The overall goal of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) was to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. This educational effort encouraged changes in behaviour that created a more sustainable future in terms of environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society for present and future generations.
UNESCO was the lead agency for the DESD. In this function, UNESCO coordinated the efforts of the various UN agencies, programmes and organizations related to the DESD.
Through its DESD coordination role, UNESCO worked to:
- catalyze new partnerships with the private sector, with youth, and with media groups;
- encourage monitoring and evaluation;
- encourage development of a research agenda and serve as a forum for relevant research on ESD;
- serve as a forum for bringing together important stakeholders in the Decade such as representatives of Member States and key multinationals, faith-based institutions, youth associations, indigenous people, etc.;
- share good ESD practices;
- link Member States that have put in place ESD curricula, policies, research, etc. with those Member States that are requesting help;
- convene flexible working groups on particular topics;
- fulfil its strategic role with regard to ESD.