard, very different than the past
  7. 7. Challenges leaders face in addressing sustainability problems  Sustainability is complex – leaders have to be careful that addressing sustainability in one context does not mean neglecting sustainability in another context
  8. 8. Who are seen as leaders for addressing sustainable development?  According to GlobeScan Sustainability Leaders Survey, non- state actors consistently outperform national governments in contributions to sustainability  NGOs still leading with conservation of ecosystems  City/local governments active with climate change mitigation  Research/academic organizations seen as crucial players
  9. 9. Who are seen as leaders for addressing sustainable development?  Perceptions on corporate leadership divided by regions  Wide range of economic sectors  Consumer facing companies (businesses that emphasize consumer satisfaction and feedback) lead this list
  10. 10. Who are seen as leaders for addressing sustainable development?  But while individual companies in different sectors were seen as being leaders, no sector in the global market stands out as a leader  While experts feel companies have an important role to play in sustainability, they were critical of performance, with all sectors receiving mostly negative or neutral ratings
  11. 11. How does education relate to leadership for sustainability?  Education can…  Train leaders how to work with long term timelines  Provide systemic ways to breakdown complex problems  Inform decision makers about knowledge bases to provide evidence  Teach how to work between disciplines  Give insight into stakeholders motivations
  12. 12. How does education relate to leadership for sustainability?  Education is often promoted as a tool leaders can use to change the behavior of their team or their institution to make it more sustainable  But ironically, sometimes it is the most educated that are leading the least sustainable lifestyles  Therefore, it is not just that leaders need more education, but a different type of education
  13. 13. Education for Sustainable Development and Leadership  Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a different approach to education  Note the difference (McKeown, 2014):  Education about Sustainable Development is an awareness lesson or theoretical discussion  Education for Sustainable Development is using education as a tool to transform society  If leaders are going to meaningfully engage with sustainability, education for sustainable development is the most appropriate educational tool to use
  14. 14. Education for Sustainable Development and Leadership  UNESCO defines ESD as having the following characteristics:  Based on principles of sustainable development  Deals with four dimensions of sustainability – environment, society, culture, economy  Promotes lifelong learning  Locally relevant and culturally appropriate  Based around local needs but links to global processes  Engages formal, non-formal, and informal education  Builds capacity for community-based decision-making, social tolerance, environmental stewardship, adaptable workforce, and good quality of life  Is interdisciplinary – no discipline can claim ESD for itself
  15. 15. Education for Sustainable Development and Leadership  While leaders in many different fields can use ESD to advance sustainability, the following skills are essential for using ESD (Tilbury & Wortman, 2004):  Envisioning – being able to imagine a better future. What does it look like?  Critical Thinking – question our assumptions. What is development?  Systemic Thinking – looking for links. How is this system connected to others?  Building Partnerships – learning to work together. How can we help each other?  Participating – feeling empowered to act. How can I use my knowledge to make the world more sustainable?
  16. 16. Who is using ESD in Leadership?  The Provincial Government of Manitoba in Canada
  17. 17. Who is using ESD in Leadership Training?  The Provincial Government of Manitoba in Canada  The Ministry of Education in Scotland
  18. 18. Who is using ESD in Leadership Training?  The Provincial Government of Manitoba in Canada  The Ministry of Education in Scotland  The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Environment in Japan
  19. 19. Who is using ESD in Leadership Training?  The Provincial Government of Manitoba in Canada  The Ministry of Education in Scotland  The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Environment in Japan  German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, in partnership with governments of India, Mexico, and South Africa
  20. 20. But, is leadership training using ESD reaching current leaders?  Many countries now include sustainability in the education that primary and secondary students receive  Example of long-term thinking – train tomorrow’s leaders today  However, this is typically education about sustainability, not education for sustainability: lot’s of good knowledge, not a lot of workable solutions  Other major challenges (Leicht, 2014):  Going from a pilot project to a policy  Small scale to large scale  Margins to mainstream  Most ESD focuses on youth – adults need to change their behavior as well
  21. 21. What helps leaders engage with ESD?  In addition to the before mentioned skills, the following preconditions are necessary for helping a leader engage with sustainability, and to use ESD to do this 1) Make the case for change: a leader must be adept at shifting others from unconscious to conscious reactivity to the challenge. Must be able to educate about the challenge and frame in a way that seems serious but also one that can be overcome. 2) Translate vision into action: stakeholders respond to plans with action rather than vague commitments to concepts. Must be able to work with experts and ideas to design actions that fit with sustainable vision. 3) Expand boundaries: a leader must anticipate and evaluate long-term sustainability trends to embed sustainability within the organization, spotting new opportunities along the way. Must be able to learn from similar case studies and use critical thinking and forecasting.
  22. 22. What structures can help leaders engage with ESD?  To recap:  Collaboration is key  Systems must operate to allow diverse groups to interact; breakdown the silos  Focus on critical challenges  Priorities must be set to tackle most critical challenges first  Support for change  Leaders must operate in institutions that allow for change – the status quo must be questioned
  23. 23. We can’t wait for a new generation of leaders!  Leaders across all sectors need to start engaging with ESD today – right now!
  24. 24. We can’t wait for a new generation of leaders!  Leaders across all sectors need to start engaging with ESD today – right now!  Why?
  25. 25. We can’t wait for a new generation of leaders!  Leaders across all sectors need to start engaging with ESD today – right now!  Why?  Life expectancy and material aspirations continue to rise around the world
  26. 26. We can’t wait for a new generation of leaders!  Leaders across all sectors need to start engaging with ESD today – right now!  Why?  Life expectancy and material aspirations continue to rise around the world  GHG emissions tend to be higher among the most educated and powerful
  27. 27. We can’t wait for a new generation of leaders!  Leaders across all sectors need to start engaging with ESD today – right now!  Why?  Life expectancy and material aspirations continue to rise around the world  GHG emissions tend to be higher among the most educated and powerful  Adaptation is the key to good leadership
  28. 28. Remember, “Once you are through learning, you’re through…”  Will Rogers (1879-1935)

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