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About the programme

  • Welcome
  • Introduction
  • Towards a sustainable Future
  • Objectives & Structure
  • A demonstration project
  • Development
  • Adaptation
  • Credits


Welcome to Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future.

Educating for a sustainable future is a formidable challenge. How can we better understand the complexity of the world around us? How are the problems of our world interconnected, and what does that imply for their solution? What kind of world do we want for the future, within the limits of our Earth’s life support systems? How can we reconcile the requirements of economy, society, and the environment?

Such questions, of course, are not new and, in its capacity as the specialised agency for education within the United Nations system, UNESCO has addressed them over a period of many years. However, as Task Manager for Chapter 36 of Agenda 21, UNESCO has been grappling with these questions with renewed vigour. The new vision of Education for Sustainable Development places education at the heart of the quest to solve the problems threatening our future. Education – in all its forms and at all levels – is seen not only as an end in itself but also as one of the most powerful instruments for bringing about the changes required to achieve sustainable development. Teachers, of course, are vital actors in this process and consequently have been given special attention.

Teacher education is a priority for UNESCO and, indeed, for the international community as a whole. Within its special work programme on education, the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development invited UNESCO to make a significant effort to help teachers worldwide not only to understand sustainable development concepts and issues but also to learn how to cope with interdisciplinary, values-laden subjects in established curricula.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is UNESCO’s response to that challenge, and a major contribution to the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, September 2002). By making the programme available as both a web site and a CDROM, UNESCO hopes to reach as many teachers as possible across the world. The programme can be used as it is, or adapted to local, national or regional needs. Many translations and adaptations are already foreseen.

I wish to thank all those individuals and institutions whose collaboration with UNESCO has been vital for producing this programme. Special thanks, however, must go to Dr. John Fien at Griffith University (Australia). With his team, he contributed first class expertise and experience in sustainable development approaches and issues, teacher education, and the optimum use of ICTs for teaching and learning purposes.

I commend this programme to you as a fine example of how an interdisciplinary approach helps to develop fresh insights and understanding.

Koïchiro Matsuura
Former Director-General, UNESCO

Education is the most effective means that society possesses for confronting the challenges of the future. Indeed, education will shape the world of tomorrow. Progress increasingly depends upon the products of educated minds: upon research, invention, innovation and adaptation. Of course, educated minds and instincts are needed not only in laboratories and research institutes, but in every walk of life. Indeed, access to education is the sine qua non for effective participation in the life of the modern world at all levels. Education, to be certain, is not the whole answer to every problem. But education, in its broadest sense, must be a vital part of all efforts to imagine and create new relations among people and to foster greater respect for the needs of the environment.


Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is a multimedia teacher education programme published by UNESCO. It contains 100 hours (divided into 27 modules) of professional development for use in pre-service teacher courses as well as the in-service education of teachers, curriculum developers, education policy makers, and authors of educational materials.

UNESCO, and the international community in general, believes that we need to foster – through education – the values, behaviour, and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is rooted in a new vision of education that helps students better understand the world in which they live, addressing the complexity and interconnectedness of problems such as poverty, wasteful consumption, environmental degradation, population, health, conflict and human rights that threaten our future.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future will enable teachers to plan learning experiences that empower their students to develop and evaluate alternative visions of a sustainable future and to work creatively with others to help bring their visions of a better world into effect. It will also enhance the computer literacy of teachers and build their skills in using multimedia-based resources and strategies in their teaching.

60 Million Agents of Change

There are over 60 million teachers in the world. Each one is a key agent for bringing about the changes in values and lifestyles we need. For this reason, innovative teacher education is an important part of educating for a sustainable future. The multimedia format of Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future means that it can be accessed and used in a great many ways by teachers, student teachers, teacher educators, curriculum developers, education policy makers and authors of educational materials.

An Innovative Programme

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is based upon a new vision of education, a vision that reorients the aims and content of education and teaching and learning approaches used by teachers so that they contribute to a sustainable future.
The 27 modules address the difficult challenge of planning for whole-school change, teaching interdisciplinary themes, using learner-centred approaches to classroom teaching, and developing outcomes-based assessment strategies.
The multimedia format of Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future means that it can be used by teachers either independently or in small self-study groups‚ even in isolated locations‚ thus avoiding traditional barriers of access to training and new information.
Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is virtually cost free to users as UNESCO has absorbed research and development costs.
Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future can be translated into different languages. Its contents can also be adapted to different national and regional contexts. UNESCO encourages translation and adaptation. Guidelines are provided in the programme for that purpose.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is published initially in English with adaptations to suit different national and regional contexts as well as versions in additional languages planned.

