The first half of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) has seen concerted efforts to integrate the principles, values and practices inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. With the DESD approaching its mid-point, now is the time for UNESCO Member States, UN agencies, civil society organizations, youth and the private sector to come together to review the accomplishments of the DESD so far. Taking stock of the Decade’s implementation will help determine what impact the DESD is having and how that impact can be made even greater. The Conference also aims to deepen exchange and collaboration among DESD stakeholders, as well as to highlight the contribution of ESD to all types, levels and settings of education.
A lot has been achieved since the launch of the Decade in 2005; however, much remains to be done in the years to come. The World Conference will provide an excellent opportunity to chart the way ahead and discuss the educational answers that ESD can provide in response to emerging global challenges.
On behalf of UNESCO, which is both the lead agency and international coordinator of the Decade as well as the co-organizer of the Conference, I wish this important event the greatest success in developing educational strategies that will stimulate action now to make our common future safe and sustainable.
German Federal Minister of Education and Research
700 participants from all over the world will come together at the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development – Moving into the Second Half of the UN Decade in the United Nations and Federal City Bonn. I welcome you very warmly in Germany. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research organizes this important conference together with UNESCO. At the Bonn conference, crucial decisions will be made to set the course of direction for the second half of the UN Decade. Especially challenges regarding sustainability will need to be discussed even more in view of education in the future because content of education and learning methods are key to sustainable development.
The implementation of the UN Decade is of utmost importance to Germany. We have been able to achieve much during the first half of the Decade. More than 600 projects in Germany have been recognized as official projects of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development. Education for Sustainable Development is a guiding principle for the future development of our education system. On this path, an international exchange of experiences and ideas is essential. The World Conference 2009 in Bonn provides an excellent opportunity to all of us to do so. We need to learn from each other, exchange best practices, jointly develop strategies for the further implementation of the Decade and establish international cooperation projects.
Therefore, I wish every success to the UNESCO World Conference, fruitful discussions for all participants and a significant impetus for the future.
translation of the original German text