Education – Key to Sustainability
On 7 July, the UNESCO Director-General, Ms Irina Bokova, made the case for education as an essential driver for sustainable development at an event on Education for Sustainable Development and the Role of Agenda 2030, held during Sweden’s Almedalen Week.
The event was organized by the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO, Uppsala University and Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development, with the participation with H.E. Mr Gustav Fridolin, Minister for Education of Sweden and also Eva Friman, SWEDESD. Mats Djurberg, Secretary General of the Swedish National Commission.
Almedalen Week is Sweden’s major annual political gathering of political parties, government and political leaders, as well as media. The week features over a thousand events and includes several tens of thousands of participants.
In a wide ranging discussion with the Minister and the audience, Irina Bokova stated that education is the red thread tying together the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Climate Agreement.
“To mitigate the impacts of climate change, we need greener economies, but most of all, we need greener societies,” she said. “This calls for new ways of seeing the world and behaving as global citizens. This is why education is essential.”
Minister Fridolin stressed Sweden's commitment to education for sustainable development.
"The SDGS are a revolution in how we work, through a comprehensive approach," said the Minister. "With SDG 4 on education as a cornerstone."
The Director-General highlighted the progress achieved with the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), sponsored by Japan and led by UNESCO, with the active support of Sweden.
The International Decade closed with the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, organised by Japan, in 2014, in Aichi-Nagoya – which agreed on the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development that UNESCO is taking forward.
“To move forward, we must integrate sustainable development issues into national education systems and build education into all efforts to promote sustainable development,” said Irina Bokova, underlining the five priorities of the Global Action Plan.
She noted the forthcoming publication on the link between education and all the SDGs.
Eva Friman made a powerful call for integrating ESD deeply at all levels of the education system.
In all this, Irina Bokova underlined Sweden’s leading role in taking forward the 2030 Agenda.
“I am deeply grateful for this leadership and I look forward to deepening it, to lead flagship projects for the Global Action Programme and monitor progress -- we need to act now, and move forward together."
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