• Lead-organizer: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • 19:00 - 20:30
  • Date: 21 Jun 2012
  • Room: P3-1

Educating for a sustainable future

Organizing partners

UNESCO (lead organizer) in association with the Interagency Committee for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (composed of 20 UN entities); the Government of Sweden; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan


Moving towards sustainable development cannot be achieved by political agreements, financial incentives or technological solutions alone. To safeguard the natural environment and promote greater global equity, we need a fundamental change in the ways we think and act. This can only be achieved if all individuals and societies are equipped and empowered by knowledge, skills and values as well as heightened awareness to drive such change.

The transition towards green economies and societies requires that we educate and train everyone and prepare society at large for such a sustainable future. This entails the comprehensive revision of current curricula, job qualifications and corresponding learning objectives of educational programmes at all levels as well as the development or re-design of relevant professional training and capacity-building.

Detailed programme

This side event will advocate for continued attention to Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), point out synergies between ESD and the international Education for All agenda and argue for the relevance of ESD to all efforts to achieve sustainable development with a view to post-2015 processes. It will highlight the contribution of ESD to building green societies and economies, paying equal attention to the environmental, economic and social pillars of sustainable development. It will make the case that ESD is crucial for all policy-responses to sustainable development challenges and thus for the implementation of the Rio commitments.

On the basis of the latest report on the UN Decade of ESD, to be launched at the event by UNESCO, the lead agency for the Decade, concrete examples and success stories of the Decade from different stakeholders will be showcased. At the side-event, UNESCO will also launch its new web-based Climate Change Education Clearinghouse, which makes easily accessible hundreds of teaching and learning materials on climate change. Participants are furthermore expected to commit to initiatives to enhance ESD implementation in advance of the 2014 UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development.

Lena EK, Minister for the Environment, Sweden (tbc)
Shigeharu KATO, Director-General for International Affairs, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, and Secretary-General of the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO
Greg SELINGER, Premier of Manitoba, Canada
Jeffrey SACHS, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University
Kartikeya SARABHAI, Director, Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, India
Rafael ZULLI, secondary school student from Brazil (participant in the Young Masters ESD Programme)
Thiago SCHLIEPER, secondary school student from Brazil (participant in the Young Masters ESD Programme)
Chair: Irina BOKOVA, Director-General of UNESCO

Arjen WALS, UNESCO Chair of Social Learning and Sustainable Development at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, and author of the latest UNESCO report on the UN Decade of ESD, will be invited during the proceedings to give a brief intervention to launch the report and present key findings.
The side-event will be in English without interpretation.
The side-event is funded through Japanese Funds-in-Trust and through a contribution from the Swedish National Commission for UNESCO. Additional support comes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
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