Asia and the Pacific
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The regional DESD implementation strategy for the Asia-Pacific region was presented at the Asia-Pacific DESD Regional Launch in Nagoya, Japan, in June 2005. UNESCO Bangkok facilitated the drafting and finalization of the strategy, based on the results of a regional ESD situational analysis. It is an open document that is adaptable for revision according to the changing needs of stakeholders and emerging issues in the region throughout the Decade.
A Pacific ESD Framework, serving as the coordinating mechanism for the implementation of ESD in the Pacific, was endorsed by the Pacific Education Ministers Meeting in Nadi, Fiji, in September 2006. It acts as an umbrella for coordinated and collaborative action to achieve the region’s vision to integrate and mutually reinforce the four dimensions of sustainable development. The development of local ownership respecting local context and culture is an important aspect of implementation of ESD at all levels.
Challenges faced by the Asia-Pacific region include political and economic crises as well as natural disasters. Development strategies will have to integrate climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and address the issue of food insecurity. Climate change is an entry point with truly cross-sectoral political engagement and willing partners. Gender equality provides an invaluable perspective on the systemic changes needed to address unsustainable approaches. Similarly, integrating disaster prevention and preparedness into national policies is an entry point to reforming education systems. Technology and research exchanges in this area have allowed for great cooperation among countries in the region.
Asia-Pacific countries are beginning to identify clear thematic national SD priorities, building inter-ministerial support and discussing financing while numerous efforts by diverse entities are underway at the project level, such as curriculum development, implementation evaluation, networks, etc.
Issues that remain to be dealt with in the Asia-Pacific Region include ethnic, religious and linguistic barriers, loss of indigenous and traditional knowledge, low adult literacy rates and unachieved universal primary education, the need for increased financial support in education and marginalization. However it is also important to take action in areas such as social equity and environmental pollution in fast-growing economies of the region. These matters must be considered when interpreting ESD progress and planning activities in the region.