United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development
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Education

Description

Education for all has always been an integral part of the sustainable development agenda. The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 adopted the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) which in its Section X, reaffirmed both the Millennium Development Goal 2 in achieving universal primary education by 2015 and the goal of the Dakar Framework for Action on Education for All to eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005 and at all levels of education by 2015. The JPOI addressed the need to integrate sustainable development into formal education at all levels, as well as through informal and non-formal education opportunities.

There is growing international recognition of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as an integral element of quality education and a key enabler for sustainable development. Both the Muscat Agreement adopted at the Global Education For All Meeting (GEM) in 2014 and the proposal for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) developed by the Open Working Group of the UN General Assembly on SDGs (OWG) include ESD in the proposed targets for the post- 2015 agenda. The proposed Sustainable Development Goal 4 reads "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all" and includes a set of associated targets.

ESD is closely tied into the international discussions on sustainable development, which have grown in scale and importance since, Our Common Future appeared in 1987, providing the first widely-used definition of sustainable development as the "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

The crucial role of education in achieving sustainable development was also duly noted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, through Chapter 36 of its outcome document - Agenda 21.

The importance of promoting education for sustainable development and integrating sustainable development actively into education was also emphasized in paragraph 233 of the Future We Want, the outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, in 2012.

In 2005, UNESCO launched the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development which reaffirmed the key role of education in shaping values that are supportive of sustainable development, and in consolidating sustainable societies. The final report of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, Shaping the Future We Want, was launched at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, held in November 2014, Nagoya, Japan.

On the same occasion, as a follow-up to the United Nations Decade of ESD (2005-2014), UNESCO launched the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD. The overall goal of the GAP is to generate and scale up actions in all levels and areas of education and learning to accelerate progress towards sustainable development.

GAP has identified five priority areas to advance to ESD agenda: policy support, whole-institution approaches, educators, youth, and local communities. UNESCO has established five Partner Networks, each corresponding to the five priority areas, as one of its main implementation mechanisms of GAP. The Partner Networks will create synergies for the activities of their members and catalyse actions by other stakeholders.

In the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) was created as a partnership of several sponsor UN entities (UNESCO, UN-DESA, UNEP, Global Compact, and UNU) aiming at galvanizing commitments from higher education institutions to teach and encourage research on sustainable development, greening campuses and support local sustainability efforts. With a membership of almost 300 universities worldwide, HESI accounts for more than one-third of all the voluntary commitments that came out of the Rio +20 Conference, providing higher education institutions with a unique interface between policy making and academia.

In 2015, the HESI partnership officially became a member of in priority area 2 of the GAP Partner Network: "Transforming learning and training environments".

Through its association with GAP, HESI will aim at helping institutions to develop sustainability plans in partnership with the broader community, and assist universities in incorporating sustainability into campus operations, governance, policy and administration.

