Four thrusts of ESD

ESD has four thrusts or areas of emphasis:  

Improving access and retention in quality basic education

Enrolling and retaining both girls and boys in a quality basic education is important to the well-being of individuals over their lifetime and to the society in which they live. Basic education should focus on learners gaining knowledge, skills, values and perspectives that encourage sustainable livelihoods and support citizens to live sustainable lives. 

Reorienting existing educational programmes to address sustainability

Rethinking and revising education from early childhood education to university to include knowledge, skills, perspectives and values related to sustainability is essential. The students of today need to be able to solve the problems of tomorrow. Unfortunately, such solutions are rarely found within existing textbooks and educational practices. Therefore, students must also develop creativity and problem-solving skills to create a more sustainable future.  

Increasing public understanding and awareness of sustainability

Achieving the goals of sustainable development requires citizens who are knowledgeable about sustainability and the actions needed to reach sustainability goals. Such citizens will require widespread community education and responsible media committed to encouraging lifelong learning in an informed and active population.  

Providing training

All sectors of society can contribute to sustainability. Both public and private sector employees should receive ongoing vocational and professional training infused with the principles of sustainability, so that all sectors of the labour force can access the knowledge and skills necessary to make decisions and perform their work in a more sustainable manner.


Related links

University Leaders for a Sustainable Future – gateway for capacity development

Institute of Green Professionals (IGP)

Related documents

2009 ESD World Conference Workshop 22: Developing Skills and Labour Force Competencies including TVET in Support of Sustainable Development

Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 (Promoting Education, Public Awareness & Training)

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