International Steering Group

To ensure concerns of different regions are reflected, an International Steering Group (ISG) of twelve ESD experts provides advice to UNESCO and the Government of Japan on the conference preparations. ISG members draw on expertise in diverse fields of education.

The organizers consult the Steering Group among others on the conference objectives, the agenda and expected outcomes as well as on how to best engage stakeholders towards and beyond the 2014 World Conference.

The Steering Group meets annually and provides continuous feedback electronically.

Steering Group Members

Ms Sally ASKER (Australia) launched InSIGHT Sustainability Pty Ltd, a consultancy undertaking ESD related work in the Asia Pacific region, in 2008. She also holds a research position with the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney. Asker has key experience in business innovation for sustainability, and, research, design and evaluation for poverty reduction projects, and, ESD including curriculum design and policy development. Her work focuses on finding solutions to help people better understand and plan for the world in which they live by addressing the complexity and interconnectiveness of current and future issues (including food and energy security, climate change adaptation, health, gender and resource scarcity). Asker previously worked for and with the private sector, research institutions, NGO and civil society organisations, regional organisations, and collaboratively with national, state and local governments.

Mr Gerhard DE HAAN (Germany) is Professor for Future Studies and Educational Research and Head of the Institute for Educational Future Science at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. He has published around 300 publications in the field of ESD, Theory of Culture and Theories of Education. His research interests include: Education for Sustainable Development, Citizenship Education, Future Science, Knowledge Society, Theories and Models of Education. Since 2004, Professor De Haan is Chairman of the German National Committee of the UN-Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

Ms Asma EL-KASMI (Morocco) is Chair holder of the UNESCO Chair for Water, Women and Decision Power established at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco in 2006. El-Kasmi is an international expert in the fields of water, environment and sustainable development. From 2009 to 2012 she was Executive Director of the Arab Water Academy (AWA) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. From 2004-2009 she was in charge of International Cooperation at the National Office for Water in Morocco (ONEP). El-Kasmi served in several leading academic and research institutions in Europe, the United States and Morocco.

Mr Charles HOPKINS (Canada) holds the UNESCO Chair on Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability at York University in Toronto, Canada. He coordinates an international network of teacher education institutions working upon the reorientation of teacher education to address sustainable development. Professor Hopkins played major roles at both the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Johannesburg in 2002; he was an author of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21, the Rio Earth Summit Action Plan on Education, Public Awareness and Training. He is also a member of UNESCO’s Reference Group on the Decade of ESD.

Mr Pascal Valentin HOUENOU (Côte d’Ivoire) is Honorary Dean of the Faculty for Environmental Sciences at Abobo-Adjamé University, Côte d’Ivoire. As founder member and President of the Community of practices on Ecosystem approach to Human Health in west and central Africa, he is the current Deputy Director of the ‘Agence Internationale de la Francophonie’ for west Africa. For 35 years, Pascal V. Houenou was Professor of Inorganic and Environmental Chemistry at the University of Cocody and the University of Abobo-Adjamé, Côte d’Ivoire. Houenou is past coordinator of the Network for Sustainable Development in Africa (NESDA). He is member of UNESCO’s Reference Group on the UN Decade of ESD.

Ms Dorcas Beryl OTIENO OGW (Kenya) is Executive Director of the Kenya Organization of Environmental Education/Foundation of Environmental Education Kenya. She is also a Senior Lecturer at Kenyatta University, School of Environmental Studies. From 2003-2010, Otieno coordinated the Eco-schools program in Kenya and served as Chair of the Board of the Kenyan National Environment Management Authority. Since 2004, she has been a member of the Kenya Steering Committee for ESD. Otieno currently coordinates the Faith Based ESD Network in Kenya and is member of the Greater Nairobi Regional Center for Expertise on ESD’s steering group. From 2004 to 2009, she was a member of the Nile Basin Kenya Country Environmental Education Steering Committee. Otieno received a presidential award of the Order of the Grand Warrior of Kenya for her work in improving environmental management in the Public Sector.

