Following the Johannesburg Summit, the UNDESD was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as a ten-year period for education action beginning on 1 January 2005. UNESCO was designated as the lead agency in the promotion of the DESD. DESD seeks to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning, in order to address the social, economic, cultural and environmental problems we face in the 21st century. The effectiveness of the UNDESD will depend on the strength and inclusiveness of the partnerships, networks and alliances that develop among stakeholders at all levels.

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Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development

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The DESD at a glance

Purpose of UNDESD The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development is a complex and far-reaching undertaking. The environmental, social, and economic implications are enormous and touch many aspects of life of the world’s population. The overall goal of the DESD is to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. This educational effort will encourage changes in behaviour that will create a more sustainable future in terms of environmental integrity, economic viability, and a just society for present and future generations. The basic vision of the DESD is a world where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from education and learn the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation. The primary goal for the DESD is laid out in the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 59/237 in which the General Assembly “encourages Governments to consider the inclusion … of measures to implement the Decade in their respective education systems and strategies and, where appropriate, national development plans”. Furthermore, the General Assembly “invites Governments to promote public awareness of and wider participation in the Decade, inter alia, through cooperation with and initiatives engaging civil society and other relevant stakeholders, especially at the beginning of the Decade”. (UNESCO, 2005, International Implementation Scheme) Four Major Thrust of DESD - Promoting and improving quality education; Four Major Thrust of DESD - Reorienting existing education to address Sustainable Development; - Building public understanding and awareness; - Providing practical training.

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