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DECADE OF EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
RESOURCES AND LINKS
This page is intended to give organizations and individuals interested in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) some basic information on the Decade and on activities by various organizations to contribute to it. The page is not intended to be exhaustive, but only to provide a starting point for those who may wish to support or participate in the decade in some way.
Why have a decade?
What is the decade about?
UNESCO websites for the decade [français] [español]
Other information resources
Bahá'í approaches to the decade
September 2005 - The UNESCO Executive Board approved the Draft International Implementation Scheme for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014): http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001403/140372e.pdf
Launch of UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
February 2, 2005 - (UNESCO) The United
Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development will be officially
launched on March 1, 2005 in New York. The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
and UNESCO's Koïchiro Matsuura will be present at the ceremony. In
addition to the international launch, a series of regional and national
launches of the Decade will take place during the course of 2005.
WHY HAVE A DECADE ON EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?
The 1992 Earth Summit marked the beginning of an unprecedented effort to understand and work toward achieving 'sustainable development' -- addressing human needs holistically by integrating environmental, economic and social goals. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) (Johannesburg, 2002) re-emphasized the vital role of education, not only in building awareness of the need for sustainable development, but in fostering the necessary changes to bring it about at all levels. Toward that end, beginning in 2005, the UN will launch the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, DESD, (2005-2014). The UN has appointed UNESCO as its Lead Agency for planning the Decade. Their goal is to build broad ownership at all levels, global, regional, national and local/community, for the goals of the Decade and to engage all possible partners among governments, Non-Governmental Organizations/civil society and the private sector in the work.
Many reports, conferences and action plans have defined what needs to be done to achieve sustainable development, but progress has been slow, and the global environment continues to deteriorate (UNEP Global Environment Outlook 3). This failure has largely been due to a lack of political will and motivation to make the necessary changes in individual lifestyles and social action. This need to address motivation is the reason for the planned UN Decade.
The Rio Declaration (1992) states: “Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature." It took 10 years to come to the profound realization of the synergistic nature of sustainable development and education. The WSSD in Johannesburg (2002) recognized that education would be critical to changing things. The problem is that there are 1000 definitions of sustainable development. The Johannesburg Declaration expressed the commitment of world leaders “to build a human, equitable and caring global society cognizant of the need for human dignity for all". Our biggest challenge in this new century is to take an idea that sounds abstract, sustainable development, and turn it into a reality for all the peoples of the world.
WHAT IS THE DECADE ABOUT?
UNESCO says sustainable development is a dynamic and evolving concept with many dimensions and interpretations and reflects locally relevant and culturally appropriate visions for a world in which development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The UNESCO draft proposal of August 2003 describes sustainable development as
essentially an educational enterprise.
It summarizes the Four Pillars of Education:
1. Recognition of the challenge - learning to know.
2. Collective responsibility and constructive partnership - learning to live together.
3. Acting with determination - learning to do.
4. The indivisibility of human dignity - learning to be.
UNESCO has identified eight Key Action Themes for the UN Decade1:
1. Overcoming poverty
2. Gender equality
3. Health promotion
5. Rural development
6. Cultural diversity
7. Peace and human security
8. Sustainable urbanization
The emphasis is on:
Supporting local initiative.
Ensuring that structures (national, regional, and international) provide direction and guidance for local initiatives.
Re-orienting educational policies. It's about the way we live our lives; the way we respect the lives of others; and our attitudes to the world around us.
Broad based strategies to build peace, hope, stability, tolerance, and mutual understanding.
Literacy - “literacy for all is at the heart.”
Education as a central strategy for sustainable development
The following web links to three documents give an overview of the Decade:
1. A revised Draft International Implementation
Scheme for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
(2005-2014) taking into account many comments received was approved
by the UNESCO Executive Council in September 2005:
The original "Draft International Implementation Scheme for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development" prepared by UNESCO and presented to the UN General Assembly on 19 October 2004 can be downloaded here as a Word document (396 k).