UNESCO, Education for a Sustainable Future

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is one of several programmes initiated by UNESCO’s programme on Educating for a Sustainable Future. It has been developed by UNESCO in its function as task manager for the International Work Programme on Education, Public Awareness and Training for Sustainability of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Towards a sustainable future

Thinking about the future

No one knows what the future will be, except that it will be very different from what life is today and that decisions about whether the future is a sustainable one or not will depend upon changes in human culture.

Our culture includes our whole system of beliefs, values, attitudes, customs and institutions. It shapes our gender, race and other social relations, and affects the way we perceive ourselves and the world and how we interact with other people and the rest of nature. To the extent that the global crisis facing humanity is a reflection of collective values and lifestyles, it is, above all, a cultural crisis. Culture, therefore, has a central place in the complex notion of sustainability – and whatever form the future takes, it will be shaped at the local level by the mosaic of cultures that surround the globe and which contribute to the decisions that each country, community, household and individual makes.

Our increasing awareness of many pressing global realities is helping us to understand the impact of human actions on the environment and on human quality of life. Indeed, the concept of sustainability is, in itself, a reflection of this growing awareness and of the need for new cultural values. Thus, it has been suggested that:

Perhaps we are beginning to move towards a new global ethic which transcends all other systems of allegiance and belief, which is rooted in a consciousness of the interrelatedness and sanctity of life. Would such a common ethic have the power to motivate us to modify our current dangerous course? There is obviously no ready answer to this question, except to say that without a moral and ethical foundation, sustainability is unlikely to become a reality.

Local and national communities are applying this ethic in many different ways and developing images of sustainable futures that are both culturally appropriate and locally relevant. The great diversity of cultures around the world means that there will be many versions of what a ‘sustainable future’ might be like and many different local forms of sustainability. Despite these differences, there are at least three common themes in global thinking about sustainable futures. These include the ideas that sustainability involves: thinking about forever; a process of learning; and, a dynamic balance.

Thinking about forever

Underlying all our images of a sustainable future is the key principle that sustainability is about ‘thinking about forever’.

This means committing ourselves to the common good by thinking differently, considering things previously forgotten, broadening our perspectives, clarifying what we value, connecting with our neighbours, and providing hope for future generations.

Building the capacity to think in terms of ‘forever’ is a key task of education.

A process of learning

Educating for a sustainable future is not so much about a destination as about the process of learning to make decisions that consider the long-term economy, ecology and equity of all communities. Its goal is to build an enduring society. This involves learning how to anticipate the consequences of our actions, envision a sustainable future and create the steps needed to achieve the vision. Individuals and societies will perpetually have to make choices. How those choices are made and the information and ethical discernment used in making them will determine whether our visions of a sustainable future are achieved.

The World Commission on Environment and Development urged people, governments and businesses around the world to make their choices that contributed to ways of living and relating to the Earth and each other so that the use of resources today would meet ‘the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’

How can the needs of current and future generations be met in a world where the aspirations of many people far exceed their needs and the life chances of the many more are acutely limited by poverty and environmental decline? The task of creating social, economic and political systems that meet our needs and aspirations, that are based on sound ecological principles, and that are democratic and fair to current and future generations, is a deeply challenging one. Yet, building the capacity and commitment to build such a sustainable future is, in large part, one of the tasks of education. This requires that teachers and schools have a vision of what a sustainable future might be like – bearing in mind the dynamic balance between cultural differences and the emerging global ethic of ‘interrelatedness and sanctity of life’.

