06.03.2012 - Education Sector

Universities mobilize for green societies: Higher Education Sustainability Initiative for Rio+20

© Thomas Kölsch / PIXELIO - (www.pixelio.de)

Higher Education Institutions around the globe have a crucial role to play in designing the “Future We Want”. In the lead up to the conference, UNESCO, together with other UN agencies collaborating with university networks invites leaders of the international academic community to sign a declaration, committing themselves to developing sustainable practices for Universities.

Twenty years after the world adopted a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection at the Earth Summit in Rio 1992, the declaration has been prepared to highlight the special responsibility of Higher Education Institutions to promote development through research and learning.  

Leaders of the academic community around the globe are called upon to commit themselves to fostering research and teaching on sustainable development issues, greening their campuses and engaging with international frameworks such as the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development for which UNESCO is the lead agency. 

Education for sustainable development aims at enabling everyone to acquire the values, competencies, skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to building more sustainable societies. This implies revising teaching content to respond to global and local challenges. It should also promote participatory teaching methods that allow students to acquire skills such as interdisciplinary thinking, integrated planning, understanding complexity, cooperating with others in decision-making processes, and participating in local, national and global processes towards sustainable development.

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