ESD across the World
These documents highlight developments of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) which are only a small reflection of the extraordinary number of activities, events, networks and support for the DESD from countries, regions, civil society, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and stakeholders from all over the world.
Progress Report by the Director- General on the UNDESD (presented at the 177th Session of the UNESCO Executive Board)
UNESCO, August 2007
Progress to date on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
UNESCO, April 2007
Progress to date on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
UNESCO, January 2007
ESD Decade Progress Report: Highlights from UNESCO
UNESCO, September 2006
International Launch of the UN DESD
1 March 2005; New York, USA
Education for Sustainable Future
International Conference; 18- 20 January, 2005; Ahmedabad, India
Fourth International Conference on Environmental Education
24- 28 November 2007; Ahmedabad, India
Official Launch of DESD in Africa
27– 31 March 2006; Libreville, Gabon
Statement of commitment and call for support and action in the implementation of ESD in Sub – Saharan Africa.
ESD Strategy for Kenya
Ist Africa Expert Meeting for the UNDESD organized by UNESCO Nairobi and UNEP
11 – 12 October 2005; Nairobi, Kenya
Learning for Sustainable Living: An Education for Sustainable Development Resource for Schools
Developed by the Royal Society for Protection of Birds and BirdLife International and implemented in South Africa, The Seychelles and Sierra Leone
Africa Regional Initiatives
The Africa region launched the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) and its regional Strategy of Education for Sustainable Development for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSAESD)at the biennial meeting of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) at Libreville, Gabon, on 27-31 March 2006. The Ministerial Statement of Commitment and Call for Support and Action on the SSAESD underlines the importance of ensuring that “African cultures, knowledge systems, languages, ways of life are integrated into frameworks, programmes and activities developed within the Decade”.
Eastern Africa Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Network
UNESCO-Nairobi is spearheading an Eastern Africa Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Network to support DESD and ESD activities in the Eastern Africa sub-region. This was launched with government representatives from six countries in the region. These include Burundi, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, and Uganda. The ESD Network is a collaboration with National ESD Steering Committees and stakeholders in member countries of the sub-region. It intends to create an Eastern Africa Learning Space for Sustainable Development by translating the objectives of the Decade into the context of local communities in the sub-region. The Network's focus is on policy dialogue and strategic planning; vision-building, advocacy, public awareness; partnership-building; information-sharing such as exhibiting 'best ESD practices' and innovations; training and capacity-building; resource mobilization; research, monitoring and evaluation.
The Network has also set-up a clearinghouse to compile and share a database of expertise in the region, facilitate exchanges and cross-border dialogue and linkages to the global ESD learning space.
Southern Africa sub-region
The Southern African Development Community's (SADC) Food, Natural Resources and Agriculture Directorate commissioned a regional consultation process to mobilise support for the UNDESD through its SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme. This involved country-based consultations in 14 southern African countries with major ESD Stakeholders (Ministries of Education, Environment and Natural Resources, Health, Energy, national NGOs, UNESCO country offices etc.) to establish possibilities for participating in the UN DESD. The countries include Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe. This has led to the development of 4 consultation reports providing useful baseline information and inputs into the UN DESD. The reports were released in November 2006 and are available on the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme website www.sadc-reep.org.
Southern African Guidelines for Participation In The United Nations Decade Of Education For Sustainable Development
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been in existence since 1980, when it was formed as a loose alliance of nine majority-ruled States in Southern Africa known as the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), with the main aim of coordinating development projects in order to lessen economic dependence on the then apartheid South Africa. The founding Member States are: Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Guidelines for Participation in the UN Decade for ESD were developed through a broad-based consultative process involving local level consultations, a series of national level workshops in each country with key stakeholders; as well as international consultations over a two month period (July - August 2005). The guidelines serve as a regional level document, but can be applied to strengthen policy and practice at national and local levels. The guidelines draw on local, national and regional level experience and examples of practice, and will be developed for all sectors involved in education, training and development practices to further the aims of sustainable development in southern Africa.
The SADC Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate commissioned the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme to lead the process of developing the guidelines. In line with the UN Decade of ESD Implementation Plan, a range of educational groups and sectors active at all levels contributed to the guidelines. These include health education, gender education, environmental education, economic education, agricultural education, as well as groups concerned with Education for All and Literacy education, as these are all crucial areas for ensuring a more sustainable future for southern Africans.
