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Education for Sustainable Development Background


Education for Sustainable Development is a dynamic concept that encompasses a vision of education that seeks to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating and enjoying a sustainable future. The overall aim of education for sustainable development is to empower citizens to act for positive environmental and social change, implying a participatory and action orientated approach.


Mexicans calling for a substantive role In the management of their country's patrimony, Merida, January 2006

However, sustainable development is for many a difficult concept and sometimes represents an unreachable target. So within the framework of Small Islands Voice, a new idea is emerging - that of sustainable island living.

Each community, district, country and region faces different challenges when it comes to education for sustainable development. In relation to small islands, education for sustainable development presents both challenges and opportunities, as was discussed by delegates to a Caribbean conference on education for sustainable development held in Jamaica in October 2005.

2005-2014 has been designated by the United Nations as the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and UNESCO is the lead agency in this endeavour. The main objectives for the decade are to:

  • Facilitate networking, linkages, exchange and interaction among stakeholders
  • Foster increased quality of teaching and learning in education for sustainable development
  • Help countries make progress towards and attain Millennium Development Goals
  • Provide countries with new opportunities to incorporate education for sustainable development into education reform efforts.

To view a powerpoint presentation on the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development prepared by Ms. Aline Bory-Adams click here.


To get involved, contact :


Coastal Regions and Small Islands Platform
UNESCO, Paris, France
fax: +33 1 45 68 58 08

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