Building peace in the minds of men and women

ESD for 2030 toolbox: priority action areas

The ESD for 2030 roadmap outlines actions in five priority action areas on policy, learning environments, building capacities of educators, youth and local level action, stressing further ESD’s key role for the successful achievement of the 17 SDGs and the great individual and societal transformation required to address the urgent sustainability challenges.

This toolbox provides an evolving set of selected resources to support Member States, regional and global stakeholders to develop activities in support of the five priority action areas and of the six key areas of implementation (country initiatives, ESD network, communication & advocacy, issues & trends, resource mobilization, monitoring).

For further information and suggestions, please contact




Policy-makers have a special responsibility in bringing about the massive global transformation needed to engender sustainable development today. They are instrumental in creating the enabling environment for the successful scaling up of ESD in education institutions, communities and other settings where learning takes place. Policy support is equally important for the formal, non-formal and informal sectors, as well as for the creation of synergies between the sectors. Moreover, advancing policies that support ESD does not only concern the education sector, but all sectors involved in sustainable development.

ESD policy and practice review tool

Education for sustainable development in multilateral frameworks on climate change

ESD is firmly placed in the multilateral frameworks on climate change including in article 12 of the Paris Agreement, and article 6 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Regional strategy


To encourage learners to become change agents who have the knowledge, means, willingness and courage to take transformative action for sustainable development, learning institutions need, themselves, to be transformed. The entire learning institution needs to be aligned with sustainable development principles, so that learning content and its pedagogies are reinforced by the way facilities are managed and how decisions are made within the institution. This whole-institution approach to ESD calls for learning environments where learners learn what they live and live what they learn.

  • Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit
    As communities develop sustainability goals, local educational systems and programs can modify existing curricula or create new programs to reinforce those goals. The ESD Toolkit has proven to be effective for many audiences including national and provincial ministries, non-profit organizations, universities and colleges, teacher educators, school administrators, teachers, municipalities, and government officials.
  • Schools in action: Global citizens for sustainable development A guide for teachers
    The Teachers’ guide provides: An overview of what it means for learners to become global citizens and of how learners can contribute to sustainable development. Ideas for classroom activities that can help secondary school students to develop knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and behaviours that promote GCED and ESD. Selected activities on GCED and ESD from ASPnet schools around the world.
  • Schools in action: Global citizens for sustainable development A guide for students
    An overview of what it means to be a global citizen and of how you can contribute to sustainable development. Ideas for getting active yourself, as part of your home, school, community, country and globally. Selected activities on GCED and ESD from ASPnet schools around the world.

Climate-ready learning environments

Disaster risk reduction

Good practices from UNESCO Associated Schools Network

The UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet) links educational institutions across the world around a common goal: to build the defences of peace in the minds of children and young people. The over 11,500 ASPnet member schools in 182 countries work in support of international understanding, peace, intercultural dialogue, sustainable development and quality education in practice.

ASPnet - a driver for innovation and quality in education - is recognized as an effective tool for reaching target 4.7 on Global Citizenship Education (GCED) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) of Sustainable Development Goal 4 - Education 2030.


Educators remain key actors in facilitating learners’ transition to sustainable ways of life, in an age where information is available everywhere and their role is undergoing great change. Educators in all educational settings can help learners understand the complex choices that sustainable development requires and motivate them to transform themselves and society. In order to guide and empower learners, educators themselves need to be empowered and equipped with the knowledge, skills, values and behaviours that are required for this transition. This includes understanding key aspects of each of the 17 SDGs and their interlinkages, as well as understanding how transformative actions occur and which gender transformative pedagogical approaches can best bring them about.


It is today’s youth and following generations who will be left to face the consequences of unsustainable development. It is their present and future that are at stake. In return, it is young people who are becoming increasingly vocal and active, demanding urgent and decisive change and holding world leaders accountable, in particular to address the climate crisis. They have, and continue to envision, the most creative and ingenious solutions to sustainability challenges. In addition, young people are an important consumer group and the way their consumption patterns evolve will greatly influence the sustainability trajectory of their countries. Empowering and mobilizing young people of all genders, therefore, is a central part of ESD implementation.

  • UNESCO Project Planner: Top Tips for youth action
    If you have identified a problem in your community, and have an idea of how it can be solved or addressed, then you can carry out a project. The Project Planner is divided into six sections that encompass the project cycle, which refers to the different phases of a project.


Meaningful transformation and transformative actions for sustainable development are most likely to take place in the community. It is in their daily lives, at the community level, where learners and people make their choices for sustainable development and act upon them. It is also in the local community where people find partners for their sustainability efforts. This is why active cooperation between learning institutions and the community should be promoted to ensure the latest knowledge and practices for sustainable development are utilized to advance the local agenda.

  • Learning Cities and the SDGs: A Guide to Action
    This Guide to Action highlights concrete approaches to the development of green and healthy learning cities, equitable and inclusive learning cities, and decent work and entrepreneurship in learning cities.
  • Collection of Lifelong Learning Policies and Strategies
    The Collection of Lifelong Learning Policies and Strategies lists abstracts and full-text links to laws, policies, strategies and plans on lifelong learning from UNESCO Member States and intergovernmental organizations.
  • Multi-stakeholder approaches to Education for Sustainable Development in local communities
    The collection of examples found in the publication Multi-stakeholder approaches to Education for Sustainable Development in Local Communities: Towards Achieving the SDGs in Asia embodies this notion of partnership and education for all, demonstrating how people from different walks of life or professional sectors can come together to learn and act in the pursuit of sustainable futures.