Education for sustainable development is such a broad endeavour that it requires the full involvement of many different educational organizations in governments and civil society. Within civil society, numerous non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are involved in ESD.
Many NGOs around the world have woven sustainability into their existing programmes or created new ones in response to the DESD. NGOs bring with them expertise, networks, human and financial resources, time and energy - all of which are desperately needed in the global ESD effort. Many NGOs are involved in ESD work in the non-formal education sector, serving people outside formal educational systems. Some NGOs provide educational experiences to students in formal educational systems to provide additional resources (e.g. hands-on science, field trips, audio-visual and teaching resources).
NGOs have greatly influenced the success of countries in responding to the DESD. Hence, UNESCO enhances the role of civil society – including NGOs and networks – through organizing meetings and promoting exchanges.