10.10.2017 - New York Office

UN General Assembly discusses findings from UNESCO’s Report on Education for Sustainable Development


On 9 October 2017, UNESCO presented the report on the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at the United Nations General Assembly.

At the 72nd session of the Second committee of the UN General Assembly (Economic and Financial Committee) representatives of member states and the UN system discussed ways towards the achievement of sustainable development, including the implementation of the international commitments on climate change and agreements on financing for development, as well as efforts for advancing the education for sustainable development worldwide.

As part of the discussions, Ms Lily Gray, Liaison Officer at UNESCO New York, presented the Report on the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development as mandated in the General Assembly resolution 70/209.

The report provides overall information on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 4, and particularly offers a review of the ESD implementation in the framework of the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP). Additionally, the report contains recommendations for ESD implementation in the future, such as promoting sustainable development as a way of life, engaging youth meaningfully, supporting education for values and empowerment, applying technological advancements in education, and broadening thematic focus and scope of partners for ESD.

In her presentation, Ms Gray highlighted that “education is key for building a better and more sustainable future for present and future generations”, and underlined the growing international recognition of ESD as an “integral element of quality education”. Furthermore, she outlined that the ambitious education agenda could only be achieved through strong inclusive multi-stakeholder partnerships and strategic alliances. Introducing the Global Action Programme on ESD as official follow up to the United Nations Decade of ESD, she highlighted its potential in rallying partners and supporting member states in their efforts to integrate ESD into education plans and programs.

Reminding of UNESCO’s leading role in the coordination of the global education agenda, Ms Gray shared that UNESCO had set up a number of partnerships and coordination structures to support its implementation. At the global level, UNESCO established the SDG-Education 2030 Steering Committee, the global multi-stakeholder consultation and coordination mechanism. In June 2017, the third meeting of the Steering Committee took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, bringing together key SDG4 stakeholders to drive a new push for inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning opportunities.

UNESCO’s recent publication Education for Sustainable Development Goals – Learning Objectives was brought to the attention of the participants as a useful guide to educators and policy makers on the integration of the SDGs into the curriculum.

In the following discussion, representatives of member states stressed the importance of education for the implementation of the Agenda 2030, while highlighting the role of partnerships and cooperation mechanisms at all levels. They called for the international community to provide inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels as this “will help learners to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities to participate fully in society and contribute to sustainable development”.

Pursuant to the presentation of the report, the Group of 77 and China will introduce to the Second Committee of the UNGA a new General Assembly resolution on Education for Sustainable Development. Member states will negotiated and adopt the new ESD resolution later this year.

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