UNESCO-Japan Prize awarded to three outstanding projects practicing Education for Sustainable Development


The UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development 2018  was awarded by UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Education, Stefania Giannini, and the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO, H.E. Takio Yamada, in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on 9 October.

This was the fourth edition of the Prize, funded by the Government of Japan and created in 2014 to honour outstanding projects and programmes in the field of ESD. The three laureates for 2018 are: the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust (NaDEET) from Namibia; the Let’s Do It Foundation from Estonia; and the Kalabia Education Programme from Indonesia. They were represented by their founders and directors at the award ceremony.

“Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) transforms individuals and societies and empowers them in the face of today’s big global sustainability challenges, such as climate change, migration, inequalities”, said Assistant Director-General Stefania Giannini opening the ceremony. “This prize was established to reward and spread ESD action worldwide.”

H.E. Ambassador Yamada, who presented the award, affirmed: “The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has made ESD even more important, not only as an integral part of the Goal on Education, but also as a key enabler for all the other SDGs.” He said: “I sincerely hope that the exemplary activities of the three prize-winners will further contribute to the world-wide promotion of ESD, and will help realize a sustainable society on our planet.”

Ms Viktoria Keding, Director of NaDEET said: “This award brings global attention to the importance of quality education in reaching the SDGs. We are proud to be part of the growing movement to reach these goals.” NaDEET won the award for its “Centre on NamibRand” which provides hands-on environmental education for youth and community groups deep in the Namib Desert.

The Let’s Do It Foundation received the Prize for its international projects “World Cleanup Day” and “Keep it Clean”, tackling environmental and social problems related to mismanaged solid waste with millions of volunteers around the world. Representing the Foundation, Ms Merili Vares, Head of Global Partnerships and Finance, said: “Thank you for believing in the power of civil society.”

Ms Angela Beer, Founder and Advisor of the Kalabia Education Programme, said: “We hope this is the beginning of scaling the programme throughout Indonesia and will help ensure that all Indonesian youth and communities have access to ESD and are empowered to make sustainable choices.” The Kalabia a 34-metre long ship that travels remote coastal villages of West Papua to bring marine conservation education to local communities.

Each laureate received a diploma, an award and a cheque of US$ 50,000. In addition to the award, the three winning organizations will be invited to become key partners of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP), driving the GAP implementation forward in close collaboration with UNESCO. Ms Giannini said: “The Prize is unique in its approach, as it provides thorough follow-up and long-term collaboration with every laureate way beyond the award ceremony.”

The call for nominations for the fifth edition of the Prize will be launched in January 2019.