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Building peace in the minds of men and women

Education for sustainable cities


Education is at the heart of sustainable development and the SDGs. For people to live sustainably, they need to learn. Certain key skills, values and attitudes are required to meet the challenges of people’s daily lives and to contribute to the creation of sustainable societies. But in today’s fast-changing world, where social, economic and political norms are constantly being reshaped, people also need to re-evaluate and refresh their learning continuously throughout their lives. Lifelong learning can be a critical resource in supporting individuals and communities to achieve sustainable social and economic advancement. This was recognized by the United Nations in SDG 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which enjoins Member States to ensure ‘inclusive and equitable quality education and to promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.

As UN lead agency for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), UNESCO views cities as key centres of thought and action when it comes to education and learning about sustainable development. Mayors and elected officials can use ESD as a tool for achieving the 17 SDGs and for making cities and communities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Education and lifelong learning are essential components of everyday city life, so that urban communities can create sustainable and harmonious societies that embody the principles of social justice, ecological resilience, economic productivity, political participation, and cultural vibrancy. Learning to live together sustainably in cities and communities is one of the most important educational challenges of our time.

Education for sustainable development goals: Learning Objectives

This document guides readers on how to use education, especially ESD, to achieve the SDGs. It identifies learning objectives, suggests topics and learning activities for each SDG, and describes implementation at different levels from course design to national strategies.

Available in English French Spanish Arabic Russian Chinese Portuguese and Catalan

UNESCO roadmap for implementing the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development

The Roadmap communicates the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD endorsed by UNESCO Member States (37 C/Resolution 12) to decision-makers, stakeholders and actors, and provides suggestions for the implementation of the GAP, as well as details on UNESCO’s role.

Available in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and Chinese


Getting climate ready: A guide for schools on climate action

The guide explains why schools should take on a whole-school approach to climate action, outlines how schools can plan, put into practice, and evaluate their own strategies and visions for reducing climate change. It further provides six guidelines that suggest how to concretely include climate action in school governance, teaching and learning, campus and facility management, and partnerships with the community.

Available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic

Education for sustainable development: Sourcebook

The Sourcebook is an easy-to-use manual on how to integrate sustainable development into education. A number of ESD professional development videos were developed for the ESD Sourcebook.

Available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Korean