Displaying 1 - 47 of 47
Title Type Sort descending Date
Background Paper No. 27 Background papers/Special studies 20-Apr-1998
A/CONF.199/20 - Report of the World Summit on Sustainable Development Background papers/Special studies 4-Sep-2002
E/CN.17/1998/6/Add.1 - Areas for Policy Action by Governments to Accelerate the Development, Transfer and… Meeting reports 24-May-1998
E/CN.17/1997/2/Add.26 - Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training Meeting reports 24-May-1997
E/CN.17/1996/14/Add.1 - Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training Meeting reports 24-May-1996
E/CN.17/2000/8 - Implementation of the work programme on education, public awareness and training Meeting reports 7-Feb-2000
Flyer: Higher Education Sustainability Initiative 2020 Other documents 29-Jun-2020
HESI Declaration (Russian) Other documents 15-Jul-2013
Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (pdf) Other documents 4-Aug-1987
HESI Declaration (French) Other documents 15-Jul-2013
Terms of Reference (TOR) - Higher Education Sustainability Initiative Other documents 27-Mar-2019
HESI Declaration (English) Other documents 15-Jul-2013
Proposal on GAP for ESD Other documents 19-May-2015
Testimonials of the Sustainability Literacy Test Other documents 2-Mar-2016
HESI Declaration (Spanish) Other documents 15-Jul-2013
Message from partners of the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI): UNESCO, UN-DESA, UNEP, UN Global… Other documents 5-Apr-2016
HESI Declaration (Portuguese) Other documents 15-Jul-2013
Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development Other documents 8-Jan-2015
Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) - Flyer Other documents 3-Jul-2017
HESI Declaration (Chinese) Other documents 15-Jul-2013
Nagoya Declaration on Higher Education for Sustainable Development Outcome Documents 8-Jan-2015
Global Education for All GEM-Muscat Outcome Documents 19-May-2015
Outcome Document - Introduction to the Proposal of the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals Outcome Documents 19-Jul-2014
Wittgenstein Centre on Population, Education and the Sustainable Development Goals Presentations 24-Feb-2016
Programme - From Rio to Paris: Higher Education for Climate Change Action Programme 8-Jul-2015
Report from the Sulitest, Tangible implementation of the HESI Reports 19-Jul-2017
Annual SDG Accord Report 2019 Progress towards the Global Goals in the University and College sector Reports 16-Jul-2019
A/70/472/Add.1 - Implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the… Resolutions and decisions 23-Dec-2015
A/70/472/Add.8 - United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development: Report of the Second Committee… Resolutions and decisions 24-Dec-2015
A/RES/59/237 - United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Resolutions and decisions 24-Feb-2005
A/70/474/Add.3 - Culture and sustainable development: Report of the Second Committee Resolutions and decisions 15-Dec-2015
A/RES/57/254 - UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Resolutions and decisions 21-Feb-2003
E/CN.17/1998/6 - Capacity-building, Education and Public Awareness, Science and Transfer of Environmentally… Secretary-General Reports 5-Mar-1998
E/CN.17/1996/14 - Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training Secretary-General Reports 25-Feb-1996
A/42/427 - Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development Secretary-General Reports 4-Aug-1987
A/72/130 - Implementation of education for sustainable development Secretary-General Reports 13-Jul-2017
A/65/279 - Mid-Decade Review of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-2014 Secretary-General Reports 11-Aug-2010
E/CN.17/2001/PC/7 - Education and public awareness for sustainable development Secretary-General Reports 14-Mar-2001
E/CN.17/1999/10 - Education and Sustainable Development Secretary-General Reports 29-Jan-1999
A/69/76 - Follow-up to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development Secretary-General Reports 8-Apr-2014
A/70/228 - Review of the implementation of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-2014… Secretary-General Reports 31-Jul-2015
E/CN.17/1998/6/Add.2 - Education, Public Awareness and Training Secretary-General Reports 6-Mar-1998
E/CN.17/1999/11 - Education and Sustainable Development Secretary-General Reports 24-May-1999
Summary of Side Event - Education as a Bridging Factor of All Dimensions of the Sustainable Development Side events 17-Jul-2014
Summary - HESI 2019 Summaries 30-Aug-2019
Highlights - Lead, Transform, Succeed: Chief Sustainability Officers for SDGs Summaries 25-Oct-2019
TST Issues Brief: Education and Culture Technical Support Team (TST) Issues Briefs 4-Jun-2013
Displaying 1 - 65 of 65
Title Category Sort descending Date
Major Groups: Workers and Trade Unions, Women, Children and Youth and Indigenous People… Co-chairs' meetings with Major Groups 17-Jun-2014
Peru and Mexico Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Bhutan, Thailand and Viet Nam Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Italy, Spain and Turkey Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Latvia Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Greece Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Maldives Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Sweden Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Bulgaria and Croatia Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Australia, The Netherlands and United Kingdom Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Brazil and Nicaragua Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 2-Apr-2014
India Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Denmark, Ireland and Norway Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Iran Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Japan Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Poland and Romania Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Sri Lanka Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
France, Germany and Switzerland Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Jordan Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Montenegro and Slovenia Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Cyprus, Singapore and United Arab Emirates Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Finland Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Canada, Israel and United States of America Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Belarus Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 2-Apr-2014
Malta Debate on Gender equality and women’s empowerment, Education, Employment and decent work for all, Health and population dynamics 1-Apr-2014
Joint Major Group Statement Dialogue with Major Groups 6-May-2014
Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) Employment and decent work for all, social protection, youth, education and culture 17-Jun-2013
Republic of Korea Employment and decent work for all, social protection, youth, education and culture 18-Jun-2013
Canada, Israel and United States of America Employment and decent work for all, social protection, youth, education and culture 17-Jun-2013
Italy, Spain and Turkey Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Bhutan, Thailand and Viet Nam Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Jordan Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Canada, Israel and United States of America Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Iran Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Bangladesh Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Austria Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Egypt Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 6-May-2014
Brazil and Nicaragua Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Bulgaria and Croatia Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Pacific Small Island Developing States (PSIDS) Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Poland Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Palau Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Southern Africa Region Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Montenegro and Slovenia Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Greece Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
France, Germany and Switzerland Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Ethiopia Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Group of 77 and China Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Romania Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Japan Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Australia, The Netherlands and United Kingdom Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Denmark, Ireland and Norway Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Sweden Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Tunisia Health and population dynamics; Education and life-long learning 5-May-2014
Uruguay Poverty eradication; Sustainable agriculture, food security, and nutrition 5-May-2014
SDG SULITEST Assessment, Aurélien DECAMPS, Associate Professor, KEDGE… Presentations 19-Jul-2017
Ms. Raina Fox, Partnerships Director Millennium Campus Network (MCN) Presentations 19-Jul-2017
Julie Newman, Director of Sustainability, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Presentations 19-Jul-2017
Derek Ouyang, Stanford University Presentations 19-Jul-2017
Message to the 34th UN International School-UN Conference - "Bioethics: Striking a… Statements 4-Mar-2010