The website www.sadc-reep.org provides the formats and guidance on local consultation in the form of a consultation tool kit, available in English, French and Portuguese. The website provides an interactive forum for ESD practitioners to share case examples and discuss on issues of concern to them.
South Africa DESD Framework for Action
The South African government (Department of Education) has initiated development of a Framework for Action for DESD.
Windhoek Southern Africa ESD Sub-regional Meeting, 27-30 November 2006
The sub-regional meeting organized by the UNESCO Headquarters and its offices at Dakar, Windhoek and Harare, with financial support from the Japanese ESD Funds-in-Trust, discussed and clarified the multi-sectoral dimensions of ESD, as related to environmental, economic, social, cultural and political issues and their implications for education (curriculum development, materials production, teacher training and policy making) in the Windhoek and Harare cluster countries. The meeting emphasised on the synergies between the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Education for All (EFA), United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD), Education for HIV and AIDS (EDUCAIDS) and the African Union Second Decades of Education in Africa. The need to view these frameworks as complementary, and not as parallel or contradictory mechanisms was highlighted. UNESCO’s role in fostering the understanding of that link among policymakers and practitioners was viewed as crucial. The participants made a strong commitment to initiate or join in concrete Action Plans at national levels with support from their governments, the SADC Secretariat, UN agencies, the private sector, NGO and bilateral development partners. Each country agreed to identify a focal point and a lead institution for implementing DESD Action Plans. Participants also expressed the need for a monitoring and evaluation mechanism and the development of ESD indicators for the African Region.
Projects and Initiatives
Mainstreaming Environmental Education in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa (MESA)
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) together with its partners, drawing on experience gained from previous programmes of working with universities in Africa , and with universities worldwide, is supporting a partnership programme to mainstream environment and sustainability concerns into the teaching, research, community engagement and management of universities in Africa:
The MESA (Mainstreaming Environment & Sustainability into African Universities) Partnership includes the following:
• An Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Innovations short course developed and implemented by partners (to strengthen capacity to establish ESD innovations in universities);
• Seminars for university leaders
• A biennial conference providing an opportunity for universities to report on ESD innovations associated with the university's triple mission of research, teaching and community engagement, and to engage in North-South dialogue; and
• Pilot programmes linking universities, communities and business and industry in sustainable development partnerships.
The MESA Universities Partnership strengthens UNEP's special focus on Africa and is constituted as a major contribution to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). The MESA Universities Partnership also supports the New Partnership for Africa 's Development (NEPAD) environmental action plan and the objectives of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment.
UNESCO Dakar in collaboration with UNEP is implementing MESA in partnership with the Association of African Universities in 15 francophone countries in the region. The MESA in francophone countries project involves translation of the MESA Universities Partnership - Education for Sustainable Development Innovations Course Toolkit and organizing a training of trainers workshop on the MESA kit. The project is being implemented by the Network for Environment and Sustainable Development in Africa (NESDA).
The MESA Universities Partnership aims to enhance the quality and policy relevance of university education in Africa through the implementation of sustainability as an underlying topic in diverse curricula and as practice in all other aspects of university life. The overarching goal is to create a scientific knowledge base about Education for Sustainable Development in Africa, for all students and staff, and to develop action competence and awareness which will benefit the lives and careers of the direct programme participants. (www.unep.org)
Regional Launch of DESD for the Arab Region in Bahrain
17 – 18 September 2005
Arab States Regional Initiatives
The regional launch of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) took place in Bahrain on 17-18 September 2005. Countries in the region have begun to exchange views and dialogue in order to define the roles of different stakeholders for the DESD. A regional strategy is being developed in the form of an Arab Agenda for the Decade.
Third Arab Conference on Education on Education and Sustainable Development, 24-26 April, 2006, Beirut, Lebanon
The conference was one of the first regional forums organized by the Arab region, following the regional launch of the DESD in Bahrain on 17 - 18 September 2005, and attended by Ministers and many other distinguished speakers from the Arab region.
Launching of the First Regional Flagship Project on Water for ASPnet schools in the Arab region
The meeting, held in Abu Dhabi (UAE) brought together UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network National Coordinators and teachers from UAE, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine and Qatar. During the meeting, draft activities for three levels (from Early Childhood to Secondary) were presented by the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi. During the pilot phase, these three level- activities were experimented in Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria and UAE, each choosing six ASPnet schools for the project. The Environment Agency provided the pedagogical content of the Flagship project. Some of the results of the meeting included the election of the UAE National Commission as the Regional Coordinator for the three coming years by the participants of the launching event, as well as the elaboration of a work plan for 2007-2010 focusing on Fresh Water Quality and Quantity.
