Education for Peace and Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education

© Arian Zwegers/Wikicommons

With a world population of 7 billion people and limited natural resources, we, as individuals and societies need to learn to live together sustainably. We need to take action responsibly based on the understanding that what we do today can have implications on the lives of people and the planet in the future. At the same time, while the world may be increasingly interconnected, human rights violations, inequality and poverty still threaten peace and sustainability.

As a response to these challenges, UNESCO through its Global Citizenship Education (GCED) programme works by empowering learners of all ages to understand that these are global, not local issues and to become active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies. 

GCED is a strategic area of UNESCO’s Education Sector programme and builds on the work of Peace and Human Rights Education. It aims to instill in learners the values, attitudes and behaviours that support responsible global citizenship: creativity, innovation, and commitment to peace, human rights and sustainable development.

Another programme, the Sector works on is Education for sustainable development (ESD). ESD aims to help people to develop attitudes and skills, and to acquire knowledge that allows them to make decisions based on benefit to themselves and others, now and in the future, and to put these decisions into practice. 

ESD has been recognized as an integral element of quality education and a key enabler for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is included in the SDG 4 on education under target 4.7 and is considered crucial for empowering everyone to make informed decisions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society for present and future generations.

UNESCO is the lead UN agency for ESD and is responsible for the overall management, coordination and implementation of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD. The GAP focuses on generating and scaling up action, around five priority action areas. These are to advance policy, transform learning and training environments, build the capacities of educators and trainers, empower and mobilize youth and accelerate sustainable solutions at a local level. 

UNESCO Education Sector aims to support key partners, raise awareness and visibility of ESD, advocate ESD at the regional and global level and support Member States in integrating ESD into education plans and programmes.

The Sector recently organized the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on the GAP on ESD and Cities at New Delhi, India from 28-30 November 2017, in partnership with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India and with support of the Government of Japan. Attended by over sixty five participants and city representatives from fifteen countries, the workshop was the third regional workshop on ESD and cities after Europe and Latin America.

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