SEE – July 14: Over 270 participants from 116 UNESCO Member States and Associate Members recently concluded a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand where they discussed the future direction governments and UNESCO should take in promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
With UNESCO’s Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP) ending in 2019, UNESCO is preparing the future programme for ESD, to be linked specifically to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNESCO Member States and Associate Members were invited to Bangkok to discuss a draft position paper on the future of ESD, prepared by the organization.
An important theme was the role of community as a platform for ESD action. An inspiring example was presented by sustainability practitioner Ms Tomi Matsuba, who lives in the village of Omori, Japan, whose inhabitants practice a very special sustainable lifestyle. The unique village, part of the silver mining area of Iwami-Ginzan, which is inscribed as a UNESCO cultural heritage site, has reinvented itself by exploring alternative paths to prosperity rooted in values of sustainability.
Another panel debate addressed the challenging relationship between sustainable development and economic growth, and how education could help reconcile the two.
The meeting made apparent the great commitment of Member States and Associate Members to taking ESD into the future and implementing ESD as a key tool to achieve the SDGs. The lively discussions led to numerous suggestions to be included in a revision of the UNESCO position paper on the future of ESD.
The final position paper will be presented to UNESCO’s Executive Board in April 2019 and to UNESCO’s General Conference in November 2019 for approval, and to the UN General Assembly in autumn 2019 for acknowledgement. The new ESD programme, to be developed on the basis of the position paper, is scheduled to take effect at the beginning of 2020, and to cover the period until 2030, in line with the target date of the SDGs..