Regional Workshop on Enhancing Teachers’ Competencies in Sustainable Development
The UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Beirut in cooperation with the DESD Secretariat and UNESCO Offices in Cairo, Doha, and Rabat and Alexandria University in Egypt organized a Regional Workshop on Enhancing Teachers’ Competencies in Sustainable Development at Alexandria University in Egypt on 7 - 9 May 2007. The workshop included discussions and consultations on the regional strategy on DESD for the Arab region.
UNESCO Expert Meeting on ESD: “Reorienting Education to address Sustainability”
1 – 3 May 2006; Kanchanaburi, Thailand
Asia – Pacific Regional UN Interagency Steering Committee for ESD Meeting
23 – 24 January 2006; University of Philippines, Cebu
Globalization and Education for Sustainable Development – Sustaining the Future
28 – 29 June 2005; Nagoya, Japan
The Asia – Pacific Regional Launch of the DESD held at Nagoya University, Japan.
DESD National Kick-Off Meeting in Japan: Let’s Start Learning for the Future
6 March 2005; Tokyo, Japan
New Zealand DESD Launch
5 March 2005, Auckland, NZ
Asia - Pacific Regional Initiatives
The regional DESD implementation strategy was unveiled at the Asia-Pacific DESD Regional Launch in Nagoya, Japan, in June 2005. UNESCO Bangkok facilitated the drafting and finalization of the strategy, based on the results of a regional ESD situational analysis. Its purpose was to describe the extent to which countries in the region have integrated Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) policies, programmes and practices within both formal and non-formal educational settings at the grassroots, sub-national, national and sub-regional levels. This analysis provided the region with a "snapshot" of the region’s current state of ESD and has assisted in guiding the regional implementation of the DESD.
To ensure the successful implementation of a strong ESD programme, all countries need to acknowledge the following factors:
The strategy was informed by consultations at the Regional Strategy Workshop for the DESD in Asia-Pacific. It is an open document that is adaptable for revision according to the changing needs of stakeholders and emerging issues in the region throughout the Decade.
Regional UN Interagency Steering Committee for the DESD
The Asia-Pacific UN Interagency Steering Committee serves to coordinate the DESD activities in the region. The current members of the Committee include ACCU, ADB, APCEIU, FAO, IUCN, SEAMEO, UNESCAP, UNEP, UNESCO, UNITAR, and UNU-IAS.
Regional Consultative Group for the DESD
An Asia-Pacific Regional Consultative Group for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) has been set up to facilitate the process of ongoing stakeholder dialogue for the DESD and interface with the Asia-Pacific Regional UN Interagency Steering Committee for the DESD.
The group consists of a select group of experts leading/initiating the facilitation of networks, projects and other initiatives. These experts represent the interests of different parts of the region as well as different sectors.
Pacific Framework for Action on the DESD
A Pacific Consultative Meeting on the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development was held in Apia, Samoa in March 2006 with Pacific ESD practitioners and experts to develop a collaborative mechanism for the Decade in the Pacific islands region. The framework for action on DESD in the Pacific was finalized in consultation with key stakeholders in the region, including UNESCO National Commissions, educators, community leaders, media and sustainable development experts. The Pacific Education Ministers Meeting in Nadi, Fiji on 21-22 September 2006 endorsed the Pacific ESD framework. This framework puts the “Think global, act local” adage into practice by taking the international vision and a specific goal for the Pacific, and translating these into focused priority areas and objectives for action at local, national and regional levels appropriate to the Pacific. The development of local ownership, and respecting local contexts and cultures are important perspectives in implementing ESD at all levels. The framework also serves as the coordinating mechanism for implementing ESD in the region.
First Pacific Youth Festival
UNESCO's participation at the First Pacific Youth Festival, which took place from 17 to 22 July 2006 in Tahiti, French Polynesia focused in particular on the theme of Education for Sustainable Development. This meeting, organized by the Government of French Polynesia and its youth structures, was attended by about 900 young participants from 25 countries and territories of the Pacific. They came together to share experiences, concerns and their vision of how young Pacific islanders can take the lead in promoting positive change in their communities and make an impact on the agenda for regional development. The six-day Festival comprised a series of conference sessions, seminars and youth-led workshops. It was structured around nine major themes of particular concern to young people and aimed at producing a Pacific Youth Charter that sets out young people's priorities and recommendations for action in the region. UNESCO took the lead in developing the theme of Education for Sustainable Development.
