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The Millennium Development Goals, adopted in 2000, are the world’s quantitative targets for addressing extreme human deprivation in its many dimensions. The targets range from halving extreme poverty to reducing child and maternal death rates, and countering environmental degradation, all of which should be accomplished by 2015. Education is part of the MDG framework; however, the MDG targets for education are far less ambitious and more restrictive than for example the Education for All agenda or the objectives of the DESD.
There are clear linkages between education, poverty reduction and sustainability. The poor and marginalized are disproportionately more affected by poor environmental and socio-economic conditions. ESD can contribute to sustainable environmental management to improve livelihoods, increase economic security and income opportunities for the poor. Educational responses to poverty need to address the fact that many of the world’s poor do not participate in the formal market economy but in non-formal economies, and many are self-employed entrepreneurs.
Education that is relevant and purposeful has the power to transform people’s lives. ESD has the potential to equip people with skills needed to improve their livelihoods
ESD and Poverty Reduction at UNESCO
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and “second chance” education can create employment opportunities for marginalized groups and at the same time integrate relevant learning skills. TVET can help youth find employment in “green jobs” in alternative energy supply, recycling, agriculture, construction and transportation.
The UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre responds to the need to develop and strengthen TVET worldwide. It manages the UNEVOC Network, an active worldwide network for TVET. Through the network, knowledge and expertise about innovative practices are transferred from one country to another. The network also facilitates the information flow within countries.