UNESCO's "Framework for a Draft International Implementation Scheme" outlined their original thinking about the decade. http://unesco.takingitglobal.org/documents/Framework%20for%20a%20Draft%20International%20Implementation%20Scheme.doc
2. Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 "Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training" the relevant text from the Earth Summit in 1992 which is still the basis for the WSSD process. http://www.unesco.org/education/esd/english/chapter/chapter.shtml
3. United Nations General Secretary Kofi Annan's major speech "Towards a Sustainable Future" given prior to the World Summit on Sustainable Development. This is a concise and inspiring text by Kofi Annan which gives more of the flavour of the WSSD than official documents (for these see the IEF WSSD page). http://www.undp.org/equatorinitiative/secondary/sg_speeches_and_statements.htm
DESD website (English/French/Spanish):
To prepare and build momentum for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2002 (resolution 57/254) and for which UNESCO was designated as lead agency for the promotion of the Decade, UNESCO is developing an interactive website.
The DESD website (www.unesco.org/education/desd) seeks to give visibility to local, national and international Education for Sustainable Development activities, initiatives and events, and to allow for exchange of information and resources. To ensure greater accessibility, this website is now available in English, French and Spanish.
Please copy and widely disseminated this message. Thank you for your cooperation.
Pour préparer et promouvoir la Décennie des Nations Unies pour l'éducation en vue du développement durable (2005-2014) adopté par l'Assemblée générale des Nations Unies en décembre 2002 (résolution 57/254) et pour laquelle l'UNESCO a été désigné comme organe responsable de la promotion de la Décennie, l'UNESCO est entrain de développer un site web interactif.
Le site web DESD (www.unesco.org/education/desd) cherche à donner la visibilité aux activités, initiatives et événements concernant l'Éducation pour le développement durable aux niveaux local, national et international, et à permettre l'échange d'informations et de ressources. Pour offrir une plus grande accessibilité, ce site web est maintenant disponible en anglais, français et espagnol.
Veuillez dupliquer et diffuser largement ce message autour de vous. Merci de votre coopération.
Para preparar y promover el Decenio de las Naciones Unidas de la Educación para el Desarrollo Sostenible (2005-2014) adoptado por la Asamblea General de las Naciones Unidas en diciembre 2002 (Resolución 57/254) para el que la UNESCO ha sido designada como órgano responsable, la UNESCO está desarrollando un sitio web interactivo.
El sitio web DESD (www.unesco.org/educacion/desd) busca dar visibilidad a las actividades, iniciativas y eventos concernientes a la Educación para el desarrollo sostenible a niveles local, nacional e internacional y permitir el intercambio de informaciones y de recursos. Para ofrecer un acceso más importante, este sitio web está ahora disponible en inglés, francés y español.
Sírvase duplicar y difundir ampliamente este mensaje a su alrededor. Gracias por su cooperación.
What is Sustainability?
Notion of Sustainable Development
Towards a Deeper Reflection on Sustainable Development
OTHER INFORMATION RESOURCES FOR THE DECADE
International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
"What is education for sustainable development?"
IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (see section on ESD and the conventions):
World Conservation Learning Network (e-learning in environmental / sustainable development)
Tilbury, D. and D. Wortman (2004). Engaging People in Sustainability. Commission on Education and Communication, IUCN, Gland, Switzerland. pdf version available at http://www.aries.mq.edu.au
Curriculum On-line" web site (United Kingdom)
for Sustainable Development Toolkit
This resource contains many valuable materials. Introduction includes definition and history of the term, "sustainable development", a description of ESD, etc. It also addresses values, learning skills, perspectives, and values that guide and motivate people to seek sustainable livelihoods, participate in a democratic society, and live in a sustainable manner.
This section addresses values and ethics. A box ¾ down the page quotes from the Bahá'í International Community's statement, "World Citizenship: Global Ethic for Sustainable Development".
Partnership for Education
and Research about Responsible Living (PERL), and its predecessor, the
Consumer Citizenship Network (CCN).
These Erasmus Thematic Network Projects supported by the European Union's Socrates Programme in collaboration with UNESCO and UNEP have produced many useful educational materials in support of the DESD. The coordinator, Ass. Prof. Victoria W. Thoresen of Norway, is a member of the International Environment Forum.
http://www.hihm.no/concit and http://www.perlprojects.org
UNESCOcat: The Centre UNESCO de Catalunya organized an International Experts Workshop on Faith-based Organizations and Education for Sustainability, held in Barcelona, Spain, on 22-24 March 2007, in which IEF participated. The report of the workshop (pdf 250 kb) can be downloaded here.
The report of a Swedish expert meeting on the decade is at http://www.learning2004.se
for the Decade includes over 300 organizations of many types, including
a group of faith-based organizations, all supporting the decade.
