The negotiations for the Fifth Ministerial “Environment for Europe” Conference, which took place in Kiev in 2003, saw the emergence of a UNECE initiative on education for sustainable development (ESD). At the Conference, Ministers gave the green light to draw up a regional Strategy on ESD.
In 2005 in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, less than two years after the Kiev Conference, Ministers and other officials from education and environment Ministries from across the UNECE region adopted the UNECE Strategy for ESD at their joint
The Strategy is a flexible framework for implementing ESD and is to be adapted by countries based on their needs and priorities.
Aim of the Strategy
The UNECE Strategy for ESD's main aim is to encourage countries to integrate ESD into all forms of their education systems and covers all levels from primary to tertiary, including vocational and adult learning.
ESD means including key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning, such as poverty alleviation, citizenship, peace, ethics, responsibility in local and global contexts, democracy and governance, justice, security, human rights, health, gender equity, cultural diversity, rural and urban development, economy, production and consumption patterns, corporate responsibility, environmental protection, natural resource management and biological and landscape diversity.
It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development. ESD consequently promotes competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way.
Objectives of the Strategy
The objectives of this Strategy, which will contribute to the achievement of this aim, are to:
(a) Ensure that policy, regulatory and operational frameworks support ESD;
(b) Promote sustainable development through formal, non-formal and informal learning;
(c) Equip educators with the competence to include sustainable development in their teaching;
(d) Ensure that adequate tools and materials for ESD are accessible;
(e) Promote research on and development of ESD;
(f) Strengthen cooperation on ESD at all levels within the UNECE region.
Text of the Strategy as printable file:
Official UN translations
Text of the Vilnius Framework for the implementation
Background documents (official UN-translations)
Background documents (non-UN translations)