Twelve Ministers of Education and several high-level representatives from around the world came together on the occasion of UNESCO’s 37th session of the General Conference to discuss education for sustainable development (ESD). Agreeing on its pivotal role in quality education, they concluded that that ESD had the potential to accelerate progress towards sustainable development and as such should be central to the future development agenda beyond 2015.
The Swedish Minister of Gender Equality and Deputy Minister of Education, Ms Maria Arnholm, emphasized the role of education and research in helping to build sustainable societies. ” Sustainability can only come through awareness and action from us all,” she said.
Many participants emphasized that ESD is fundamentally about promoting attitudes, values and behaviours. Along with the promotion of justice, responsibility, exploration and dialogue, ESD should aim to move us to take action together and adopt behaviours and practices that enable all to live a full life without being deprived of basic needs.
Concrete examples of ESD achievements were shared during the discussions and provided the opportunity for Member States to showcase lessons learnt in the course of the UN Decade of ESD. The need to continue to share successful practices was stressed.
A number of Ministers suggested activities that could be pursued in the implementation of the Global Action Programme on ESD that follows up on the UN Decade of ESD and is expected to be launched at the UNESCO ESD World Conference in 2014.
“How extensively we will be able to put ESD into practice in the future depends on our proactive participation. Let us work together to bring even greater momentum to the ESD movement.” said Ms Michiko Ueno, Vice Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan, at the Ministerial Breakfast. She warmly invited participants to the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in November 2014, which will be co-organized by UNESCO and the Government of Japan.
The meeting, co-organized by UNESCO and the Government of Japan was opened by the Director-General of UNESCO. The Ministerial Breakfast also benefitted from the presence of representatives of Aichi-Nagoya and Okayama – host cities of the World Conference in 2014 and associated stakeholder meetings.