child raising hands

Young people between 15 and 24 make up nearly 20 per cent of the world’s population and are eager to take part in decisions and actions for sustainable development; the future of the world is, after all, their future.  

Although youth are often thought of as targets for ESD programmes, they are also active partners in creating a more sustainable world and effective ESD programmes. The DESD thus offers opportunities to:

  • enhance the active participation of young people in community actions leading to sustainable development;
  • promote among young people a healthy lifestyle, social tolerance and non-violence;
  • promote gender-sensitive socialization and education and empower young people, particularly girls, to participate in society and national development.

The Bonn Declaration, adopted at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in 2009, recognizes the importance of youth to ESD. It is vital to involve youth in the design and implementation of ESD, to engage their organizations’ and networks’ commitment, solidarity and potential in enhancing ESD as well as to foster young people’s ownership of the ESD agenda.


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