Brazil promoting environmental education for all

24 August 2001 Brazil’s new National Programme of Environmental Education is the type of broadly accessible ‘mega-project’ the World Conference on Science encouraged.

‘Progress in science’, the Declaration states, ‘requires various types of cooperation at and between the intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental levels, such as ... international agreements for the joint promotion, evaluation and funding of mega-projects and broad access to them (para. 36).

The National Programme of Environmental Education is one such mega-project. This ambitious Programme has three main aims: to establish facilities and decentralized institutions promoting environmental education; further formal and informal environmental education; and seize the opportunities provided by modern information and communication technologies to exchange experiences and ideas on sustainable practices.

So far, the programme has succeeded in mobilizing state institutions for the formalization of 27 Inter-institutional Commissions of Environmental Education, one for each unit of the federation.

It is also collaborating on the organization of State Forums of Environmental Education and assisting in the elaboration and implementation of 27 State Programmes of Environmental Education and the follow-up to these.

The Programme is supporting the setting-up of ‘State Poles’ with their respective regional nucleus and articulation to the Inter-institutional and State Commissions, as well as the dissemination of sustainable practices developed by these Poles.

Recalling the recommendation in paragraph 44 of the Science Agenda that educational institutions ‘encourage the contribution of students to decision-making concerning education and research’, the Programme plans to structure educational, capacity-building and ‘protectors of life’ campaigns, edit educational publications and create a discussion forum on the Internet for these ‘protectors of life’.


Destined for both the classroom and distance learning are class plans and capacitating courses in environmental education which the Programme will conceive and execute itself.

At the tertiary level, the Programme will be collaborating in the conception and planning of curricula as for masters and doctorate courses in environmental education.

That the Science Agenda should invite UNESCO to promote the establishment of a freely accessible virtual library on sustainable technologies (para. 35) has inspired the Programme to move towards a Brazilian Information System in Environmental Education and Sustainable Practices as a means of exchanging experiences and ideas.

The Programme is currently identifying needs and elaborating the terms of reference for a consultancy to construct and implement the System.

Once the System is up and running, the Programme will promote its integration in each State across the country to ensure common information strategies on environmental education.

The Programme will also conceive and define the contents, themes, periodicity and target-audience of an Electronic Bulletin. It will design and edit both the pilot-edition and subsequent editions of the Bulletin.

As Jorge Werthein, UNESCO’s Representative in Brazil, puts it, ‘The National Programme on Environmental Education is related to the follow-up of the WCS in that it promotes the dissemination of scientific information and the benefits of science’.

Source: UNESCO Brasilia Office: UHRR7@unesco.org