The Earth Charter is a unique educational instrument to advance understanding of shared global problems and the need to act with an integrated vision for sustainable development. It provides an important ethical framework for sustainable development. See the Earth Charter Initiative website at http://www.earthcharter.org.The International Environment Forum in collaboration with other organizations has developed various educational materials for the decade (see below). A whole section of the IEF web site ( http://www.bcca.org/ief/elcentre.htm) is devoted to an e-learning centre on sustainability including a course, group study materials, an encyclopedia of sustainability, and other materials.
BAHÁ'Í APPROACHES TO THE DECADE
A number of Bahá'í communities and Bahá'í-inspired organizations are participating in actions in support of the Decade.
The front-page article of One Country, newsletter of the Bahá'í International Community (Vol.17, No. 1, October-December 2005), reported on the December 2005 Orlando Seminar on "Education for Sustainable Development: The Spiritual Dimension", held in support of the Decade, and included a perspective on Education for Sustainable Development. The newsletter in pdf is available at http://www.onecountry.org/e173/e173fnl.pdf
The International Environment Forum has devoted four annual conferences to themes relevant to the decade, including its 7th Conference in Orlando, Florida, in December 2003 that specifically considered plans for the Decade (see conference report), and its 8th Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece, on 15-17 October 2004 which focused on "Cultivating Sustainable Lifestyles" in preparation for the Decade. The latter conference was co-sponsored by the local UNESCO office, the Greek Ministry of Education, Aristotle University and an Environmental Education Center. Its 9th Conference in Orlando, Florida, in December 2005 also concentrated on the Decade. The IEF has also prepared a compilation of Bahá'í writings on sustainable development including teachings concerning economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability. The IEF organized a workshop on the decade at the Association for Bahá'í Studies - 2004 Conference in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, 3-6 September 2004, and another seminar with educators in Orlando, Florida in December 2004. In January 2005, it co-sponsored a parallel event with the CSD Education Caucus at the Mauritius International Meeting on Small Island Developing States, which was chaired by the president of IEF. In 2006, it collaborated with the US Baha'i community in a series of regional and national seminars in support of the decade.
The IEF has created an e-learning centre for sustainability on its web site at http://www.bcca.org/ief/elcentre.htm with extensive educational resources including a distance learning course and the sustapedia, an encyclopedia of sustainability
The Bahá'í teachings provide useful perspectives on such subjects as:
1) Development, the goal and the process
2) Knowledge and science
3) Values and spirituality
4) Bridging knowledge and values, science and spirituality in education
The following are web links to documents that give some Bahá'í approaches to these issues:
A powerpoint on the United
Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)
and its implementation in the U.S. Bahá'í community
and case studies for workshop discussions:
How much is enough?
India Solar Cooking
Audubon Center at Debs Park (USA)
"Sustainable Development and the Human Spirit" a
statement by the Bahá'í International Community prepared for the Earth Summit
in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
IEF Position Papers prepared for the seminars at its 6th Conference
organized in conjunction with the World Summit on Sustainable
"Integrating Science in Local Communities"
"Values for Sustainable Development"
"Education and Values for Sustainable Development"
http://www.bcca.org/ief/iefwssd.htm (scroll down to the relevant papers)
"Values as Foundation for Sustainable Behaviour"
Paper by Dr. Arthur Dahl presented at the 5th IEF Conference
constraint or a catalyst to Sustainable Development". Paper
by Victoria Thoresen presented at the 5th IEF Conference
Island Developing States in an Integrating World". Statement
by the Bahá'í Community of Mauritius distributed at the Mauritius
International Meeting in January 2005.
Additional relevant Bahá'í resources include:
"Prosperity of Humankind" by the
Bahá'í International Community, 1995.
"World Citizenship A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development
". Statement by the Bahá'í International Community to the first
meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development in 1993. Also available in
Bahá'í Quotations on Sustainable Development
1. UNESCO originally defined ten Priority Areas for
the UN Decade in 2003, before revising them in 2006:
1. Poverty alleviation
2. Gender equality
3. Natural resources
4. Health promotion
5. Rural transformation
6. Human rights
8. International understanding
9. Cultural linguistic diversity
10. The potential of information and communications technologies (ICTs)
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Last updated 16 September 2010