Milestones

  • January 2015 SDG 4
    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits to "provid[e] inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels – early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and vocational training. All people, irrespective of sex, age, race, ethnicity, and persons with disabilities, migrants, indigenous peoples, children and youth, especially those in vulnerable situations, should have access to life-long learning opportunities that help them acquire the knowledge and skills needed to exploit opportunities and to participate fully in society. We will strive to provide children and youth with a nurturing environment for the full realization of their rights and capabilities, helping our countries to reap the demographic dividend including through safe schools and cohesive communities and families". SDG 4 aims to "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all".
  • January 2015 HESI Partner of GAP
    HESI became in 2015 an official partner of GAP for priority area 2: "Transforming learning and training environments". Through this partnership, HESI has aimed at supporting institutions in designing sustainability plans in partnership with the broader community, and assisting universities in incorporating sustainability into campus operations, governance, policy and administration.
  • January 2015 Incheon Declaration
    The Incehon Declaration was adopted on the occasion of the World Education Forum (WEF), held in May 2015 in Incheon, Republic of Korea. The Declaration aims at promoting education opportunities for all by 2030, within a framework to be finalized by November 2015 and has supported the core aspects of the Education 2030 Framework for Action, building on the UN-led Education For All (EfA) framework and goals.
  • January 2014 Muscat
    In the “Muscat Agreement”, the final statement delivered at the Global Education For All Meetings, education was included as a target on the top of the global development agenda for the 2015 – 2030 period. Participants indeed pledged to galvanize international support for the overarching goal to “ensure equitable and inclusive quality education and lifelong learning for all by 2030”.
  • January 2014 GAP
    As a follow-up to the DESD, ended in 2014, the Global Action Programme has been designed as a concrete, tangible contribution to the post-2015 development and education agendas. Based on broad consultations and input from a wide range of stakeholders, the Programme came at a time when the international community was charged with proposing a new set of sustainable development goals that are action-oriented, global in nature and universally applicable.
  • January 2014 World Conf. on ESD
    The 2014 UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) was held in Aichi- Nagoya, Japan from 10 to 12 November 2014. The Conference celebrated the results achieved during the UN Decade of ESD, identified lessons learnt while setting future action under the Global Action Programme.
  • In the Future We Want, Member States reaffirm their commitment to the right to education, their engagement to strengthen international cooperation to achieve universal access to primary education, particularly for developing countries. They also reaffirm the importance to achieve full access to quality education at all levels as an essential condition for achieving sustainable development, poverty eradication, gender equality and women's empowerment, as well as human development. The Future We Want also stresses the need for ensuring equal access to education for persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, local communities, ethnic minorities and people living in rural areas and for providing better quality and access to education beyond the primary level.
  • January 2012 HESI
    Created in the run-up to the Rio+20 Conference, the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) is a partnership of UN entities (UNESCO, UN-DESA, UNEP, Global Compact, and UNU) counting today a membership of almost 300 universities from around the world. HESI also accounts for more than one-third of all the voluntary commitments that came out of Rio +20.
  • January 2005 UN Decade of ESD
    With the adoption of Resolution 57/254 in 2002, the UN General Assembly declared a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) to take place for the period 2005 – 2014. The inauguration of the DESD represented the beginning of 10 years of improvement and reorientation of education systems towards sustainable development, building on earlier commitments to ESD in Agenda 21. More specifically, the DESD’ s vision aims at the integration of principles and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning, encouraging changes in knowledge, values and attitudes for enabling a more sustainable and just society for all. The mandate of the DESD has energized a vast number of stakeholders – across Member States, UN agencies, the education sector, the private sector and civil society – to work in partnership to reorient education systems towards sustainable development.
  • January 2000 MDG 2
    Goal 2 aims at achieving universal primary education by 2015 and to ensure that. as target 2.A reads "children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling".