Significance and Objectives

Why is the 2014 World Conference so important?

The 2014 World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) represents a turning point for ESD.

To achieve sustainable development, political regulations and financial incentives are not enough. A fundamental change is necessary in the way people think and act. The international community has long recognized that education is crucial for bringing about this change.

ESD allows learners to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. ESD means including key sustainable development issues such as climate change and poverty reduction in teaching and learning. It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that empower learners to take action for sustainable development.

The 2014 World Conference pursues the following four objectives:

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1. Celebrating a Decade of Action

What have we achieved, what are the lessons learnt?

The Conference will carry out a stocktaking of the implementation of the UN Decade of ESD and celebrate its achievements.

Success stories of the Decade and good practices from around the world will be showcased. Obstacles encountered and lessons learnt will help to identify key areas for future action.

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2. Reorienting Education to Build a Better Future for All

How does ESD reinforce quality education?

ESD equips learners with the knowledge, skills and values to address social, environmental and economic challenges of the 21st century. In brief, it helps make education relevant today.

Building on the 2009 Bonn Declaration, which states that “ESD is setting a new direction for education and learning for all”, the World Conference will address the important role of ESD in achieving quality education for all.

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3. Accelerating Action for Sustainable Development

How are sustainability challenges addressed through ESD?

Sustainable development cannot be achieved by technological solutions, political regulation or financial incentives alone. It requires a transformation in the way people think and act. ESD addresses the interdependence of environment, economy and society to help effect this change.

The Conference will highlight how ESD can help build green economies and societies and address how ESD can help advance sustainable development policy and action to meet different needs around the world.

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4. Setting the Agenda for ESD beyond 2014

What are the strategies for our common future?

The conference will address the implementation of the draft Global Action Programme on ESD.

With the target date of the Millennium Development Goals and the Education for All objectives in 2015 on the horizon, the timing of the conference is crucial. It will highlight the important role of ESD in informing future global education and development goals.

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