Relevance of ESD for key sustainable development challenge

(Cluster coordinated by Charles Hopkins, York University, Canada; International Advisory Group for the World Conference)

ESD can contribute substantially to addressing key sustainable development challenges. Indeed, without reorienting education, successfully confronting issues like water and climate change, among many others, will not be possible. Moreover, introducing sustainable development issues into all areas of education will help to make education more relevant. Engaging students and learners in contemporary questions related to development brings education closer to life and enhances the learning experience by stimulating motivation and interest. The following workshops were held in this thematic cluster:

Workshop 1: Education for Water Sustainability
Workshop 2: Strengthening the educational response to climate change internationally?
Workshop 3: Advancing sustainable lifestyles and responsible consumption through ESD
Workshop 4: ESD and disaster risk reduction: building disaster-resilient societies
Workshop 5: Educating for Food Security: the contribution of ESD
Workshop 6: AIDS, Health and Education for Sustainable Development
Workshop 7: Mainstreaming Biodiversity into education and learning
Workshop 8: The economic pillar of Sustainable Development: Educational Approaches

Workshop 1: Education for Water Sustainability

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part Place: Deutsche Post Tower (No. 4 on map)
Organizer:
Miguel Doria, Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO; Charlotte van der Schaaf, UN-Water Decade Pro-gramme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC); Almut Nagel, German Federal Environment Ministry

Documents: Background Document, Workshop Report

Background

The workshop was based on experiences from many fields of education around the world, especially school education, vocational education and training, higher education and community and stakeholder education. The workshop included the various outcomes from regional water education workshops, national developments of member countries, examples from NGOs, among others.

Objectives

The main objective of the workshop was to overview the current status of water education and identifying the way forward via recommendations to strengthen water education approaches at all levels.
The water and education workshop also demonstrated and strengthened the links between the two decades, the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and the International Decade for Action 'Water for Life'.
UNW-DPC, UNESCO’s International Hydrological Programme and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) were cooperating in the organization of the workshop on "Education for Water Sustainability".

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Workshop 2: Strengthening the educational response to climate change internationally

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part)
Place: UN-Campus, Room 2712 (No. 2 on map)
Organizer: Laurence Pollier, UNFCCC; Philippe Saugier, Carboschools; Reuben Sessa, FAO
Documents: Background Document; Workshop Report

Background

There has been a large bloom of educational initiatives related to climate change but so far with not much coordination/cooperation among them and there are still a large number of structural obstacles for a real integration in curricula and daily classroom work. In addition there are still big disbalances between regions of the world.

Objectives

To give input to a roadmap for accelerating/deepening/strengthening the integration of climate change in curricula worldwide, through concrete proposals to the UN-system & other major international players. The workshop was therefore  not only an opportunity to share experiences and expectations, but was also an action-oriented process towards a strategy for mainstreaming the educational response to climate change and reducing the obstacles which currently prevent this mainstreaming.

Key challenges related to ESD 

- how can educational action progress from "raising awareness" to "understanding" and finally "acting for change"? (i.e. going from learning the facts to acting in the society).

- in formal education, how to mainstream and integrate (i) the interdisciplinary nature of CC in a subject-dominated school tradition and (ii) the development of values, new behaviors, new citizenship skills in curricula dominated by the transmission of knowledge?

- how to improve access to resources and materials and better coordination for both formal and non-formal educational purposes?

Expected output

Recommendations for a work plan (tasks, calendar, steps, actors, costs) rather than a formal/conceptual declaration.

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Workshop 3: Advancing sustainable lifestyles and responsible consumption through ESD

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part)
Place: Federal Network Agency (No. 5 on map)
Organizer: Fabienne Pierre, UNEP DTIE; Victoria Thoresen, Consumer Citizenship Network (CCN)
Documents: Background Document; Workshop Report

Background

Consumption has become the socio-economic driving force and the core value of an increasing number of societies worldwide. While standing for a more and more important component of socio-economic models and lifestyles overall, both in developed and developing countries, patterns of consumption also have serious impacts on people and the environment when unsustainable. For this reason, and given its cross-cutting dimension, responsible consumption, otherwise called sustainable consumption, is certainly at the core of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). ESC is indeed oriented towards critical thinking and behavioral changes, and plays a key role in the main social and environmental challenges addressed in this conference. Through the parameters of equity and sustainability, ESC contributes to turn consumption into a bearer of well-being, peace and human development.

