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Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in Africa (MESA) Universities Partnership


The Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities (MESA) Partnership Programme is one of UNEP’s initiatives with universities to support the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD). MESA, which currently has a membership spanning over 85 universities in Africa, supports the mainstreaming of environment and sustainability concerns into teaching, research, community engagement and management of universities in Africa.

The network of African Universities was established with active participation from UNESCO, United Nations University (UNU) and the Association of African Universities (AAU).

MESA is presently active in 30 African countries, namely: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

MESA’s ESD Innovation’s Toolkit is available online and containsnumerous modules, activities and case studies.

MESA Goal: "To promote integration of environment and sustainability concerns into teaching, research and community engagement and management of African universities, as well as to enhance student engagement and participation in sustainability activities both within and beyond universities".

MESA Theme: Enhancing the quality, policy, practice and relevance of university education in Africa in the context of environment, sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

MESA Achievements

  • An Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Innovation’s Toolkit short course developed and implemented by partners (to strengthen capacity to establish ESD innovations in universities);
  • Regular seminars for students, university leaders and policy makers – platforms to report on and share ESD innovations associated with their respective university’s (research, teaching and community engagement);
  • Successful engagement in North-South dialogues and South-South dialogues;
  • To contribute to the knowledge generation within UNEP’s seven priority thematic areas and other contemporary environmental and sustainability issues, risks and challenges;
  • Supported the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) environmental action plan and the objectives of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment through strengthened capacity for sustainable development through ESD initiatives;
  • Helped African countries make progress towards, and attain, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through ESD efforts;
  • Conceptualized and integrated MESA activities into The LEAD Network in Africa programme Implementation of the Unit-Based Sustainability Assessment Tool;
  • Strengthened the voice of African students in ESD decision making;
  • Successful trained over for 45 African journalists on Millennium Development Goals and environmental reporting - Environmental Reporting for African Journalists' Handbook;
  • Provided countries with new opportunities to incorporate ESD into education reform efforts; and
  • Established linkages with Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE’s) in Education for Sustainable Development in Africa.
MESA Publication
  • Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African Universities: Stories of Change

  • Useful MESA Links
  • 5th Africa Environmental Education and Training Action Plan Consultative Meeting - April 2014
  • African Environmental Education & Training Action Plan (AEETAP) Review Meeting - May 2013
  • Audio Files
  • Sub-Saharan Africa Statement on Education Post-2015 - Kigali Statement