Cambodia MoEYS organised a national consultation on ESD for 2030 Country Initiative

As a follow-up to the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development held on 17-19 May 2021, and in line with the Berlin Declaration, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Cambodia and the UNESCO Phnom Penh Office co-organized a national consultation on ESD for 2030 on 5 July 2021. Over 180 participants from MoEYS, concerned government ministries, development partners, representatives from NGOs, universities, education institutes took part in the online event.

The national consultation discussed the needs, achievements, challenges, available resources and concrete implementation plans of the new ESD for 2030 framework and agreed on the Country Initiative for ESD 2030 around its five Priority Action Areas, namely (1) Advancing policy; (2) Transforming learning environments; (3) Building capacities of educators; (4) Empowering and mobilizing youth; and (5) Accelerating local level actions. Good practices and country level experiences in ESD were also shared, including the whole-city approach for ESD promotion in Okayama, Japan.

In his remarks, Mr. Sardar Umar Alam, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Cambodia, commended the country’s efforts and commitment in moving towards the digital economy and digital learning, which was evident even before the onset of COVID-19 pandemic. He said that we are witnessing the deployment of digital solutions at different levels to meet the demands of the new normal, and that the rapid digital transformation in the education system is an opportunity we cannot miss. While Cambodia is blessed with rich natural resources and heritage, he reminded participants that the country is among the most vulnerable countries to climate change, adding that through technology-enabled and innovation-driven green growth, Cambodia will be able to achieve greater resilience to climate change, natural hazards and extreme weather events. Noting that ESD is gaining momentum in Cambodia through the development and adaptation of ESD policies and integration of ESD in curricula., Mr. Sardar Umar Alam mentioned the need to upscale this success and mainstream ESD so that all learners can be active agents in the survival of our planet.

H.E Dr. Hang Chuon Naron, Minister of Education, Youth and Sport highlighted the importance for all to better understand Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), and appreciated the progress made in the implementation of ESD in the country. His Excellency mentioned that the recent global and regional discussions have established key framework to help each country finalize ESD country initiative and action plan based on its five Priority Action Areas mentioned above and encouraged all stakeholders to help support and involve in this work and specially to continue to work closely with UNESCO, the lead ESD coordinating agency.

Summarizing the outcomes and the ways forward, His Excellency Dr. Nath Bunroeun, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, reiterated that “ESD means we need to main resilience to climate change and that ESD needs to be integrated in to education policies and curriculum”. Equally important, he said, is to encourage youth participation and community involvement, promote lifelong learning centers and increase cooperation with stakeholders in raising awareness and promoting ESD. The preparation of ESD country initiative in partnership with various actors is definitely a step in the right direction.