23.04.2017 - UNESCO Office in Doha

GCC Education for Sustainable Development Workshop in Jeddah

GCC Delegates with Workshop organizers

Within the framework of UNESCO’s commitment to supporting Member States in promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the GCC and as follow up to the ESD Workshop in Jeddah in April 2016, UNESCO Doha with the Jeddah Chamber for Commerce and Industry organized and conducted the Education and Environment Workshop for GCC on 19-20 April 2017 in King Abdullah Economic City in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

One of the primary aims of the workshop was to present the Oman guidelines on green schools initiative and discuss the common trends and issues to come up with GCC guidelines for ESD and green schools.

UNESCO Doha collaborates with the Oman National Commission to develop guidelines on Education for Sustainable Development and Green schools initiative. The final guidelines will be utilized in UNESCO Associated Schools Project and can be used in other countries in the region in Associated Schools of UNESCO activities.The guidelines will also be presented by Ministry of Education and disseminated at upcoming Education conferences in Oman as well as in the Arab States. 

With the primary aim to promote education and environment through programs and activities that promote sustainable development, the workshop had the following objectives:

·to create synergies with various stakeholders including the business sector to come up with common practices as well discuss issues and concerns regarding environment and education ;

·to prepare an outline of reference guide for green schools for the Gulf States;

·to share experiences and initiatives in the field of environment and education; and

·to discuss the need for establishing a GCC guidebook for Green schools. 

Approximately 100 participants attended the workshop from various stakeholders; such as developers and educators in education for sustainable development; non-governmental organizations, the private sector and government sectors, and teachers from schools willing to adopt the green schools initiative. The Jeddah Chamber for Commerce and Industry, UNESCO, UNEP and Jeddah Ministry of Education opened the programme. 

On behalf of UNESCO Doha, Dr. Faryal Khan gave opening remarks and highlighted that education for sustainable development (ESD) provides the necessary knowledge, skills, values and attitudes required by citizens to lead productive lives, make informed decisions, and actively participate in resolving local and global challenges.  She highlighted that the workshop will enable knowledge exchange and develop strategies that will guide policy makers to determine targets and actions for integration of sustainable development education in education delivery. 

The workshop for environment and education provided UNESCO an opportunity to create synergies with various stakeholders to come up with common practices as well identify issues and concerns regarding environment and education.  Below objectives were also met:

·Preparation of reference guidelines for green schools in the Gulf States.

·Initiatives and experiences in the field of environment and education were shared. Specifically, UNESCO Doha facilitated a presentation of the Oman guidelines for Green Schools Initiative.

·Identification of key challenges to inform the preparation of environmental awareness in schools.

The second day of the workshop highlighted the Oman presentation and Jeddah, KSA presentation on their green schools guidebooks followed by a workshop session.The participants were divided into five groups with assigned themes, namely; biodiversity group, building and transportation group, recycling, fresh water, and education environment and curriculum design group.

Each group was tasked to discuss the existing challenges and suggest recommendations around the areas of school leadership and environment, curriculum, procedures, teachers, students and community among other areas. 

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