Education for Sustainable Development
In a world of 7 billion people, with limited natural resources, individuals and societies have to learn to live together and take responsible actions based on the understanding that actions here and today can have implications for the lives and livelihoods of people in other parts of the world, as well as for future generations.
Empowering learners to live responsible lives and to address complex global challenges means that education has to promote competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way.This calls for new approaches to learning, the development of vibrant green economies and societies, and the emergence of a “global citizenship”.
UNESCO supports countries to build ESD capacities, generate and scale-up actions, focusing on key issues - climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction, water, cultural diversity, sustainable urbanisation and sustainable lifestyles - as entry points for promoting sustainable development practices through education.
It advises policy-makers on how to integrate ESD into education plans and curricula. It develops ESD tools and materials for decision-makers, teachers and students to contribute to making education relevant for today’s world. It also helps link learning in schools to real life experience.
UNESCO encourages reorienting teacher education to ensure that ESD is integrated into teaching practices, for example through the online course for secondary school teachers on climate change education. ESD success stories and many projects of UNESCO Associated Schools are other examples of how ESD works in practice around the world.
The 2014 UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (10-12 November 2014, Aichi-Nagoya, Japan) marked the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014). The conference saw the launch of the Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on ESD and of the Roadmap for the implementation of the Global Action Programme on ESD. The Global Action Programme, endorsed by UNESCO’s 37th General Conference and the 69th session of the UN General Assembly, is intended to make a substantial contribution to the post-2015 agenda.