Education for

           Sustainable Development









Education for Sustainable Development

With a world population of 7 billion people and limited natural resources, we, as individuals and societies need to learn to live together sustainably. We need to take action responsibly based on the understanding that what we do today can have implications on the lives of people and the planet in future. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) empowers people to change the way they think and work towards a sustainable future.   










Education for Sustainable Development Goals - Learning Objectives

UNESCO has been promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) since 1992. It led the UN  Decade for ESD from 2005 to 2014. Global issues – such as climate change – urgently require a shift in our lifestyles and a transformation of the way we think and act. To achieve this change, we need new skills, values and attitudes that lead to more sustainable societies. Education systems must respond to this pressing need by defining relevant learning objectives and learning contents, introducing pedagogies that empower learners, and urging their institutions to include sustainability principles in their management structures. The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly reflects this vision of the importance of an appropriate educational  response. Education is explicitly formulated as a stand-alone goal – Sustainable Development Goal 4. Numerous education- related targets and indicators are also contained within other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).







Education for Sustainable Development

The overall objective of the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development is to equip people with knowledge of and skills in sustainable development, making them more competent and confident while at the same time increasing their opportunities for leading healthy and productive lifestyles in harmony with nature and with concern for social values, gender equity and cultural diversity. The Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development in 2005, member States adopted the UNECE Strategy on ESD in order to promote ESD in the region. The Strategy is a practical instrument to incorporate key themes of sustainable development into the region's education systems.












Rosalyn McKeown

Education for Sustainable Development Toolkit

Education is an essential tool for achieving sustainability. People around the world recognize that current economic development trends are not sustainable and that public awareness, education, and training are key to moving society toward sustainability. In the Toolkit, we use three terms synonymously and interchangeably: education for sustainable development (ESD), education for sustainability (EfS), and sustainability education (SE). We use ESD most often, because it is the terminology used frequently at the international level and within UN documents. Locally or nationally, the ESD effort may be named or described in many ways because of language and cultural differences. As with all work related to sustainable development, the name and the content must be locally relevant and culturally appropriate.







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