ACCU-UNESCO Asia-Pacific COE Programme for ESD
The programme supports organizations working in related fields of ESD to foster and promote them as good examples for ESD in the Asia-Pacific Region. For the first phase of the Centre of Excellence (COE) Programme (2006-2010), five organizations have been selected as implementing partners of the Programme. These are the Asia South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education (ASPBAE), Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), TVE Asia Pacific (TVEAP), and the University of South Pacific Drawing on the momentum of DESD, the COE will support educational initiatives that lead to community empowerment, and contribute to building the capacity of institutions, civil society organizations and communities to address ESD issues. The COE will advocate for integrating the ESD agenda into policy, programmes, curricula and practices at various levels. As part of this process, COE will contribute to enhancing existing networks, forging inter-sectoral partnerships, and documenting good ESD practices.
ACCU-UNESCO Asia-Pacific Innovation Programme for ESD
This programme initiates and supports projects to serve as good examples for the implementation and promotion of ESD in the Asia-Pacific Region. Based on global consultation to prepare the International Implementation Scheme (IIS) for the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), the Programme designated non-exclusive priority areas/themes of projects for its first phase (2006-2007) as follows: Rural development, disaster prevention and mitigation, human rights, gender equality, cultural diversity and intercultural understanding, health and poverty reduction. A panel of experts selected ten projects for support under this programme.
While each of these projects focuses on a specific area of expertise and takes a unique approach to addressing socio-economic challenges and opportunities being faced locally, the overarching goal of the Programme is to prompt a positive behavioral change in the individuals/communities concerned towards a sustainable livelihood. This common goal across the individual projects will be pursued by carrying out educational and awareness-raising activities at the community, sub-national or national levels in the areas of Non-formal Education, Primary/Secondary Education and the media. Furthermore, knowledge and experiences gained from implementing concrete projects under the Innovation Programme for ESD are expected to feed into broader discussion to refine and continue promoting the global ESD movement by giving it momentum.
Asia Pacific ESD Indicators Project
UNESCO Bangkok is working closely with IUCN and Macquarie University, Australia, on an Asia-Pacific ESD indicators project to assist countries in developing Monitoring and Evaluation frameworks for the DESD. Three capacity-building workshops have been held to date in Bangkok (February 2005), Hiroshima (August 2006) and Bangkok (April 2007). UNESCO National Commissions in the region have played a key role in the development of this project. Two publications from this project include - The Asia-Pacific Guidelines for the Development of National ESD Indicators and Monitoring and Assessing Progress during the UNDESD in the Asia-Pacific Region: A Quick Guide to Developing National ESD Indicators.
Global Communities for Sustainability Project
The Global Communities for Sustainability (GCS) project is a joint initiative of the Centre for Environment Education Australia (CEEA), the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) and the Centre for Environment Education India (CEE India). This project aims to develop integrated sustainability initiatives that have local and international dimensions. At the core of the GCS are school-driven, sustainability collaborations with local councils and key community organizations that are simultaneously established in Australia and India.
The GCS project is aimed to establish communication and exchange between up to 20 different Australian and Indian school-communities who have been exploring sustainability issues through a guided process. Significantly, it is not just schools that are involved in the exchange. Local 'teams' comprise a teacher, students and representatives from the local council and a community organisation. This will facilitate sharing and learning of such aspects as:
The GCS project has connected school communities in the Australian State of New South Wales with their counterparts in the Indian State of Gujarat.
Photo Message Contest by Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU), 2007
The ACCU Asia-Pacific ESD Photo Message Contest aims to provide more people with the opportunity to discuss sustainable future in their own words. The objectives of this contest are:
Official launch of the UN DESD in the UK
13 December 2005; London, England
The UK National Commission for UNESCO officially launched the Decade in the UK at a conference entitled "From Local to Global: A Long Term Vision for the Decade" held at the Institute of Education, England.
Official launch of the UN DESD in the Mediterranean region
26 – 27 November 2005; Athens, Greece
The UN Decade of ESD was officially launched for the Mediterranean region during a conference held in Athens, Greece.