A dynamic balamce

The dynamic balance between cultural differences and this emerging global ethic is a key concept in educating for a sustainable future. It reminds us that sustainability will be built from the actions of people and businesses in their own communities, at local levels, and extend outwards in a spirals of shared understandingsand revised and renewed visions.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future does not prescribe the forms that a sustainable future might take. Rather, it encourages adaptations and applications of the learning activities to local situations and needs. Nevertheless, in keeping with the emerging global ethic of ‘interrelatedness and sanctity of life’, the learning activities reflect a dynamic balance among four dimensions and principles that underlie a sustainable future:

Dimension of Sustainability


Value Principle

Social Sustainability Peace and Equity
Ecological Sustainability Conservation
Economic Sustainability Appropriate Development
Political Sustainability Democracy

These principles mean that a sustainable future would be one in which people:

  • Care for each other and value social justice and peace
  • Protect natural systems and use resources wisely
  • Value appropriate development and satisfying livelihoods for all
  • Make decisions through fair and democratic means.

Developing the capacity and commitment to apply these principles at the level of personal and family actions, and in decisions for local, national and global communities, is the task of educating for a sustainable future.


Education seeks to provide the intellectual enlightenment and the spiritual emancipation in the search for a better existence for all life on Earth … The sustainability transition is in effect a social and political revolution that hopefully can take place through peace and understanding. This is the challenge for the next generation.

The objectives of Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future are:

  • To develop an appreciation of the scope and purpose of educating for a sustainable future.
  • To clarify concepts and themes related to sustainable development and how they can be integrated in all subject areas across the school curriculum.
  • To enhance skills for integrating issues of sustainability into a range of school subjects and classroom topics.
  • To enhance skills for using a wide range of interactive and learner-centred teaching and learning strategies that underpin the knowledge, critical thinking, values and citizenship objectives implicit in reorienting education towards sustainable development.
  • To encourage wider awareness of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), the potential of multimedia-based approaches to education and the potential of the Internet as a rich source of educational materials.
  • To enhance skills in computer literacy and multimedia education.

Themes and Modules

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future contains 27 professional development modules, organised in four thematic sections.

Curriculum Rationale
A sequenced introduction to global realities, imperatives for sustainable development and educational issues that form the rationale for Educating for a Sustainable Future.
  • Exploring global realities
  • Understanding sustainable development
  • A futures perspective in the curriculum
  • Reorienting education for a sustainable future
  • Accepting the challenge
Sustainable Development Across the Curriculum
An overview of ways in which Educating for a Sustainable Future can be integrated into all areas of the curriculum, especially into cross-curriculum themes such as citizenship, health and consumer education.
  • Sustainable futures across the curriculum
  • Citizenship education
  • Health education
  • Consumer education
Contemporary Issues
An illustration of how different curriculum themes may be reoriented to integrate an interdisciplinary emphasis on sustainable futures.
  • Culture & religion for a sustainable future
  • Indigenous knowledge & sustainability
  • Women & sustainable development
  • Population & development
  • Understanding world hunger
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Sustainable communities
  • Globalisation
  • Climate change
Teaching & Learning Strategies
Practical advice on using teaching and learning strategies that can help students achieve the wide range of knowledge, skill and values objectives of Education for Sustainable Development.
  • Experiential learning
  • Storytelling
  • Values education
  • Enquiry learning
  • Appropriate assessment
  • Future Problem Solving
  • Learning outside the classroom
  • Community Problem Solving

A demonstration project

Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues … It is critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision-making.

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future has been developed by UNESCO as a demonstration project to illustrate:

  1. Ways of meeting the professional development needs of educating for a sustainable future. For example:
    • How interdisciplinary approaches can be applied in education in order to better understand the interconnectedness of life and the complexity of the problems of the planet.
    • How to combine training about sustainable development issues with training in how to teach about them.
    • How to deal with the values laden nature of sustainable development issues in an educationally worthwhile and professionally ethical manner.
    • How to encourage ongoing reflection (via a learning journal) as a key aspect of on-going professional development.
  2. The potential of international collaboration in providing resources for teacher professional development. For example:
    • How an international organisation such as UNESCO can establish a collaborative framework for the planning, development, trial, revision, distribution and adaptation of educational materials in a way that provides for wide international consultation and input, flexibility of design, ongoing evaluation and review, and wide institutional, national and international support.
    • How the various parts and diverse expertise of a large organisation such as UNESCO can contribute to an interdisciplinary project.
    • How the resources of numerous international organisations – within the United Nations family, international agencies, ministries of education, teachers’ unions and non-governmental organisations – can be integrated into a successful and resource-rich partnership for educational change.
  3. The potential uses and benefits of multimedia technologies in pre- and in-service teacher education. For example:
    • How multimedia approaches can be used to provide professional development experiences for a wide range of educators at various phases of their professional career.
    • How a professional development resource may be prepared to allow maximum flexibility for individual and small group use.
    • How such flexibility can allow for the use of the multimedia resource for both independent study and use as part of a tertiary course.
    • How capacity building in the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can be enhanced as a ‘by-product’ of professional development in other fields.
    • How the scale of impact of a programme may be maximised for a large audience (60 million teachers) through the effective use of ICT and innovative multimedia design.

