The Global Search for Sustainable Schools is being implemented by the multi-stakeholder advisory committee of the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education programme, with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies as the co-ordinating body.

Co-ordinating Team

Simon Gilby, IGES, Japan

Simon Gilby has been with IGES since July 2011. He is the day-to-day lead on the Global Search for Sustainable Schools project under the SLE programme and is also contributing to the monitoring and evaluation of 10YFP projects. He previously worked on ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable Cities Model Cities Programme and has been involved in a diverse range of areas from community based urban sustainability projects, environmental knowledge management, and green growth among others. He received his MA in International Development from the University of East Anglia in 2007 and has worked in a variety of fields most notably business intelligence and education in both the UK and China.

Atsushi Watabe, IGES, Japan

Atsushi Watabe has a strong background in the Sociology of Rural Development, Population Movement, and Migration in the South-east Asian Countries. He is also experienced in monitoring and evaluating environmental policies (in particular climate policies) in the developing countries. He has been engaged in the tasks as follows: Monitoring and Advisory of Indonesia Climate Change Program Loan (2008-2012), Fukushima Action Research (2012-14), UN 10-Year Framework for Sustainable Consumption and Production (2014-), and Policy Design and Evaluation to Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns in Asian Region (2016-).

Implementing Countries


Helio Mattar,  President and CEO at Akatu Institute, holds a degree in Production Engineering from the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Stanford. He has held various senior executive positions over the last years in national and international companies. He served as Secretary of Production Development at the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade, was a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Councils on Sustainable Consumption for 5 years and is a member of the board and committees of several companies and social organizations.

Denise Conselheiro, Education Manager at Akatu Institute, holds a degree in Journalism, law degree and a postgraduate qualification in International Relations. She has over 10 years of experience in developing and executing educational and communications strategies for social and environmental causes, with a focus on human rights and children’s and adolescents’ rights, in organizations such as Amigos da Terra – Amazônia Brasileira, Conectas Human Rights and CEATS/FIA-USP.

Pedro Bernardes, Project Coordinator at Akatu Institute, where he is responsible for developing the activities related to the Search for Sustainable Schools in Brazil, as well as assisting in other education for sustainability initiatives. Pedro holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and is currently completing his Master’s degree in Human Rights. Besides sustainable development, Pedro also has professional background in implementing international cooperation and social impact projects.


Bun Eang Cheab has been the Director of the Environmental Education Department in the MInistry of Environment, Cambodia since 2016.  He is responsible for the development and mainstreaming of environmental education within the education system in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport.  This has involved the creation of an eco-school competition, conducting capacity building measures for teaching staff in order to teach the new generations about sustainability as well as holding public awareness raising events.  Previous to this position he has worked in a variety of areas and departments including the Geospatial Information Service Department, biodiversity conservation, and agriculture and rural development.  

Kyrgyz Republic

Duishenova Jyldyz is the focal point for the Kyrgyz Republic and has been working at the Department of Environmental Strategy and Politics at the State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic (SAEPF KR) since July 2005, previously from 1999 to 2005 she worked at the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the Kyrgyz Republic.
From 2005 to the present, she is a national coordinator for Education for Sustainable Development in the Kyrgyz Republic. She has been engaged in research on ESD, the development of teaching aids for schools and universities to integrate the issues of responsible consumption of production, and also promotes ESD in the education system at all levels, including lifelong learning.
Since 2019, she has been а national coordinator of the project “Promoting a Sustainable Lifestyle by Creating a Network of Sustainable Schools in the Kyrgyz Republic”, which is carried out as part of the Global Search for Sustainable Schools. She was engaged in the preparation and promotion of the project in the Kyrgyz Republic.
She has experience and publications on integrating ESD into education and developing policies on ESD, SCP, climate change, biodiversity conservation etc.


Kleopas Kantika is the Project Support Officer for the Global Search for Sustainable Schools Project Namibia, and is responsible for executing the day-to-day implementation of the project activities. He previously worked at the Namibian Coast Conservation and Management (NACOMA) Project, and has been involved in environmental awareness raising, coordination and capacity building for stakeholders in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) for Namibia’s coast. He also worked with schools on issues of climate change, biodiversity and waste management.

He obtained his Bachelor degree in Geography and Information Studies from the University of Namibia in 2012, and has been involved in various environmental assessment projects, community projects, youth entrepreneurship programmes, and has comprehensive skills in project management.


The Philippine Center for Environmental Awareness and Sustainability, Inc. (PCEAS, Inc.), a company duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2015, is a contemporary in providing environmental, health and safety services.  It is composed of multi-disciplinary experts with a prime goal of providing innovative, cost effective and sustainable solutions through client-based empowerment focused on environmental management programs, research interventions, and environment, health & safety (EHS) training, education and events.

