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Future of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

A Framework for ESD beyond 2019

In 2014, the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) came to an end. As the follow up, UNESCO launched the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development held in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan. It was for an initial phase of five years (2015-2019). To build on the efforts made by the Decade for advocacy and awareness raising, the GAP, acknowledged by the UN General Assembly as the official follow-up to the Decade, focused on the scaling up of actions on the ground. Policy, education institutions, educators, youth and local communities were identified as five Priority Action Areas for implementation.

The 5-year timeframe of the GAP is due to end in 2019. To build a post-GAP vision, a draft position paper has been prepared through a series of experts’ meetings as well as a desk review of related literature and results of the mid-term GAP implementation.

This draft proposal for ESD beyond 2019 has been prepared through expert symposia, a Member States consultation with over 270 government representatives and experts from 116 Member States (July 2018, Bangkok) and stakeholders’ consultations (April-Oct 2018).

The proposal on the draft framework on ESD entitled “Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs (ESD for 2030)” (206 EX/6.II) was reviewed and adopted by the 206th session of the Executive Board, and will be submitted to the 40th session of General Conference and the 74th session of the UN General Assembly.



  • Continued support to all ESD activities that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs, even without explicit reference to the SDGs
  • ESD can enhance the understanding of learners and the general public on sustainable development through communication and advocacy in educational settings with explicit reference to the SDGs
  • ESD can promote critical and contextualized understanding of the SDGs by raising questions on the inter-linkages and tensions among different SDGs and providing learners with opportunity to practice balancing act


Launch of ESD FOR 2030 FRAMEWORK

The ESD for 2030 framework will be launched at a Global Launch Conference, organized by UNESCO and hosted by the Government of Germany, to be held 2-4 June 2020 in Berlin, Germany --- subject to the approval of the framework by the 40th UNESCO General Conference in November 2019.


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Related pages


Education for
Sustainable Development

Global Action Programme
on ESD