UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development 2014

In 2014, UNESCO and the Government of Japan are organizing the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development - Learning Today for a Sustainable Future (10-12 November) on the occasion of the end of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

The 2014 World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development will carry out a stock-taking of the implementation of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and celebrate the Decade’s achievements. The Conference will showcase initiatives, actors, networks and ideas that were stimulated by the DESD. Examples of good practice from all over the world will play an important role in identifying viable approaches to ESD, as well as key areas for future action.

Building on the Bonn Declaration from 2009, the Conference will draw out the relevance of ESD to all efforts to improve the quality of education. It will highlight the role of ESD for the transition to green economies and societies and as a catalyst for cross-sector planning and implementation of programmes in areas such as climate change, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction. It will also address how ESD can help move Sustainable Development policy and action forward to meet different global, regional, national, and local needs.

Reviewing the implementation of the Decade at the Conference will lead to the development of strategies for ESD activities after 2014. With the target date of the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All (EFA) objectives approaching in 2015, and two years after the Rio+20 conference, the Conference will also highlight the relevance of ESD for the next set of global education and development goals. It will make concrete contributions to the post-2014 education and sustainable development agendas.

The Conference will be preceded by Stakeholder Meetings in Okayama, Japan, from 4 to 8 November 2014.  

The meetings will bring together key groups such as UNESCO ASPnet schools, youth and higher education institutions and provide inputs and recommendations to the World Conference on Education

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UNESCO Global Education Conferences

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Jamaica

©UNESCO/Gary Masters
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in Jamaica

In September 2010, UNESCO is convening the first ever World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in Moscow, Russian Federation. This event, which was endorsed by UNESCO’s General Conference in October 2009, follows on and completes the series of landmark international education conferences organised by UNESCO in 2008-2009 on inclusive quality education, education for sustainable development, adult learning, and higher education.

A shared vision ran through these four events and equally inspires the upcoming Moscow conference: one of education systems that encourage inclusion, quality learning, flexibility and innovation. They are anchored in the conviction that education is a right, a foundation for development and that learning happens throughout life.

The conferences offer a unique global opportunity for broad dialogue on educational priorities, and provide guidance to policy-makers and other stakeholders on paths for transforming education systems. Each conference brings together representatives from UNESCO Member States, UN agencies, multi-and bi-lateral cooperation agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector and academia.

In most cases, preparatory regional conferences addressed specific regional concerns, expectations and proposals to bring to the international arena.

Related document
Quality Education, Equity and Sustainable Development
A holistic vision through UNESCO’s four World Education Conferences 2008-2009.


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The Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI)
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The Sixth International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VI) closed with a call for governments to “take forward, with a sense of urgency and at an accelerated pace, the agenda of adult learning and education” and to redouble the efforts to meet adult literacy goals. These policies were laid down in the Belem Framework for Action adopted after extensive negotiations at CONFINTEA VI and which build on the holistic understanding of adult learning and non-formal education established by CONFINTEA V twelve years earlier. The conference was organized by UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning. To know more

" The New Dynamics of Higher Education"

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A global platform for innovative thinking, the World Conference on Higher Education organized by UNESCO will take stock of the changes in higher education and research since the first conference held in 1998. It will address the dynamics shaping the development of higher education and identify concrete actions to meet national development objectives and individual aspirations.  To know more

“The World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade”

31 March-2 April 2009, Bonn, Germany

Bringing together participants from over 150 countries, this conference took stock of achievements during the first half of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Participants exchanged best practices in the field and developed mechanisms for enhanced cooperation in the implementation of the UN decade, especialy focusing on North-South and South-South dialogue and cooperation. The conference was organized by UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO.  To know more

Read the Bonn Declaration

“Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future”

The 48th session of the International Conference on Education 25-28 November 2008 (Geneva, Switzerland)

“Inclusive Education: the Way of the Future” focused on ways of providing education to the hundreds of millions of people around the world with little or no access to learning opportunities. Participants expressed particular concern over the potential impact of the global financial crisis and stressed that education was fundamental to reducing poverty and improving health and livelihoods. Ministers, education experts and representatives of civil society proposed concrete steps to improve education systems and overcoe major obstacles to inclusion. These steps include the development of policies that allow excluded groups access to regular school; the promotion of linguistic and cultural diversity, and equipping teachers with skills and materials to teach diverse populations. To know more

Read the Conference declaration

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