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Terms of Reference

UNECE Steering Committee on ESD

adopted at the High-level Meeting of Environment and Education Ministries
(Vilnius, 17-18 March 2005)

1. Pursuant to the adoption of the Strategy for education for sustainable development, the High-level Meeting establishes the UNECE Steering Committee on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to decide on the Strategy’s implementation and review its progress.
2. The UNECE secretariat will provide secretariat support to the Steering Committee in accordance with UNECE rules and practices.
3. The members of the Steering Committee will be designated by Governments of the UNECE member States. The Steering Committee will include at least representatives of both sectors, environment and education, and will be open-ended. Its members will be responsible for representing the consolidated national position in the work of the Steering Committee. The candidatures for membership should be submitted to the secretariat by June 2005. Representatives of international organizations and non-governmental organizations will be invited as observers, as decided by the Steering Committee. UNESCO will be a permanent observer.

4. The Steering Committee will constitute the principal decision-making body for the activities on the Strategy for education for sustainable development in the UNECE region and be responsible for giving guidance and strategic directions to the implementation of the Strategy. It will also review the progress of its implementation. In particular, it will:

(a) Promote and coordinate the implementation of the Strategy with other international activities, seeking synergies and avoiding overlaps;

(b) Monitor the progress of the implementation of the Strategy; prepare assessments of progress made and propose priorities for actions, identify issues and propose corrective measures, where appropriate;

(c) Liaise and cooperate closely with relevant intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations that are active in education, the environment and sustainable development;

(d) Facilitate cross-sectoral coordination and international cooperation of public and private institutions;

(e) Establish ad hoc working groups, task forces and other bodies as needed to implement the activities;

(f) Provide guidance on the need for possible new instruments promoting education for sustainable development;

(g) Serve as a forum for the consideration of issues related to education for sustainable development at regional and international level;

(h) Prepare ESD-related inputs for the Commission for Sustainable Development and other relevant processes;

(i) Liaise, as required, with the other United Nations regional commissions for matters related to its competence;

(j) Keep the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy informed about its activities, unless it is decided otherwise.
5. At each ordinary meeting, a chairperson and a vice-chairperson will be elected from among the representatives of the UNECE member States present at the meeting. Officers should represent different sectors (e.g. environment and education). They shall serve as the officers of the Steering Committee until their successors have been elected.
6. The meetings of the Steering Committee will be convened by UNECE . They will ordinarily be held at the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), unless there is a feasible proposal by a member State to host the meeting. In order to streamline logistics and budgetary requirements, the meetings of the Steering Committee could be organized back to back with the meetings of the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy. If resources permit, funding will be provided to one person per eligible country to participate in these meetings, in accordance with the rules established by the UNECE Committee on Environmental Policy. The Steering Committee will take decisions by consensus and vote on decisions, if required.
7. The UNECE Steering Committee on ESD will be in office until the High-level Meeting in conjunction with the next Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (tentatively October 2007).