Education for Sustainable Development

©Retezat National Park
Nature and Animal life

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while respecting cultural diversity.  It is about lifelong learning, and is an integral part of quality education.  ESD is holistic and transformational education which addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the learning environment. It achieves its purpose by transforming society.  UNESCO, as lead agency for ESD, coordinates the implementation of the Global Action Programme on ESD, as official follow-up to the UN Decade of ESD (2005-2014).

The 2014 UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (10-12 November 2014, Aichi-Nagoya, Japan) marked the end of the UN Decade of ESD. The conference saw the launch of the Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on ESD and of the Roadmap for implementing the Global Action Programme on ESD, as well as the release of the Final DESD Report (and its summary). In addition, the 10YFP Programme on Sustainable Lifestyles and Education (SLE), to which UNESCO contributes, was also launched at the World Conference on ESD.

The Global Action Programme, acknowledged by UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/211, focuses on five priority action areas, considered as key leverage points to advance ESD: advancing policy; transforming learning and training environments; building capacities of educators and trainers; empowering and mobilizing youth; and accelerating sustainable solutions at local level. UNESCO coordinates the implementation of the Global Action Programme and closely works with key partners to generate and scale-up ESD action.

UNESCO advocates for ESD at the global level and provides technical support to Member States on how to put ESD into practice. Key sustainable development challenges such as climate change, biodiversity and disaster risk reduction are important entry points into promoting sustainable development practices through education.

Back to top