The development process

Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future is one of several programmes initiated by UNESCO’s programme on Educating for a Sustainable Future. It has been developed by UNESCO in its function as task manager for the International Work Programme on Education, Public Awareness and Training for Sustainability of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and for the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development.

The programme was developed after extensive consultation between UNESCO and teacher educators in many parts of the world. The Centre for Innovation and Research in Environmental Education at Griffith University, Australia, prepared the original drafts of the materials using resources from UNESCO and other international organisations as starting points.

An international reference group and over 50 Programme Specialists within UNESCO advised on the text and pedagogical approaches used in the programme and ensured that Version 1 of the programme was educationally sound, accurate and up-to-date, fair in its treatment of issues, and culturally appropriate for use in international settings.

The programme was featured in many workshops and conferences during this development phase and the comments of participants integrated into the programme as it was being prepared.

Version 1 was published in January 2001 and was the focus of an extensive international evaluation by several hundred teachers and educators, sustainable development experts and multimedia specialists. These evaluators were recruited and supported by:

  • UNESCO field offices
  • The UNESCO Associated Schools Project
  • UNESCO Clubs
  • The International Network for the Reorientation of Teacher Training to Address Sustainability managed by the UNESCO Chair at York University (Canada)
  • The Network of UNESCO Chairs in Teacher Education
  • The International Baccalaureate Organisation
  • Education International
  • The World Confederation of Teachers.

This evaluation process identified many valuable features in Version 1.

Some of the comments about Version 1 from reviewers in different countries included:

“The themes in the modules are very interesting, but become even more attractive and enjoyable to study because of the way in which they are presented and because they are combined with practical activities and concrete examples from the field.”

“It is captivating and easy to understand. Concepts can be incorporated easily as they are cross-curricular. It is a valuable resource for teachers and students.”
“After having studied this programme my own perspective has been expanded and challenged. I believe that I have gained a more global view of reorienting education for a sustainable future. I now have a better appreciation for reorienting education in other areas of the world. The presented themes in the modules are very interesting, but became even more attractive and enjoyable to study because of the way in which they are presented and because they are combined with practical activities and concrete examples from the field.”

“I found the activities to have a lot of enrichment and alternatives for individual expression. For example, the links to other web sites as well as the references are extremely useful as an extension of the core activities. I found myself venturing to other sites to learn more about specific topics that I was personally interested in finding out about in more detail.”
“In my country, more and more people pay much attention to sustainable development, but there are few materials and resources, so I think this programme will be very helpful. And it will be significant to use it especially in pre-service teacher training institutions.”
Costa Rica
“It provides a sense that there is a global movement to foster a new kind of citizenship that goes beyond traditional nation-state approaches. It is a good way of conveying information, stimulating interaction and experiencing the connectivity to a global network of concerned educators.”
“Very timely. In India, concerted efforts have been made by certain organisations to reorient education for sustainability. In this context, this UNESCO programme will be of great relevance. It is informative, well written. It is a highly informative, richly referenced and is a very good teaching-learning experience.”

