UN: Education Takes Centre-Stage in Sustainable Future

At UN Conference, Education Takes Centre-Stage in
Planning for a Sustainable Future


UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova
speaking at the opening of the World Conference on Education
for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan.
Photo: UNESCO

10 November 2014 – The role education
can play in preparing the world’s youth for a sustainable
future is becoming increasingly relevant, particularly as
the planet is set to face growing economic, social and
environmental challenges, the head of the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared today as she opened a
conference on the subject in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan.

“To
achieve sustainable development, technology, political
regulations and financial incentives will not suffice – we
need to change the way that we think and act, as individuals
and as societies,” UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova,
told delegates at the World Conference
on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

“This is
the aim of education for sustainable development,” she
added.

More than 1,000 participants have gathered in the
Japanese port city to take stock of the achievements of the
UN Decade of
ESD
, which ran from 2005 to 2014, and address the issues
that will confront the international community in the years
to come.

Lending his support to the Conference in a video message , UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for
sustainability to be “built into everything we do” and
suggested that education was “the starting point” for a
successful and sustainable future.

“Boys and girls must
learn about global citizenship, to prepare them for the
responsibility of safeguarding our common future,” Mr. Ban
said.

“There is no Plan B because there is no Planet
B.”

As part of its overall assessment of the UN Decade
of ESD, UNESCO has presented the Conference with a report
entitled Shaping the Future We Want , which
analyzes the impact of ESD initiatives across the
world.

Based on questionnaires responded by 70 countries,
the document reports that two-thirds of the countries
concerned have already a national ESD strategy or plan in
place, indicating “an increased global recognition that
education is a critical tool for moving societies towards
sustainable development,” a UNESCO press release
said.

Among the issues highlighted in the report, UNESCO
underscores the need to align education with sustainable
development to ensure that education supports sustainable
development objectives, and a “widespread, overt and
sustained political support” to make the transition from
creating an enabling environment to achieving actual changes
in curriculum and educator practice at all levels of
education.

Writing in the The Huffington Post in an
op-ed published to coincide with the opening of the
Conference, Ms. Bokova affirmed the importance of ESD as a
“transformative” tool, adding that it remained an
“absolute priority” as the international community moved
forward in preparing a new development agenda around a set
of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

“Focusing on
technology and financial incentives will not suffice as we
strive to meet the challenge of a growing population of
seven billion in a world with finite natural resources,”
she wrote.

“Education has a major role to play in
helping us apply the values, skills and knowledge of
sustainable development to local, national and international
development decisions, in order to solve the complex
problems that we face.”

The World Conference – attended by
delegates from over 100 countries – will run until 12
November.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

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UN: Education Takes Centre-Stage in Sustainable Future
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1411/S00085/un-education-takes-centre-stage-in-sustainable-future.htm
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