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“No Magic to Attain the Goal” said UNESCO Deputy Director-General to Japanese Students

“New realities call for a new sense of responsibility on everyone’s part, a change in mindset and attitudes,” said Deputy UNESCO Director-General Getachew Engida in an address to 14 Japanese high school students who visited UNESCO on 27 March 2014.

The students were the winners of an essay contest of UNESCO Associated Schools in Japan on: "What I can do to contribute to making our societies sustainable?”.

Congratulating the students, the Deputy Director-General drew attention to the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Aichi-Nagoya and stakeholder meetings in Okayama scheduled to be held in November this year to mark the end of the United Nations Decade of ESD. “It will also mark a new beginning. And we need creative youth like you who are able to develop innovative ideas and take action within your communities to help shape more sustainable societies.”

© UNESCO/P. Chiang-Joo

When a student commented that “people don’t turn off the light and use cars for short distance,” and raised a question “what would be the ideal approach to attain the goal of ESD,” Mr Engida answered: “It doesn’t happen by a magic. It needs everyday engagements from what we consume and wear to how we drink and live day by day. He also emphasised the importance of spreading the concept through peer network in the spirit of Japan’s Ichigo Ichie, i.e. “Doing everything as if it were a once-in-a-lifetime chance.”

© UNESCO/P. Chiang-Joo