Changing the world through education

© UNESCO /M. Hofer (2011)

UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014)

The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development engages people through innovative ways, by focusing on education and training to address the interlinking issues of ecosystems and livelihoods, the interactions of nature with culture, society and economy, and the actions we can take without affecting our quality of life.

Biodiversity is acknowledged as a key issue that needs to be part of awareness-raising, learning and education for a sustainable future. Through quality education in the area of biodiversity, the Decade aims at reorienting educational programmes in order to develop new educational contents and materials; and formulate new learning paths that would take into account the meaning and importance of biodiversity, the drivers affecting its status and trends, and the effect of prevailing consumption patterns on the values, attitudes and behaviors that are needed in order to promote biodiversity.

These actions are central to the Education Sector’s contribution and involvement in the UNESCO-wide Biodiversity Initiative, as well as in the UN Decade on Biodiversity.

Strengthening formal and informal education on biodiversity

Contributing to Priority Action 10 of the Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) programme of work for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 

  • Helping increase public awareness of biodiversity issues, in particular with the UNESCO-CBD Biodiversity Learning Kit developed on the occasion of the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity;
  • Promoting the identification, compilation and exchanges of information, good practices and teaching materials on biodiversity issues, including those of relevance to indigenous and local communities, through various UNESCO networks and in cooperation with other agencies and stakeholders. The networks involved include the UNESCO Associated Schools Network and UNESCO Chairs; and,
  • Addressing the place of biodiversity in sustainable consumption and lifestyles, in particular through the joint UNEP/UNESCO YouthXchange initiative on Sustainable Lifestyles.

Strengthening the educational programmes and outreach of Biosphere Reserves and relevant World Heritage natural sites

  • Providing support to, and enhancing, existing education programmes in Biosphere Reserves and World Heritage natural sites, in particular strengthening ties between teachers, local knowledge holders and community members to enhance the transmission of traditional knowledge within local communities.

Enhancing the interlinks between biodiversity and cultural diversity

  • Enabling concerted action through education in support of biological and cultural diversity, by allowing the environmental, social, economic and cultural dimensions of sustainable development to be addressed in a coherent and comprehensive manner, in schools, within families and communities, through the media, and using a variety of means such as teaching materials, ICT and art.
Back to top