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The Africa region launched the DESD and its regional Strategy of Education for Sustainable Development for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSAESD) at the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) Biennial meeting in Libreville, Gabon, in March 2006. Furthermore, the Ministerial Statement of Commitment and Call for Support and Action on the SSAESD underlines the importance of ensuring that ‘African cultures, knowledge systems, languages and ways of life are integrated into frameworks, programmes and activities developed within the Decade’.
In Africa, reorienting education towards sustainable development requires education to be more relevant to the attainment of internationally-agreed development and poverty alleviation objectives. Key challenges are the need to recognize that human development is closely linked to health and well-being, capacity development, knowledge and living standards; that most Africans live in rural areas; and that the impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic remains severe.
Actions taken should develop synergies between schools and communities; realign education with African culture, knowledge and contexts; and stimulate creative thinking that can produce new economic models that benefit more people and social responses to changes in culture, social structures and lifestyles. They should do so by building on ongoing UN initiatives such as Education for All (EFA), the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), the UNAIDS Global Initiative on Education and HIV & AIDS (EDUCAIDS), Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in Africa (MESA) Universities Partnership and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) process.