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Addressing Education, Health and HIV to achieve sustainable development

From 27-03-2009 to 02-04-2009 (Germany) 

Representatives from ministries of education, civil society, UN agencies, young people, and UNESCO permanent delegations emphasized at the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) (31 March - 2 April 2009 in Bonn, Germany) that sustainable development cannot be achieved while the health needs of millions of people around the world remain unmet.

“Much of the knowledge we have gathered about HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other health emergencies show us that education is not a luxury, not even simply a right. It is a potential life saving measure," said Graça Machel, former Minister of Education and Culture in Mozambique and renowned international advocate for women and children's rights, in a keynote address.

The issue was explored further during a workshop entitled “AIDS, Health and ESD” organized by UNESCO, the World Bank, Education International and the World Health Organization. During the workshop, participants highlighted three ways in which health relates to education for sustainable development:

  • as an input and condition necessary for learning and working

  • as an outcome of effective quality ESD

  • as a sector that must collaborate with ESD to promote an inclusive approach across fields of specialisation

Workshop participants underscored the need to link governmental efforts in the field of health and education with the initiatives led by different ministries and departments, as well as civil society actors and international partners in the fields of environment, economy, society and culture.

In particular, it was noted that free education should also be supported by targeted assistance for the most vulnerable children to meet their basic needs and to avoid drop-outs.

Participants also emphasized the importance of utilising non-formal education processes and mass media participation to demystify and overcome the stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.

During the workshop, participants identified five specific objectives for the second part of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD, 2005-2014):

  • To position health education, including HIV and AIDS, higher on the agenda of sustainable development and ESD;

  • To acknowledge and promote the positive role of culture, using traditional, scientific and religious knowledge, beliefs and practices as vehicles of change for sustainable development and health;

  • To adapt the messages and tools for the promotion of health education and ESD to diverse contexts and target groups;

  • To focus on building community ownership and leadership as a guarantee of long-term commitment and sustainability;

  • To invite media to play a more active role in ESD and health education activities.

Click here for the background paper for the workshop

Approximately 700 people took part in the Conference to mark the midpoint of the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. At the end of the conference the participants, coming over 150 countries, adopted the Bonn Declaration.

  • Organizer: UNESCO (Official Website)
  • Start date (local time): 27-03-2009 3:00 pm
  • End date (local time): 02-04-2009 4:00 pm
  • Bonn

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