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3 LENSUS - Lifelong learning network for sustainable development

Global society is undergoing rapid social and technological change, and facing the widely acknowledged need to achieve sustainable development (Bereiter / Scardamalia 2003; UN Division for Sustainable Development 1992). In response the importance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is widely accepted, as is the need for lifelong learning, emphasized in Agenda 21 and integrated in a number of international declarations (UNECE 2005; UNESCO 1997; EU Sustainable Development Strategy 2006). Three main challenges can be identified to address global learning needs a) self-directed learning possibilities for competence development, b) transdisciplinary settings to make knowledge effective in real-life situations and c) crossing borders of academic vs. non academic learning towards a holistic approach to lifelong learning. Nearly half way through the UN Decade of ESD, after diverse activities exploration and pilot testing, networking and capacity building are now the main priorities to strengthen different approaches and to guarantee widespread impact. The Lifelong Learning Network for Sustainable Development focuses on the key issue of the ‘knowledge triangle’ of education, research and innovation, for regional sustainable development. Project outputs for networking address: a) structural aspects b) learning collaboration, as both approaches are essential for achieving collaborative development and transferral of innovations in lifelong learning for ESD. We will develop a Network for ESD by linking VCES, RCEs, universities and local/regional stakeholders facing challenges on SD, a Seminar Program for non/academic participants interested in the RCE approach, an open database containing best practice cases across Europe for ESD. The project will create a prototype European Lifelong Learning Space for Sustainable Development consisting of a technological component (web-based network structure), an organisational component (actors, institutions and learning resources and their rules of interaction) and an educational component (learning activities, virtual and face-to-face, in the learning network), all publicly available free of charge in English. 2) Capacity building for innovative development and evaluation of transdisciplinary, multi-sector, intergenerational learning for innovation in SD will be addressed by the development and dissemination of best practice guides on innovative practices for ESD, e-learning methodology and transferable indicators for ESD. The products will be delivered through the Network for ESD via the Learning Space. 3-LENSUS will also hold a summer school on Regional Partnerships for Sustainable Development and final conference disseminating project results. All products will be publicly available in English language.The consortium and target groups are all multipliers in different areas: universities to students and staff and local communities, local enterprises to clients, non-governmental and governmental organisations to the general public: 3-LENSUS activities ensure the capacity building tools objective reach far and wide. The Network for ESD Lifelong learning networks that connect universities and other societal actors, once established, can act as a model for the Global Learning Space for Sustainable Development, envisaged by the UN in the framework of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. This focuses on North-South collaboration to assist developing countries in developing education systems for SD. 3-LENSUS will explore the potential for collaboration with the United Nations University to reach wider target audiences in the future.
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