Objectives

This workshop focused on Education for Sustainable Consumption (ESC) in formal, non-formal and informal education as an integral part of ESD, building on the values upon which ESD is founded: the training of responsible citizens and consumers, aware of their fundamental rights and freedoms, informed to participate in the public debate and oriented towards a conscientious participation in the market. Through creative and interactive discussions, the workshop provided participants with the opportunity to share experiences, gain insights and consult on ways forward for the next five years of the UN Decade on ESD on how to formulate, stimulate, carry out and evaluate education for sustainable consumption. In this framework, it considered how the recent guidelines presented in Here and Now: Education for Sustainable Consumption, jointly developed by the United Nations Environment Programme, the Marrakech Task Force on ESC led by Italy and the Hedmark University College, stands as a tool to assist policymakers, teachers and parents in achieving ESC implementation.

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Workshop 4: ESD and disaster risk reduction: building disaster-resilient societies

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part)
Place: Deutsche Welle, Room Brussels (No. 3 on map)
Organizer: Olivier Schick, French National International Strategy for Disaster Reduction platform – AFCPN; Christel Rose, UN ISDR; Kristine Tovmasyan & Badaoui Rouhban, UNESCO
Documents: Background Document; Workshop Report

Background

Every year, more than 200 million people are affected by natural hazards. In recent years, the risk of being affected by natural disasters has significantly increased, especially in developing countries due to an increased vulnerability and global climate change, which is expected to exacerbate the impact of hydro-meteorological hazards. One important aspect of sustainable development comprises the mitigation of the destructive effects of natural disasters on societies through a focus on people’s vulnerability reduction. In this respect, education has been recognized as an essential component of disaster risk reduction strategies for empowering vulnerable communities and building societies more resilient to disasters through basic knowledge and skills. Knowledge and education play the pivotal role in the ability of future generations to understand and take appropriate action to minimize hazard impacts. The Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) provides a unique window of opportunity and potential turning point in history for improving formal and informal education for building a culture of disaster resilience in every community. Education and knowledge for disaster risk reduction was also recognized as one of the five priorities of the “Hyogo Framework for Action: Building the Resilience of Communities and Nations to Disasters, 2005-2015” (HFA 3).

Objectives

This workshop was organized as a follow-up to a number of activities undertaken by UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) Thematic Platform on Knowledge and Education in promoting education for disaster risk reduction. It consisted of multidisciplinary discussions on education and disaster risk reduction, focusing on national and local implementation of disaster risk reduction projects, which provided an opportunity for participants to exchange good practices, lessons learnt and to provide policy guidance on education for disaster reduction strategies.

Expected output

This workshop built on the ongoing dialogue and existing good practices on education for disaster risk reduction at the global, regional and local levels to enhance exchange of experiences and cooperation in developing effective strategies towards disaster prevention education implementation. The session involved a broad range of actors from the education and disaster risk management sectors and fostered an interaction between experts in disaster risk reduction, education decision makers, educators, public authorities and the non-governmental community.

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Workshop 5: Education for Food Security: the contribution of ESD

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part)
Place: UN-Campus, Room 2705 (No. 2 on map)
Organizers: Lavinia Gasperini, FAO; Benedikt Haerlin, Foundation on Future Farming

Documents: Background Document; Workshop Report

Background

The high food prices crisis has pushed an additional 40 million people into hunger this year bringing the overall number of undernourished people in the world from 923 to 963 million. The ongoing financial and economic crisis could draw even more people into hunger and poverty (FAO 2008). The structural problems of hunger, under nutrition, illiteracy lack of access to land, credit and employment, combined with high food prices remain a dire reality. The workshop highlighted the two sided relation between education and food security and discussed positive action to promote ERP.

Objective

The objective of the workshop was to highlight that Education and specifically Education for Rural People, is essential for reducing poverty and hunger, improving living conditions of rural people, enhancing agriculture and for building a sustainable and food secure world. People – not institutions or technology - are the driving force of development. Education for Rural People, is the neglected key to food security and to achieving the MDGs.The workshop was part of the international actions aiming at contributing to eradicating extreme poverty and hunger and promoting sustainable development by increasing access to quality education. It focused both on the impact of education for rural people (ERP) on food security and on achieving universal primary education (MDG 2) and addressed ERP as a sustainable development tool and a basic human right. As a matter of fact, a recent study conducted by FAO and The University of Rome 3 found that the correlation between food security and primary education for rural people is very high.

