What challenges the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development?

Will Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) remain a mere slogan, or can it be turned into reality? Active citizenry and knowledge of challenges and pitfalls are essential. Here are four main challenges to address in order to make change happen.

  • Going beyond environmental education

Sustainable development is not just environmental education. Developing adequate teaching contents is, thus, a challenge. Actions to tackle this include the e-learning module Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future.

  • What resources do we have for ESD? Drawing up an inventory…

Many countries have existing programmes. Identifying, evaluating and disseminating this information is key for ESD integration into national plans.


  • Making the media an ally

A responsible media is critical for disseminating the SD message. Actions include the publication of Media as partners in education for sustainable development: A Training and Resource Kit (2008).

  • Establishing partnerships and creating synergies

No institution, even at a global scale, can manage to achieve the goals of sustainable development on its own. Read about roles within the international implementation scheme. 


Can we reverse the cycle?

ESD enables people to make informed and responsible decisions and actions. These new ideas and practices can counter the

·   rise in temperatures

·   deterioration of ecosystems

·   loss of biodiversity

·   rising sea levels

·   increase in severe weather events and

·   growth in heat-related illnesses.

However, SD is best promoted in specific social and governance contexts. It’s social! 




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