Building peace in the minds of men and women

Lessons learned in five years of the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development

16 July 2019

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© UNESCO

Some 60 Key Partners of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) met in Ha Noi, Vietnam, from 4 to 5 July 2019, for a final annual meeting of the GAP Partner Networks under the theme: 'Lessons learned from five years of the GAP'.

The GAP has engaged a broad range of partners to facilitate and support learning and training on ESD since 2015. Comprised of 97 key stakeholders, the GAP Partner Network has served as a forum for peer exchange and support to meet target 4.7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: 'Ensuring that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development'.

The two-day meeting reviewed the achievements and challenges of Key Partners since the GAP began in 2015 and discussed on-going activities of the Partner Networks until the end of 2019.

The findings of the 2015-2018 GAP review were presented in a short publication entitled Education for Sustainable Development: Partners in Action. The report confirms that GAP Key Partners have made continuous progress since the 2017 GAP Mid-Term Progress Report, exceeding their 2019 targets in four out of five Priority Action Areas: policy, learning environments, educators and communities.

'I am impressed by the fact that over one million youth were trained by all the networks together and over 26 million learners were engaged. Incredible stories emerged out of that process and the depth of such training motivated more youth to take action' said Tariq Al-Olaimy, from 3BL Associates (Bahrain), one of the Youth Leaders present at the meeting.

Key Partners have spearheaded innovative pedagogies, expanded ESD beyond the classroom into many other kinds of learning settings, and built new partnerships beyond the education sector. In doing so, they have been able to capitalize on the momentum created by the adoption of the SDGs.

As the GAP comes to an end and the new ESD for 2030 framework (adopted by the 206th Executive Board) starts, partners see greater potential for ESD in non-formal and informal education, and at sub-national and local government levels. More guidance and evidence-based resources will allow them to continue to improve the quality and scope of their actions.

Key Partners also had the opportunity to provide suggestions to UNESCO on elements for the implementation roadmap of the new ESD for 2030 framework, including on issues such as ESD nationwide initiatives, monitoring and evaluation, advocacy and evidence-based research.