Education for Sustainable Development

With a world population of 7 billion people and limited natural resources, we, as individuals and societies need to learn to live together sustainably. We need to take action responsibly based on the understanding that what we do today can have implications on the lives of people and the planet in future. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) empowers people to change the way they think and work towards a sustainable future.

UNESCO aims to improve access to quality education on sustainable development at all levels and in all social contexts, to transform society by reorienting education and help people develop knowledge, skills, values and behaviours needed for sustainable development. It is about including sustainable development issues, such as climate change and biodiversity into teaching and learning. Individuals are encouraged to be responsible actors who resolve challenges, respect cultural diversity and contribute to creating a more sustainable world.

There is growing international recognition of ESD as an integral element of quality education and a key enabler for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the global community for the next 15 years include ESD. Target 4.7 of SDG 4 on education addresses ESD and related approaches such as Global Citizenship Education. UNESCO is responsible for the coordination of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD.

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