» UNESCO Director-General awards UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development
11.10.2016 - Education Sector

UNESCO Director-General awards UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development


The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, awarded the three winners of the 2016 UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters, Paris on 11 October.

The prize, which is funded by the Government of Japan, was created in 2014 to honour exceptional projects and programmes in the field of ESD. The three laureates for 2016 who receive US$50,000 each are the Centre for Community Regeneration and Development  (CCREAD-Cameroon) from Cameroon, the Okayama ESD Promotion Commission from Japan, and the National Union of Students from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

At the event UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova thanked the Government of Japan for funding the prize and said: “This is the importance of this UNESCO-Japan Prize… to shine light on individuals making a difference… to reward women and men changing the world from the ground-up. Each of these initiatives is innovative. Each sets a powerful example of local action for positive change. Each of them can be taken elsewhere, scaled up, for global and lasting impact.”

H.E. Kuni Sato, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO, who presented the prize with the Director-General, said: “ESD is indispensable for the developing capacity of all people to achieve the SDGs, and thus has a significant role in the entire agenda.”  

Building on success

Mr Hilary Ngide, Director of CCREAD-Cameroon called the prize-winning a “defining moment and … opportunity for intensive planning, consolidation and expansion” of CCREAD’s ESD activities. His organization won the prize for its ‘Integrated ESD schemes in schools and communities in Cameroon’. It targets marginalized youth, women and indigenous communities with workshops on family planning, conflict prevention, environmental protection and climate change adaptation.

The Okayama ESD Promotion Commission was rewarded for its ‘Okayama ESD Project’ which involves a variety of sectors and actors throughout the city of Okayama. It offers activities and training in community learning centres, schools, parks and shopping malls, such as ‘ESD Café’ sessions and ‘ESD internships’. Chairperson Professor Hirofumi Abe said: “We would like to take advantage of the prize to enhance and disseminate our ‘whole-city approach’ across the world.”

The National Union of Students UK (NUS-UK) was recognized for its ‘Green Impact’ programme, which accredits and awards university departments for sustainability efforts. It covers themes ranging from well-being to traditional environmental management. Representing NUS-UK, Ms Melantha Chittenden said: “Our vision is simple: All students, regardless of what they are studying, leave tertiary education equipped and motivated to make society a better place.”

In addition to the award, the three winning organizations will be invited to become key partners of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP), driving the GAP implementation forward in close collaboration with UNESCO.

The call for nominations for the third edition of the prize will be launched in January 2017.


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