Launch of DESD for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region at the CIS Education Minister’s Conference
5 – 6 April 2005; Minsk, Belarus
UNECE Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development
18 March 2005; Vilnius, Lithuania
A strategy adopted to promote sustainable development through education across Europe and North America. Also adopted during the meeting, was the “Vilnius Framework for Implementation” setting up a Steering Committee and an Expert Group on indicators in order to facilitate coordination and review of Strategy's implementation.
DESD Launch in Norway on the theme of ‘YouthXChange and the UN DESD National and global challenges for Sustainable consumption’
15 March 2005; Hamar, Norway
Launch of DESD in Canada at the Annual General Meeting of Canadian National Commission on the theme of ‘Sustainable Development: Learning to Live Together’
10 – 12 March 2005; Toronto, Canada
Danish ESD10 Opening Conference – We must learn, if earth shall sustain
10 – 11 March 2005; Copenhagen, Denmark
Launch of the DESD in Germany
13 January 2005
Europe and North America Regional Initiatives
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Strategy
This regional strategy prepared to facilitate the introduction and promotion of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was developed through a participatory process involving governments, international organizations, NGOs, the academic community and other stakeholders. The strategy was adopted at the UNECE High-level meeting of Education and Environment Ministries in Vilnius, Lithuania, to launch the DESD in the region on 18 March 2005. At this meeting, the Task Force on Education for Sustainable Development recognized that the various ongoing projects in the region, in relation to ESD should be taken note of and used in support of the implementation of the Strategy. At the same time, it agreed that there are still challenges in implementing ESD effectively, including strengthening cooperation among governments and stakeholders, improving education systems to address the interdisciplinary nature of ESD, improving and streamlining formal, non-formal and informal learning, and mobilizing adequate institutional and material provisions for ESD.
Many countries have established formal interdepartmental cooperation mechanisms, while others have setup working groups for the implementation of the strategy that include several governmental bodies and stakeholders such as NGOs, businesses, regional authorities and heads of educational institutions. A Steering Committee for the UNECE ESD Strategy with specific responsibility for overseeing its implementation in the region has been created. Each country has committed to translate the UNECE Strategy into national languages, create national coordination bodies and establish focal points and national action plans.
International Workshop “Education for Sustainable Development Worldwide- Commonalities and Differences” organized by the German Commission for UNESCO, the State Government of North-Rhine Westphalia and other partners, with support from UNESCO and Japan ESD Funds-in-Trust, was held on 28-29 November 2006 in Bonn, Germany. The event reflected on how to make ESD heard in the political arena, nationally and internationally and develop a viable response to the challenge of having a clearly defined concept of ESD.
Nordic Conference on Sustainable Social Development, Oslo, Norway, 26-27 October 2006, looked at the question of “how can Nordic countries continue to develop the Nordic Region in a more sustainable direction?” One of the workshops focused on the UN DESD through the theme “Learning to change our world” during which best practice examples on initiatives for building competence towards the future that focus on environment, fair distribution and participation were presented. The workshop was chaired by the Ideas Bank (http://www.idebanken.no/index.php) which promotes innovations that lead to a better environment and stronger communities, globally as well as locally.
International ESD Conference, Lisbon, Portugal 14-15 December 2006 was organized to look at ESD in the national perspective and highlight some dimensions, practices and case studies in Portugal, as well as looking at ESD in Europe. Portugal has created an ad hoc group composed of different stakeholders that produced a document on both strategies and directions for action in various fields connected with ESD at the national level.
Mediterranean Education Initiative for Environment & Sustainability with an emphasis on water and waste (MEdIES). This initiative on EE and ESD was launched by MIO-ECSDE* in Johannesburg during the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD, 2002). MEdIES is one of the major initiatives for ESD in the Mediterranean region and its Network of Educators is continuously expanding. Up till now (September 2007), 39 institutions in the region are participating in the initiative. MEdIES aims to facilitate the educational community in a systematic and concrete way to contribute to the implementation of Agenda 21 and MDGs through successful application of innovative Education Programmes on the topics of waste water in countries around the Mediterranean basin. Through the implementation of common activities and projects and close collaboration of Northern and Southern Mediterranean countries, the ultimate goal of the initiative is the development of a methodological framework to be adapted and further implemented in other regions of the world.
