UNESCO-Japan Prize for ESD

UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development

The UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for sustainable development, funded by the Government of Japan, consists of three annual awards of USD 50,000 for each recipient. It was awarded for the first time by the Director-General of UNESCO in November 2015.

The Prize and award winners recognize the role of education in connecting the social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It was established by the Executive Board of UNESCO at its 195th session within the framework of the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD and officially announced at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD (10-12 November 2014, Aichi-Nagoya, Japan).

Following the Executive Board's decision 207 EX/10.III.B in November 2019, the Prize was renewed. In the renewed cycle, the Prize will be managed for a period of six years (2020-2025) and will be awarded once per biennium (i.e. 2021, 2023 and 2025). 

Selection process

Following the Executive Board's decision 207 EX/10.III.B in November 2019, the Prize was renewed, In the renewed cycle, the Prize will be managed for a period of six years (2020-2025) and will be awarded once per biennium (i.e. 2021, 2023 and 2025). 

    Who can be nominated?

    Institutions, organizations or other entities engaged in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Nominations must focus on a specific ESD project or programme of the nominee, meeting the eligibility criteria.

    Who can submit nominations?

    Nominations can be submitted to the Director-General of UNESCO by Governments of Member States via their Permanent Delegation to UNESCO, and by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO. Each Permanent Delegation or NGO can make up to three nominations for any edition of the Prize. Self-nominations are not accepted.

    How to submit nominations?

    1. Complete the online nomination form

    The nomination form must be completed online in English or French via a dedicated platform (for nominating entities only - the fields of the nomination form are described in the explanatory note). (for nominating entities only - the fields of the nomination form are described in the explanatory note).

    • Nominations must be completed online by the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO of the concerned Member State, or by an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO.
    • It is possible for National Commissions to UNESCO to access and complete the online form. However, any nomination by a National Commission will need to be submitted by the Permanent Delegation to UNESCO of the respective Member State. An automatic notification message will be sent to the official e-mail address of the Delegation to this end.
    • If a National Commission or Permanent Delegation to UNESCO wishes that the form be completed electronically by the nominees, UNESCO can provide the nominees an access to the platform. A request should be sent to esdprize@unesco.org. After completion of the online form by the nominee, the concerned National Commission and Permanent Delegation will receive a notification e-mail and can review the nomination before the Permanent Delegation submits to UNESCO.
    • Attention should be paid to presenting the project/programme of the nominee in a clear and structured way, following the instructions given in the form.
    • All supporting material (e.g. publications, photos, videos) must be transmitted electronically through the online system.
    • While completing the form, please also keep in mind that the project/programme will be assessed by the Jury on the basis of the selection criteria.

    2. Submit the online nomination form

    • Nominations have to be submitted in the online system by the concerned Permanent Delegations to UNESCO or the NGO by midnight of 30 April 2021 (UTC+1, Paris time).
    • Kindly note that each Permanent Delegation or NGO may not submit more than three nominations.

    The three Prize winners are selected by the Director-General of UNESCO on the basis of recommendations made by an international independent jury consisting of five experts.

    The project/programme of the nominee are assessed by the Jury on the basis of the following criteria:

    • Transformation

    The project/programme practices Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as transformative education in support of sustainable development, , leading to individual and social change.

    ESD empowers learners to transform themselves and the society they live in. The nominated project/programme should therefore enable learners to bring about changes with a view to building a more just, peaceful and sustainable world. This can mean, for example, taking action against climate change, changing one’s consumption patterns, developing social entrepreneurship and sustainable livelihoods, or supporting those struggling against poverty.

    • Integration

    The project/programme addresses the three dimensions of sustainable development (society, economy, environment) in an integrated way.

    Sustainable development calls for the integration of the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development. The nominated project/programme should be in line with this definition of sustainable development. It should address the three dimensions (society, economy, environment), and help learners understand the interdependence between them and act accordingly.

    • Innovation

    The project/programme demonstrates an innovative approach to ESD.

    Sustainable development requires going beyond ‘business as usual’ and ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. The nominated project/programme should demonstrate an innovative approach to ESD, be it in the themes it covers, the methodology it employs, or the way the learning environment is designed. Reaching out to sectors beyond education and working with new partners can also be a sign of innovation.
    In addition to these three criteria, the project/programme should:

    • be ongoing and have been running for at least four years
    • show a presence of evidence of results and have a high impact relative to the invested resources
    • be replicable and scalable
    • contribute to one or more of the five priority action areas of the ESD for 2030 framework.

    The five members of the independent UNESCO International Jury for the Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) have been selected and appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO. The jury will meet to assess the nominations and formulate the recommendations to the Director-General of UNESCO.

    UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development: the laureates for 2021
    Education for sustainable development: a roadmap