“It is a user-friendly package and the instructions are clear. Hence there was no difficulty in using and learning from the package. It combines graphics, sound and text, with web connections. Instructions and navigation are excellent. A good learning experience. It is not an exaggeration to say that each module is comprehensive and motivates one to read the next module. The titles are very attractive and catchy.”
“The topics and issues covered in the CD are of the utmost importance for the present and future of all humanity, and thus it is necessary that these values and practices are communicated to the children and young people of today’s world, because they are not only the future, but also the present. I am taking some of the teaching elements of Module 7 to work at a community level, teaching local leaders and youth on civil society participatory processes.”
“All the modules are relevant to our circumstances in Nigeria and could be beneficial. It is both interesting and challenging. Its interactive nature makes for active learning. It provides great insight into the population, environment and development nexus. I intend to incorporate some of the concepts and issues into our teacher education programme in my university. It is very interactive and therefore engages the learner actively. Very interactive and exciting. It also enhanced my computer literacy skills.”
“I have evaluated the programme keeping in mind the prevailing situation in the education sector in Pakistan. I feel that there is a dire need in this country to educate children and adults about the issues involved in learning about a sustainable future. It will encourage inculcation of values and principles that seem to be lacking in our society. The programme MUST be introduced in developing countries if at all these nations want to progress. The programme is brilliant and its dissemination will be a favour to humankind.”
“The program develops innovative educational approaches in support of sustainable development by enabling teachers to learn more about holistic, interdisciplinary approaches and acquire new professional skills, especially in using multimedia resources.”
South Africa
“I have been grappling with these issues for many years. It was wonderful to see that it has all been pulled together in such a broad, systematic, inspiring and practical way.”

“The programme gives clear and detailed information on setting up the computer and using the programme. For example, guidance is given on the themes and modules and what they comprise, on the use of the navigation bar, on the use of the Journal, visiting Internet sites, pop-up windows, the glossary, etc.”
“It provided an excellent model for inquiry based learning. Experiencing the learning activities ourselves led to a lot of discussion, information processing, and making generalisations. It was good to experience first hand the kinds of things we ask of our students. It helped us to reflect upon our own understandings and classroom practice.”
United Kingdom
“It’s an impressive piece of work and brings together a lot of disparate sources into one place … It has authority, and should help the reorientation process that it seeks to assist. Quite easy to navigate and is well and attractively designed … a significant and important resource.”
United States
“Listening and watching pictures together with exercises is very effective!!”
“The programme develops innovative educational approaches in support of sustainable development by enabling teachers to learn more about holistic, interdisciplinary approaches and acquire new professional skills, especially in using multimedia resources. As schoolteachers, we can say that this programme is very valuable and complete. We discovered a lot of innovations, new teaching methods and new methods of presentation of information that were not known to us before.”

The evaluation also identified areas where improvements could be made and the quality of the programme improved. These included: clarifying some explanations and Learning Journal questions, providing additional information, weblinks and new activities, and developing guidelines for adaptations and translation.

Suggestions by the reviewers on all these points were integrated into later versions of the programme.

2010 Version

During 2009 and 2010 a significant update was made to the programme to bring it up-to-date with new and addition references, updated statistics and information, to meet new web and browser standards and incorporate some of the new web technologies. As well as the update an additional two modules were developed: i) Globalisation, and ii) Climate Change. The update was funded by UNESCO and the additional two modules were made possible by funsing from the Japanese Funds in Trust.

Adaptation and translation

UNESCO is aware that no single teacher education programme can suit the needs of all potential users. That is why Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future has been designed and developed so as to facilitate translation into other languages as well as adaptation (ie. changing the programme) to respond to regional, national, or local needs.

UNESCO is ready to work with government ministries, regional organisations, teacher education institutions and others responsible for the professional development of teachers to help facilitate these changes.

Once an adaptation and/or translation of the programme has been done, the ‘open architecture’ used to create the files in Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future allows it to be reprogrammed with basic webpage creation and graphic design applications.

The Technical Guidelines provide multimedia programmers with the information they need to introduce the desired changes to the files in the programme.

Possibilities for Adaptation

Different kinds of adaptation of the programme are possible, from minor wording changes in the webpages and learning journals, to major changes in the number and sequence of activities and modules.

Basic, relatively straightforward adaptations involve changes to the webpages (including pop-up boxes) and learning journal. The types of text changes that could be considered include, but are not limited to:

  • Replacing the international range of examples and case studies with national or local examples, making the programme more relevant to the circumstances of users.
  • Replacing the examples of education policies provided in some modules with local or national policy initiatives.
  • Keeping the existing case studies and policy examples in order to maintain the global focus of the programme but supplementing them with national examples to increase the local relevance of the programme.
  • Changing the learning journal questions e.g. by deleting some, adding others, etc.
  • Adding sample answers to additional learning journal questions.
  • Changing/adding Internet links and data to keep the programme current in terms of statistics and trends in sustainable development and/or education policy.
  • Deleting an entire activity from a module or adding an additional one.

Changes such as these can be made by a person skilled in the use of a webpage creation programme.

More extensive adaptations could include:

  • Changing the name of a module.
  • Adding or deleting entire module/s and/or theme/s.
  • Changing the text or operation of an interaction.

Changes such as these require the skills of a multimedia programmer and a graphic designer.

Resources Needed to Adapt and/or Translate the Programme

Two sets of resources are necessary for adapting and/or translating the programme:

  • The DOC files of the programme.
  • A CDROM containing all the source files for the programme. This is available from UNESCO. Please contact:
    UNESCO, Educating for a Sustainable Future
    7 Place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France

Steps in Adapting the Programme (without translation)

The first step is to print out the DOC files for each module. This print-out becomes the master document upon which all text and other changes can be made.

Normally, a team of educators would be involved in deciding of the changes to be made. The team would determine the nature of the adaptations to be made, collect relevant local materials and insert these into the print-out of the modules.

Many changes can be marked on the print-out by hand. Extensive changes should be prepared as a text file in a word processing programme.

After the team has prepared the desired changes, the edited master document and any text files can then be passed to a person with knowledge of html or how to use an html authoring programme – or to a multimedia programming and graphic design team or company – to make the changes in the source files.

Major adaptations such as deleting or adding new themes/modules or changes to interactions and navigational structure require the skills of a professional multimedia programmer A graphic designer will also be required to make any associated graphic changes.

The Technical Guidelines provide advice on this.

Steps in Adapting and Translating the Programme

Translating the programme can be a relatively major task. It may be undertaken either in-house, or by a specialised web/multimedia translation company.

Specialist web and multimedia translation companies have been established in many countries. They provide a complete translation, graphic design and multimedia programming service. If the translation of the programme is managed by such a company, it is advisable to agree in advance upon a suitable process for also making any of the basic or major adaptations outlined above, if such changes are to be made.

The advantage of an in-house translation is that adaptations may be made at an early stage to ensure that the text and activities are culturally and educationally appropriate before multimedia programming begins. Such an adaptation and translation process involves the following steps:

  • Print the DOC files for each module. Make sure that the original English languages pages and the translated pages can be matched up and provided to multimedia programmers to prevent mix-ups.
  • Decide whether the programme will be (1) translated in full and then adapted, or (2) adaptations are made to the English language print-out and then translated. This decision needs to be made at a local level, and will be influenced by factors such as the preferred working styles and language and translation skills of the team of educators working on the project.
  • Translations of all the pages in the interactions and graphics should also be prepared.
  • After the adaptations/translation has been completed, all the text files need to be provided to a (bilingual) multimedia programmer to enter into the html source files. A graphic designer will also be needed to adjust graphic images to suit any translated words/text.

Technical guidelines

These technical guidelines provide background information on the multimedia design and development of Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future. They have been prepared to assist IT and multimedia specialists involved in adaptations and translations.

The programme was designed to function with on relatively low-specification computers and has been tested for most common types of browser. Please make sure that the browser is the latest version that the hardware can manage and that any updates for the browser and plugins have been installed

The software that was used in its development include:

  • Webpages: Adobe Dreamweaver
  • Graphics: Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Flash
  • Interactions: Macromedia Director 7.5 and javascript

A CDROM containing the style sheets and all source files for the programme is available. Please contact:

UNESCO, Educating for a Sustainable Future
7 Place de Fontenoy, 75352 Paris 07 SP, France

Programme elements

The programming of Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future involves six elements: cascading style sheet, webpages, javascript-based drop-down menu, learning journal, graphics and interactions.

Each of these may be adapted and/or translated.

CSS – Cascading Style Sheet
The programme utilises a cascading style sheet to determine all the appearance formatting and layout through out the site. The use of a stylesheet for the specific layout of the text and icons makes the addition and deletion of text relatively straightforward.
The main screen webpages can be edited with an html authoring programme or in a text-editor for those who prefer to work directly with the html code.
The addition or deletion of activities will require changes to the internal navigation structure of drop-down navigation menu.
Javascript-based drop-down menu
A javascript-based drop-down menu of the Themes and their respective Modules appears in the banner of each page. Navigation is principally via this menu for movement between Modules and via the tabbed boxes for movement through the Activities in any one Module.
Deleting an Activity from a Module, or adding an additional Activity, will require a change to the tabbed boxes for that Module and ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ links.
Adding or deleting a module(s) and/or a theme(s) will require changes to the navigational structure of the programme (e.g. to the drop-down menu.)
The main screen webpages can be edited with an html authoring programme such as Dreamweaver. The stylesheet for the specific layout of the text and icons (which is available with the source files) makes the addition and deletion of text relatively straightforward.
The addition or deletion of activities will require changes to the internal navigation structure of drop down navigation boxes and ‘previous’ and ‘Next’ navigation icons.
The visual ‘web’, ‘interaction’, ‘journal’ and other icons are graphic images developed in Photoshop.
Learning journal
Learning journal questions are presented in most Activities. They are also presented as master rich text format (rtf) files that may be downloaded and printed. These are can be edited within a word processing or text-editing programme.
The graphics have been designed using Adobe Photoshop. Any changes (whether they are textual or graphical) require change to the original source files.
It is not expected that changes to navigational icons and graphics will be needed in any adaptation.
Changing the text or operation of an interaction will require changes in the javascript programming. A graphic designer will be needed to make any associated graphic changes.


A rigorous multi-platform testing process is recommended before commiting resources to the final pressing of a CD. It is important to check for problems in different browsers and their various versions and in both PC and Mac computing environments. Testing may involve a manual check of every internal and hypertext link to ensure that all are active and direct the user to the desired location. This is particularly important in the themes, modules and activities where changes have been made.


Teaching and Learning for a Sustainable Future has been developed within the UNESCO programme on Educating for a Sustainable Future. It was initiated in partnership with the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Educational Innovation for Development.

The project was originally undertaken by UNESCO in its function as task manager for the International Work Programme on Education, Public Awareness and Training for Sustainability of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development and in preparation for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10) to be held in 2002. Versions 4-6 were programme updates in anticipation of and during the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014.

Prepared for UNESCO with extensive contributions from staff at Griffith University, RMIT University and SWEDESD.

Project Coordinators: John Fien and Clayton White
UNESCO Project Manager: Jeanne Damlamian

The advice of an international reference group and over 50 Programme Specialists within UNESCO was invaluable in the development of Version 1 of the programme. Version 2 was developed from an extensive evaluation supported by UNESCO field offices, members of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project, UNESCO Clubs, the International Network for the Reorientation of Teacher Training to Address Sustainability managed by the UNESCO Chair at York University (Canada), the Network of UNESCO Chairs for Teacher Education, the International Baccalaureate Organisation, Education International and the World Confederation of Teachers.

UNESCO acknowledges the contribution of these organisations, groups and networks who recruited and supported many individual teachers and educators, experts on sustainable development and multimedia specialists for the trial and evaluation process.

The Version 6 update (2010) and the addition of the modules on Climate Change and Globalisation was made possible with a grant from the Japanese Fund in Trust.


Every effort has been made to trace and acknowledge ownership of copyright. UNESCO and the module authors acknowledge the contribution of the following organisations, companies and individuals who generously gave permission to include copyright materials and files in this programme:

International Organisations, Agencies and Bodies
Food and Agricultural Organisation
United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Environment Programme
United Nations Population Fund
World Health Organisation
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development
The World Bank
World Tourism Organisation
Other Organisations
1000 Ways to Sustainable Farming
Center for a Sustainable Future
Centre for Traditional Knowledge, World Council of Indigenous People
Center for the New American Dream
The Earth Charter Initiative
Earth Council
International Ecotourism Society
Educational Web Adventures (Eduweb®)
English Panel on Education for Sustainable Development
Future Problem Solving Program
Gould League
International Council for Local Environment Initiatives
National Consortium for Environmental Education and Training, University of Michigan
Norwegian Ministry of the Environment
Population Action International
Project SARA
Redefining Progress
Second Nature
Share Net, South Africa
Sustainable Agriculture Group, University of California
Women’s Environment and Development Organisation
World Resources Institute
Worldwatch institute
Basil Blackwell
Environmental Conservation
Gaia Books Ltd.
Green Print
Macmillan Australia
New Internationalist
New Society Publishers
osEarth Inc.
Oxford University Press
Alan AtKisson
Peter Garrett
Norma Livo
Rob O’Donoghue
David Orr
Fran Peavey
Karsten Schnack
Mathis Wackernagel
Keith Wheeler