BALTIC 21 is a joint, long-term effort by the 11 countries of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, CBSS. These include Denmark, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden. These countries differ widely as far as economic, social and environmental preconditions are concerned, but they agree on the long-term goals they wish to attain for the region as a whole. The emphasis is on regional co-operation, and the work is focused on seven economic sectors (agriculture, energy, fisheries, forests, industry, tourism and transport) as well as on spatial planning and on education. The overriding objective of Baltic 21 is to contribute to achieving sustainable development in the Baltic Sea Region in a 30-year perspective. Long-term aspects, regional co-operation, sectoral responsibility, openness, democracy and transparency, are the pillars of the Baltic 21 process. Baltic 21 complements international, national and local initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region. The essential objective of the Baltic Sea Region co-operation is the constant improvement of the living and working conditions of their people within the framework of sustainable development, sustainable management of natural resources and protection of the environment. Sustainable development includes three mutually interdependent dimensions – economic, social and environmental.
The Green Pack is a multimedia Environmental Education curriculum kit primarily intended for European Primary School teachers and their students. The Green Pack Programme goal is to build capacities, transfer know-how and establish the basis for further developments in the field of ESD. The Green Pack, initiated in 2001, includes a variety of educational materials such as a teacher’s handbook with lesson plans and fact sheets for students, a film collection with animated clips and educational films, an interactive CD-ROM with extensive information on various environmental topics and a dilemma game. The Green Pack has been used to teach 12,000 teachers and 1.5 million students in six countries in the Central and Eastern Europe. The Green Pack is currently in available in 11 country versions (including an English version). The Programme is being monitored by the Regional Environment Centre for Central and Eastern Europe.
The Bologna Process and Education for Sustainable Development
The Bologna Process involves 46 European countries striving to unify higher education institutions throughout Europe. The most important goal of the project is to create a common European Higher Education (and research) Area by 2010. This common space shall provide students, instructors, and the administration of high education institutions greater flexibility through the structural convergence process, but without doing away with national uniqueness and variety of education systems. In the Bergen Communiqué of 2005, the European Education Ministers declared to strengthen their course in bringing about a common higher education area building upon the principle of sustainable development. The involved participants agreed that European higher education institutions carry a joint responsibility to find the best answers to present and future social challenges on a national, regional, and international scale. Many of the goals brought forth in the Bologna Process, especially with regard to the European qualification framework, form a solid foundation for strengthening the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) within the national higher education systems and academic disciplines.
Launch of the DESD in the Caribbean region at the regional conference Education for Sustainable Development – New Approaches for the Future
18 – 20 October 2005; Kingston, Jamaica
Launch of the DESD for the Latin American Region at the Ibero-American Conference on Sustainable Development
31 May – 2 June 2005; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Mexico National Launch and signature of a National Commitment for DESD, in the presence of President Vincente Fox and representatives of all sectors of society
11 March 2005; Mexico City, Mexico
National Launch in Chile – Organization of the “II Seminario Internacional Educacion para el desarrollo sostenible”
12 to 14 January 2005; Santiago
Latin America and Caribbean Regional Initiatives
The Latin America launch of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) took place during the Ibero-American Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro (31 May-2 June 2005). A Caribbean DESD launch took place during the Conference “Education for Sustainable Development: New Approaches for the Future”, held in Kingston, Jamaica (18-20 October 2005).
Latin America Regional Mobilization Meeting
Promoting action and implementation in connection with the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) was the objective of a Latin-American meeting entitled “Building the Education for Sustainable Development,” held in San Jose, Costa Rica from 31 October to 2 November 2006. The event was organized by the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE and by UNESCO, with financial support from the Japanese ESD Funds-in-Trust and the collaboration of United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), AVINA, the Ministry of Public Education of Costa Rica, the Ministry of Public Education of Mexico, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico, the National University (Costa Rica), the UN University for Peace, the Paulo Freire Institute, Fundacion Mundo Sustentable and Banco da Amazonia. The meeting which brought together 180 participants from 23 countries, provided a space to share experiences and build alliances. It further aimed to strengthen the links between the UNDESD, the challenge of HIV/AIDS prevention through education, and the search for alternatives to increase literacy rates throughout the region. The event was divided into plenary sessions and working groups, which involved all participants. During the plenary sessions, panels of experts discussed topics related to the challenge of incorporating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into formal and non-formal education; how to articulate a common regional agenda for ESD; and how to achieve an inter-disciplinary focus when dealing with sustainability.