Education for Sustainable Development in Brazil

© UNESCO/Nelson Muchagata

Education for Sustainable Development allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.The scale and diversity of its natural resources make Brazil a key country in terms of environmental preservation and sustainable development.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed the International Decade of Education for Sustainable Development for the period 2005 – 2014, which was approved during its 57th Session, in December 2002. UNESCO is the lead agency for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) to promote this decade and to set quality standards in education for sustainable development. The overall goal of the Decade is to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning.

Education for Sustainable Development means including key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning; for example, climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and sustainable consumption. It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development. Education for Sustainable Development consequently promotes competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way. 

It requires far-reaching changes in the way education is often practiced today.  This educational effort will encourage changes in behaviour that will create a more sustainable future in terms of environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society for present and future generations. This represents a new vision of education, a vision that helps people of all ages to better understand the world in which they live, addressing the complexity and interconnectedness of problems such as poverty, wasteful consumption, environmental degradation, urban decay, population growth, health, conflict and the violation of human rights that threaten our future.

The UNESCO Office in Brazil plays a primary role in promoting the International Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The preservation of the threatened heritage will only be possible with the comprehension and the shared responsibility of different generations.  It is crucial to continue to support the improvement of national policies on sustainable development issues due to their cross-cutting nature and their impacts on different areas of national life. The impact of public policies implemented may have an effect on a planetary scale. It is important to raise awareness and sensitiveness of the public to the implications of such preservation efforts.


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