LTA GreenErasmus - Long Term Acitivity on Sustainability and Greening
In 2020, it has been announced that the new Erasmus+ programme generation 2020 – 2027 would entail a new priority on sustainability. This priority is now specified as “Environment and fight against climate change” in the programme guide and indicates that support across all sectors and awareness raising about environmental and climate change challenges should be key objectives of the E+ programme. The programme emphasizes the use of innovative practices to make learners and staff true factors of change in the green transition.
Therefore, we as National Agencies are key stakeholders in making sustainability a priority within our organisations, and in enabling beneficiaries to engage in transnational cooperation to improve qualitative implementation of sustainable projects and practices.
Although sustainability and greening as a priority in the Erasmus+ programme are relatively new, other already existing frameworks precede in the European Union and show that we can tackle the climate crisis in a holistic approach, namely sustainability.
The European Commission hopes to link the two topics – coronavirus and the climate. It is proposing a €750 billion recovery package entitled “Next Generation EU”, with funds going towards the ecological transformation of the economy – charging points, the renovation of buildings and the hydrogen economy.
The European Commission also presented its industrial strategy in connection with the Green Deal in March 2020. One of its focal areas is decarbonising energy-intensive industry and establishing a hydrogen economy. The aim is to produce the gas with the aid of renewable energy and use it to make sectors such as steel production or heavy vehicle traffic more climate-friendly. It also comprises a right to repairs, the recycling of batteries, replacing disposable packaging with reusable alternatives, and collecting and recycling more textiles and electrical appliances, or ensuring that they last longer.
In March 2020, the European Commission presented a proposal for a new climate regulation as a central element of its Green Deal. This entails the EU achieving net climate neutrality by 2050, meaning that climate gases may still be emitted, but they must be offset elsewhere.
In April 2021, a deal on the European Climate Law has been reached, making legal obligations of the goals stipulated by the European Green Deal to create a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 and reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
During its Presidency of the Council, Germany has taken up the discussion on sustainability in education and research. The German federal government’s website provides details of its work. One of the main developments of Germany’s council presidency is the Osnabrück Declaration, which defines vocational education and training as an enabler of recovery and just transitions to digital and green economies.
Sustainability should be a guiding principle for all Erasmus+ projects
This LTA with focus on sustainability and greening aims at encouraging more E+ programme participants to engage in sustainable projects. We want to facilitate the exchange of experiences and good practices between beneficiaries to help them develop their own approach to green initiatives, to find new project partners or simply to increase their knowledge about and awareness of sustainability and climate change. Future projects should be encouraged to incorporate green and sustainable practices in all its facets.
The new programme aims to support, across all sectors, awareness-raising about environmental and climate change challenges. Priority will be given to projects aimed at developing competences in various sustainability-relevant fields, developing green sectorial skills strategies and methodologies, as well as future-oriented curricula. The programme supports the use of innovative practices to make learners, staff and youth workers true factors of change (e.g. save resources, reduce energy use and waste, compensate carbon footprint emissions, opt for sustainable food and mobility choices, etc.).
Scope of the LTA
Taking this individual engagement of beneficiaries on “green topics” and already existing frameworks on sustainability into account, we as National Agencies can connect these singular ideas, approach newcomers and promote practice-policy exchange. Therefore, the NA-BIBB coordinates this LTA of the following scope:
- transnational scope: Taking up national perspectives in a transnational challenge
- cross-sectoral approach elaborating solutions across sectors
- multi-dimensional approach (linking practice with policy)
- time frame of 3 years (2022 – 2024)
- complex activities including:
- training, support and contact seminars
- thematic activities linked to the priority “Environment and fight against climate change”
Objectives of the LTA
The LTA sustainability aims at encouraging more potential programme participants to engage in mobility or cooperation projects to increase their knowledge on principles and models of sustainability, and to facilitate more national engagement in the long-term perspective. The LTA should create a space for shared insights and experience sharing on green initiatives. The participants of the activities in the framework of the LTA sustainability should also include experienced beneficiaries to share approaches and talk about their motivation to work on green initiatives. The LTA will focus on capacity building and green initiatives, especially on an approach that focuses on change within institutions and demonstrates the benefits of sustainable improvement.
Development objectives of the LTA include:
- Increase of the (potential) impact of Erasmus projects regarding sustainability practices
- Development of a strategy to reach beneficiaries and encourage them to engage with sustainability
- Facilitation of exchange and discussion between beneficiaries to help them develop their own approach to green initiatives
- Communication of the benefits of working on sustainability at both the European and national levels to the Erasmus community
- Creation of a common understanding of guiding principles in sustainability. (emissions, food produce, less resource use, less waste, more local produce, reproducing crops, less plastic, less use of pesticides..)
- Virtual TCA "Sustainability in Erasmus+: Towards the green transition", December 2-3, 2021
On 2 and 3 December 2021, the TCA event "Sustainability in Erasmus+: Towards the green transition" took place online. This TCA also served as a kick-off for the LTA "Green Erasmus and Sustainability" which will be carried out from 2022 to 2024.
The TCA focused on various aspects and topics that are very important for sustainability and greening in the education sector.
In a first keynote, Dr. Antje Brock from Institut Futur (FU Berlin) presented new insights on ideas and possibilities on how to put the theoretical foundations of sustainable education into practice. This was followed by a lively discussion on the emotional aspect and the importance of push and pull factors in ESD (Education for Sustainable Development).
In compact contributions, Marta Munoz from the EU Commission reported on the European framework for Green Erasmus and Bernard Combes, representative of UNESCO, on the concept of Education for Sustainable Development. By presenting eight Erasmus projects as best practice examples, it was vividly shown how Erasmus+ projects have already put the idea of a greener and more sustainable world into practice.
Participants also discussed the contradictions and trade-offs between the emissions caused by mobilities in the Erasmus programme and the idea of a green E+ programme, as well as possible solutions.
Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, gave the second keynote address, which highlighted the importance of focusing on climate change in the eyes of the global society as a whole in order to advance climate action.
In smaller groups, participants continued to discuss their own experiences with sustainable projects, the importance of sustainability and the challenges they have encountered in this context. There was also lively discussion about the political and social dimension of sustainability and climate change.