13.12.2016 - Education Sector

Education for sustainable development at heart of new Mediterranean Action Plan

© MEdIES

“The planet is for all and the Mediterranean is our Oikos (Greek for ‘house’)”, is the motto of the new Mediterranean Action Plan for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) adopted by ministries of education of fourteen countries and five international organizations including UNESCO.

The strategy was presented at a conference held in Nicosia, Cyprus from 8 to 9 December 2016 and lays the ground for using education to address the challenges to sustainable development in the Mediterranean region. These include ecological threats such as droughts, floods and storms due in part to climate change, as well as economic crises, conflicts and the intensive flow of refugees.  

Focus on education for displaced people

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, stated in her opening video message that “With the Mediterranean as a key area concerned by migrations and displacements, it is critical that the Mediterranean ESD Action Plan include a focus on providing lifelong learning opportunities for displaced people and refugees.”

All countries have identified ESD as a top priority, but it is still unevenly introduced and implemented in the region. To counter this a visionary and progressive policy document, the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (MSESD), was adopted. The Action Plan will assist countries in setting the MSESD in motion through regional cooperation and concrete programmes supporting research, policy and practice in ESD.

The Action Plan further aims to reinforce cooperation among education and other ministries to increase research on ESD in the region.

Julia Heiss, ESD Team Leader at UNESCO, concluded “Global agendas are moving ESD from the margins to the centre and so is the Mediterranean region”

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