» Director-General awards first UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development
05.11.2015 - UNESCOPRESS

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

© UNESCO/P. Chiang-Joo

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, awarded the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to Asociación SERES from Guatemala and El Salvador, Jayagiri Centre from Indonesia and rootAbility from Germany, in a ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 5 November.

This was the first edition of the prize, which was created in 2014 to honour outstanding efforts of individuals, institutions and organizations engaged in ESD. The prize is funded by the Government of Japan.

“This prize is a new step forward in the framework of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP),” said Director-General Irina Bokova, arguing that “sustainable development requires new ways of seeing the world, new ways of thinking, new ways of acting.”

The GAP is the follow-up to the United Nations Decade of ESD, intended to make a substantial contribution to the global Sustainable Development Agenda while the UNESCO-Japan Prize was created to support its implementation and raise its visibility.

Hiroshi Hase, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, presented representatives of each of the three organizations with an award of $50,000 during the ceremony and said he hoped “that a variety of ESD activities will be implemented under the Global Action Programme on ESD.

“The projects undertaken by the laureates are going towards putting youth centre stage. All three projects involve a variety of stakeholders and aim to spread the word about innovative new ideas.  I am sure that the laureates' activities will have an enormous impact on the entire world, and I hope that implementation of ESD will greatly contribute to the resolution of global issues.”

“This prize will allow us to further our cause by offering even more young bright minds an opportunity to tackle local sustainability challenges,” said Felix Spira, co-founder of rootAbility, inviting all people in the audience to join them in their quest.

The laureates had the opportunity to present their winning projects earlier in the day during an informal breakfast talk. The German project, rootAbility is rewarded for its “Green Office Model”, whose main actors are university students working with staff to make their institution more sustainable. They learn to run and raise funds for activities such as waste recycling, energy efficiency and sustainable catering.

Jayagiri Centre is recognized for its project “Eco Friendly Entrepreneurship for Youths and Adults”, which encourages people aged 18 to 45 to work with their community to harness local traditions and resources to create products with recycled materials. The project preserves local culture and the environment while promoting rural business initiatives.

Asociación SERES is rewarded for its “SERES ESD Youth Ambassadors” initiative, which trains youth ambassadors to become facilitators of established sustainability programmes. The youth ambassadors then train other young people so as to build community resilience to climate change.

The call for nominations for the 2016 edition of the prize will be launched in January.

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