Mr Michel RICARD (France) is Professor and Doctor of Science in Ecology and Biology, currently serving at Bordeaux University where he holds the UNESCO Chair on education, training and research for sustainable development; furthermore, he is President of the French digital university for environment and sustainable development-UVED. For 15 years, Ricard worked at the French Museum of Natural History. He was Chancellor of two French universities, then Director of a professional higher institute on natural resources. Since 2002, he has served as special advisor on ESD attached to the French Prime Minister, Chair of the French Council on Sustainable Development and the French Committee of the UN Decade of ESD. Ricard is member of the UN Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Steering Committee on ESD and Vice-president of the international network Environment and School Initiatives (ENSI). He holds several French awards.

Mr Kartikeya V SARABHAI (India) is Founder and Director of the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), the nodal agency for the UN Decade of ESD in India. Sarabhai was a member of the Indian delegation to the UN Summit on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and Johannesburg in 2002; he was co-author of India’s report for Rio 1992. Sarabhai has served on several committees of the Government of India, including a committee for greening India’s formal education system. In 2012, the President of India conferred Sarabhai with the Padma Shri Award – one of the three highest civilian awards in India – in the Environmental Education Category. As a trustee of the Sabarmati Ashram established by Mahatma Gandhi in 1917 in Ahmedabad, he is also involved in setting up the Gandhi Heritage Portal on behalf of the Government of India.

Mr Teiichi SATO (Japan) is Professor at the Graduate School of International University of Health and Welfare and Honorary Executive Director of the Tokyo National Museum. He is also Vice Chairperson of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO. From January 2003 to October 2006 he served as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Delegate of Japan to UNESCO. Dr Sato was Vice-Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture of Japan from July 1997 to June 2000.

Ms Rachel TRAJBER (Brazil) is consultant in Education for Sustainable Societies and Climate Change Education. She was the education projects coordinator at the Marina Silva Institute in 2012. From 2004 to 2011 she directed the Environmental Education General Coordination at the Brazilian Ministry of Education. Trajber coordinated Brazil’s first National Conference of the Environment for adults at the Ministry of the Environment, and the children/youth conferences (2003, 2006, 2009), as well as the International Children and Youth Conference 'Let's take care of the Planet' in 2010. Prior to that, she directed a small consulting company for business, social and environmental responsibility - Imagens Education. She is founding member of the NGO Ecoar Institute for Citizenship, created after the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio 1992.

Chair of the UN Inter-Agency Committee for the UN Decade of ESD (annual rotation)

The UN Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) for the UN Decade of ESD is a forum of UN agencies that actively promote the implementation of the Decade. The Committee brings together 22 UN agencies: UNESCO, FAO, ILO, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNEP, UNFPA, UN Global Compact, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF, UN-ISDR, UNITAR, UNU, WFP, WHO, World Bank, WTO, UNCCD, UNCBD, UNFCCC and UNDESA.

In 2014, UNU chairs the Inter-Agency Committee.

2014 - UNU: Mr Kazuhiko TAKEMOTO, Director, UNU Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS)

2013 - UNICEF: Ms Stephanie HODGE, Expert in Cross-Sector programming, UNICEF Education

2012 - UNESCO: Mr Alexander LEICHT, Chief, Section of Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO

Ms Laila ISKANDAR (Egypt) was Chairperson and Founding Board Member of CID Consulting, Egypt, awarded "Social Entrepreneur of the Year" at the 2006 World Economic Forum by the Schwab Foundation. Her team has received awards for community based projects for women, youth and children encompassing learning and earning approaches. Iskandar served on the jury to the UNESCO International Literacy Prize and as a resource person on the UN Literacy Decade and ESD. She consulted the Egyptian Minister of Environment on solid waste management issues and worked as Education Advisor for the Canadian International Development Agency and for the USAID-Funded project Girls Improved Learning Outcomes. Ms Iskandar was member of the ESD World Conference Steering Group until she was appointed Minister of State for Environment Affairs, Egypt.

Back to top