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Workshop 6: AIDS, Health and Education for Sustainable Development

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part)
Place: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Filmsaal (No. 8 on map)
Organizer: Chris Castle, UNESCO; Donald Bundy, World Bank

Documents: Background Document; Workshop Report

Background

The impact of ill health, including AIDS and malnutrition, needs to be approached as part of a multi-sectoral development issue to which education must respond, and national authorities, civil society and donor agencies can collaborate to establish strategies to enhance the role of education in promoting sustainable development.  The AIDS epidemic, in particular, is systematically eroding the capacity of the education sector, causing shortages of teachers and education staff, increasing the vulnerability of children and learners, and adding new difficulties for planning.  Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) goals and methodologies provide a useful framework for developing effective responses to the causes of ill-health including AIDS. However, this framework requires adjustment to explicitly include the main causes of ill health including HIV and AIDS issues, otherwise the ability of education sector to contribute to sustainable development will be undermined.

Objectives

The workshop showcased creative and sustainable educational initiatives, including through school health programmes, in response to HIV and AIDS and other health issues, and explored examples of how multi-sectoral educational programmes mobilise schools, international and community partners in responding to the needs of learners and communities, especially those heavily affected by AIDS.  The importance of a holistic approach to including HIV and AIDS considerations and other major causes of ill health  in ESD strategies was discussed.

Expected output

Resource people drawn from the World Health Organization, Education International, and from among those participating in the workshop, will help to set the scene by presenting case studies and aspects of relevance to the session.  

Partricipants achieved an enhanced understanding of how ESD can contribute to addressing the causes is ill health, including HIV and AIDS, and the workshop has resulted in the documentation of lessons and good practice shared by participants.

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Workshop 7: Mainstreaming Biodiversity into education and learning

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part)
Organizer: David Ainsworth, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), Bernard Combes (UNESCO Biodiversity working group)
Place: Haus der Geschichte (No. 6 on map)

Document: Background Document; Workshop Report

Background

Biodiversity is the foundation of human well-being.  Without genetic diversity and the diversity of species and ecosystems, we would not enjoy clean water, a variety of food stuffs, protection from extreme weather, inspirational, aesthetic and spiritual experiences and other goods and services.

For this reason it is important to raise awareness of the critical role that biodiversity plays in ensuring environmental sustainability, economic prosperity and social and cultural well-being.  Mainstreaming the notion of biodiversity into all forms of learning will contribute to the enhancement and/or the development of sustainable development actions, including ways of organizing thoughtful consumption and production behaviours that are sustainable from local to global levels.

Objectives

During the workshop, participants engaged in group exercises to reflect on the following concepts:

- Importance of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use for sustainable development and ESD illustrated with examples from their own national experience.

- Possible ways/mechanisms to mainstream biodiversity into different contexts of learning, in the framework of ESD, focusing on identification of relevant partners and modes of engagement with these.

- Development of recommendations/guidance for action plans focused on mainstreaming biodiversity into concrete thematic settings.

Expected output

The main output of the workshop has been a set of recommendations, for an action plan on mainstreaming biodiversity in education and learning processes. This last session concentrated on producing such recommendations based on the inputs from the working groups and the plenary discussion on this subject. In this exercise, particular attention was given to the crosscutting themes of all the workshops and relevant contribution to the major objectives of the Conference: the relevance of ESD to all of education; promote international exchange on ESD and develop strategies for the way ahead.

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Workshop 8: The Economic Pillar of Sustainable Development: Educational Approaches

Time: 31 March: 15.00 - 18.00h (first part), 1 April: 11.00 - 13.00h (second part)
Place: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Nelson Mandela Hall (No. 8 on map)
Organizer: Dr. Manzoor Ahmed, Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University; Gisele Mankamte Yitamben, ASAFE

Documents: Background Document; Workshop Report

Background

In line with the goal of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) to promote sustainable and just society for all through education as well as the objective of the mid-decade Bonn conference to take stock of progress, the workshop on the economic pillar of sustainable development and its educational dimensions, one of 22 such workshops, sought to clarify and enhance the contribution of education and learning to address key sustainable development challenges.

Objectives

The focus of the workshop was on education and knowledge dimensions of the paramount economic challenge related to sustainable development, viz., sustainable poverty reduction. Empirical studies and observation have indicated key components of poverty reduction in the developing world – a) marginalization and disparity and claiming a stake for all in economic and social development; b) overcoming feminization of poverty; c) promoting sustainable production and consumption in the context of poverty reduction;  d)  globalization – winners, losers and threats to sustainable development; and e) developing learning and knowledge network and technology for sustainable development within the framework of lifelong learning.

Expected output

In addressing the knowledge aspects of the identified economic challenges, the workshop analyzed the status, trends and innovative initiatives in this respect and indicated the way forward. The examined action points at the workshop  included establishing or strengthening learning and knowledge network and linkages, improving quality of teaching-leaning and bringing  the ESD perspective into educational content and method; overcoming the digital divide; and promoting the achievement of EFA goals and MDGs – all in relation to poverty reduction.

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