The GSSS Philippines Project Coordinator, Ms. Socorro L. Patindol, has been an environment specialist and safeguards consultant since 1997 and has worked in Asia having been employed within consultancy, government, and multilateral financing institutions. Her expertise includes training, environmental assessment, monitoring, evaluation and audit and she has a wide network of environmental professionals, service providers and regulators as she has working experience in the various parts of the country and in Asia.  Ms. Soc is a trained Lead Auditor for ISO 14001 is highly capable in leading companies in establishing environmental management system and in providing assistance to achieve full compliance and commitments; she also conducts due diligence and environmental site assessments. Similarly, she is highly capable of formulating and implementing environmental programs, such as Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emission monitoring and control, carbon sequestration, coastal resource management, forest ecosystem rehabilitation & enhancement, and pollution control.  A certified trainer, she is also involved in building and enhancing the environmental management capabilities of institutions and individuals, as she can develop designs, modules and manage EHS trainings. 

South Africa

The SA team from the African Conservation Trust, Bridget Ringdahl and Julia Colvin have worked for many years as environmental education practitioners in South Africa. For 10 years Bridget, headed up the Nationally implemented International Eco-Schools programme, Julia worked as an Eco-School facilitator for 4 of these years. The team have also competently managed the Water Explorer programme in South Africa for the full 5 years which has been one of the most successful countries out of the 12, in terms of reach, innovation and supporting the school teams from diverse contexts and backgrounds. In 2017 the Programme won the Water Conservation Award for the Nationally recognized, Enviropaedia awards. In 2019 the Programme was one of the 10 finalists in the International Okayama ESD Awards. We are passionate about the environment and helping teachers and learners to understand environmental issues, empowering them to make a difference. We are dedicated to living more sustainably and are serious about ‘practicing what we preach’ incorporating change practices into our daily lives. This isn’t just a job for us, it is what we love to do!


An environmentally aware Suriname in which everybody handles and cares for our environment in a responsible and sustainable way, is the primary goal of the SUWAMA foundation. SUWAMA was founded on April 15th 2008 by Humphrey Bergraaf and Djina Bergraaf-Sanchit. It is a nationwide operating foundation. Ever since she was founded, SUWAMA committed herself to make Suriname environmentally aware and facilitate where possible, so that we handle our waste, biodiversity, water and energy in a sustainable and responsible manner.
For the last ten years, SUWAMA has successfully executed different environmental projects, to mention some:

  • Nationwide collection of PET bottles by primary schools through the Reduce, Reuse and Recycle program.
  • Environmental Awareness walks through all districts of Suriname in cooperation with the American Embassy in Suriname.
  • The Green School, which was executed nationwide at all 340 primary schools in Suriname. The main goal of the Green School was to positively influence and change the behavior of our youth so that they treat our environment in a sustainable manner;
  • Organic School gardens, which is executed at 6 primary schools with the aim to promote a healthier lifestyle amongst our youth and teach them about the more environmentally sound agricultural methods such as Permaculture and Aquaponics.
  • Mooi Milieu in collaboration with Foundation Care4U. The aim of this project was to create awareness about the importance of our nature and environment, through training of teachers and children at schools for children with disabilities.
  • And many more
    SUWAMA is continuously seeking sustainable and innovative solutions for issues related to the above-mentioned themes. For this reason, she works with different local and international partners. The strategy of SUWAMA is focused on collaboration with partners, so that the responsibility for a sustainable living environment is shared by the whole Surinamese society.


Dr Daniel Babikwa leads the Uganda team implementing the Global Search for Sustainable Schools. He studied Adult Education and English Literature at the University of Dar es salaam.
He later acquired a Master of Arts in Development studies from the same University. He obtained a PhD. in Environmental Education from Rhodes University in South Africa. He won a postdoctoral fellowship at the United Nations University in Japan for one year. His Post-Doctoral research focused on Education and the creation of Sustainable Rural Communities in Uganda
and Japan – a comparative study.
He began his career as a University academic from 1989 to 2007 years at Makerere University, where he started as a teaching assistant and left as a Senior Lecturer. He worked as head of Department and Deputy Director Institute of Adult and Continuing Education. He has been a key player in efforts to mainstream Environment and Sustainable Development issues in the African University, as a part of the UNEP supported MESA programme.
He is currently the Director, District Support Coordination and Public Education at the National Environment Management Authority. His main job is to mainstream Environment and sustainable development issues across Uganda’s Education system. He is also a member of the
National Steering Committee set up by the government of Uganda to oversee the implementation of the ESD Global Action Plan and played a leading role in the development of the National ESD implementation Strategy and Drafting the National ESD policy.
He has written and published a number of articles in Scholarly Journals in addition to Book chapters in the fields of Development Studies Environmental Education, Education for Sustainable Development, Adult Education and Literature.

Viet Nam

Nguyen Tung Lam

Dr Nguyen Tung Lam works at the Institute of Strategy, Policy on Natual resources and environment, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam as a Director of Center for Consultany, Training, and Services. He has been involved in various green growth and low carbon projects that developed and implemented demonstration of green action models for  schools and communities.  He has also good experience in preparing low carbon development scenarios for cities in Vietnam, communities-based adaptation planning. His  recent works has contributed to the implementation of the National Strategy on Climate Change response, the National Determined Contribution (NDC) of Vietnam.  

Observer Countries and Advisors

Information coming soon

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