Educating for a sustainable future: UNESCO side-event at Rio+20 on Education for Sustainable Development

United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

Moving towards sustainable development cannot be achieved by political agreements, financial incentives or technological solutions alone. To safeguard the natural environment and promote greater global equity, we need a fundamental change in the ways we think and act. This can only be achieved if all individuals and societies are equipped and empowered by knowledge, skills and values as well as heightened awareness to drive such change.

The transition towards green economies and societies requires that we educate and train everyone and prepare society at large for such a sustainable future. This entails the comprehensive revision of current curricula, job qualifications and corresponding learning objectives of educational programmes at all levels as well as the development or re-design of relevant professional training and capacity-building.

This side event will advocate for continued attention to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), point out synergies between ESD and the international Education for All agenda and argue for the relevance of ESD to all efforts to achieve sustainable development with a view to post-2015 processes. It will highlight the contribution of ESD to building green societies and economies, paying equal attention to the environmental, economic and social pillars of sustainable development. It will make the case that ESD is crucial for all policy-responses to sustainable development challenges and thus for the implementation of the Rio commitments. On the basis of the latest report on the UN Decade of ESD, to be launched at the event by UNESCO, the lead agency for the Decade, concrete examples and success stories of the Decade from different stakeholders will be showcased.

• Lena EK, Minister for the Environment, Sweden (tbc)
• Shigeharu KATO, Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and Secretary-General of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
• Greg SELINGER, Premier of Manitoba, Canada
• Jeffrey SACHS, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University
• Kartikeya SARABHAI, Director, Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, India
• Rafael ZULLI, secondary school student from Brazil (participant in the Young Masters ESD Programme)
• Thiago SCHLIEPER, secondary school student from Brazil (participant in the Young Masters ESD Programme)
• Chair: Irina BOKOVA, Director-General of UNESCO

Arjen WALS, UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and author of the latest UNESCO report on the UN Decade of ESD, will be invited during the proceedings to give a brief intervention to launch the report and present key findings.


Type of Event Interagency meeting
Start 21.06.2012 18:00 local time
End 21.06.2012 19:30 local time
Date to be fixed 0
Focal point Leicht, Alexander
Organizer UNESCO in association with the Interagency Committee for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development; the Government of Sweden; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan
Contact Section of Education for Sustainable Development
Country Brazil
City Rio de Janeiro
Venue Room T-2, Rio Centro
Permanent Delegation Contact
Major Programme
Language of Event English
Estimated number of participants
Official Website
Link 1 DESD Website
Link 2 UNESCO Rio + 20 website
Link 3
Link 4