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Sustainable Development Academy

The REC has developed an educational programme aimed at enhancing the capacities of key government officials and senior business representatives in the field of sustainable development; and at setting up partnerships between academia, institutions and businesses. Education, public awareness raising and training are essential to the achievement of sustainable development and to improving capacities to address environmental and development issues. Building the capacities of the broader community to assume their social and environmental responsibilities is also essential.

The integration of sustainable development into policy making, planning and implementation is an ongoing challenge. The courses therefore focus on analysing the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and environmental. Methodologies are suggested in order to demonstrate that economic growth can be accompanied by environmental protection and progress towards social objectives. Within this framework, decision makers from various interest groups have an opportunity to discuss concepts, instruments and strategies in the field of sustainable development, allowing them a fresh perspective on policies and actions.


The overall objective of the programme is to illustrate the potential for integrating environmental concerns into policy making from the outset, rather than to show how to deal with the consequences of poor management. The Sustainable Development Academy focuses on:

  • Leadership - in order to strengthen the potential of national and local government officials and business representatives.
  • Tools - to enable participants to initiate and implement national policies promoting sustainable development.
  • Networking - to facilitate dialogue, experience exchange and cooperation among participants.
  • Raising awareness - of the need to improve the allocation of resources for environmental protection and rehabilitation, access to environmental information, the capacities of local institutions, and the harmonisation of economic, social and environmental policies.
  • Drawing attention - to the possible long-term negative consequences for the environment of decisions that favour short-term economic benefits.
  • Curricula - and the development of high-quality training materials for teaching the concepts of sustainable development and their utilisation in practice.
  • Fundraising - to complement existing donor support.


The Sustainable Development Academy implements specifically tailored regional courses, seminars and certificate programmes in accordance with its philosophy and objectives.

Facts and figures:

  • The first programme was launched in 2004.
  • Almost 20 courses have been implemented to date.
  • Courses have been organised in Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe and the Visegrad countries, the Black Sea region, Turkey, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation.
  • There have been over 500 participants in total, including senior representatives of cities, local communities, regional and national governments, associations of towns and municipalities, regional development agencies and related businesses.
  • A valuable network of participants has been created to promote local and regional sustainability solutions and to ensure the transfer of knowledge and best practices at both national and transboundary level.