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Make sustainability integral to education for entrepreneurs, urge youth and governments from Europe, North America and Central Asia 

ESD Forum

Young entrepreneurs and changemakers must be equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and mindsets to navigate complex challenges and lead change towards a healthier and more sustainable world. At first of its kind international Forum for Europe, Central Asia and North America, held this week in Limassol, Cyprus, governments, young people and key stakeholders underscored the importance of strengthening entrepreneurship education as part of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). 

“Education for Sustainable Development for young entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow is an investment that will bolster society-wide efforts to address key environmental and social challenges. However, this requires full political and financial support. I therefore encourage all governments in Europe, North America and Central Asia to take the necessary steps to reap this potential, allocating the required resources, and to involve young people at every stage of the process,” said UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean.  

Interconnected challenges such as climate change, social injustice, limited skills and job opportunities, the digital divide, and economic instability hinder the ability of young people to fully contribute to a sustainable future for themselves and their communities.  

These pressing issues call for urgent and innovative solutions. Entrepreneurship education plays a pivotal role in nurturing creativity, problem-solving skills, and risk-taking spirit needed to create positive change. In parallel, education for sustainable development fosters critical thinking, promotes global citizenship and deepens understanding of economic, environmental, cultural and social issues.  

In response, the Forum explored how education for sustainable development can influence entrepreneurship education to cultivate entrepreneurs who are not only driven by profit but also committed to creating positive environmental, social, and economic impacts. 

Advancing a shared framework for action 

The 2030 Framework for Implementation of the UNECE Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) prioritizes entrepreneurship, employment, and innovation as key policy direction. Its objective is to bridge ESD with economic and social advancements, tackling the business, financial, and policy landscapes that shape welfare and well-being. By fostering entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, particularly for youth, the framework aims to nurture creativity and empower individuals to translate ideas into tangible initiatives. 

This Framework will support the holistic integration of ESD across all educational levels and societal sectors. This forward-looking framework serves as a catalyst for the development of agile yet robust policies, adept at addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by poly-crisis scenarios. By prioritizing the implementation of key policy directions, including entrepreneurship, employment, innovation and ESD, the framework underscores the indispensable role of youth in shaping and implementing sustainable development policies.  

In response to this imperative, UNECE has initiated a three-year project aimed at promoting the implementation of this priority area. The Forum will shape the development of a comprehensive guiding framework for 21st-century competencies, tailored to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the pursuit of sustainable and equitable economic development. 

The Forum was organized by the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, the Ministry of Education, Sport and Youth, UNECE, the government of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation, and UNEP.  

For more information, visit https://unece.org/info/events/event/390588  

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United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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