On April 23, Mr Robert Parua, Education Programme Specialist at the UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office, was invited to give presentations on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) respectively at the College of Education, Zhejiang University and the School of Public Administration, Zhejiang University of Technology. Over 100 professors, postgraduate and undergraduate students attended the two separate presentations.
ESD was recognized as a key element of quality education and a crucial enabler for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the global community recognize the importance of education in achieving SD targets by 2030. Target 4.7 of SDG 4 on education specifically addresses ESD and is linked directly to all the other SDGs. In addition, the UN General Assembly Resolution 74/224 in 2019 had reaffirmed and recognized the important role of education for sustainable development (ESD) in the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
UNESCO believes strongly that integrating and mainstreaming sustainable development in education programmes enhances the quality of education, promotes lifelong learning and makes education more relevant for learners today. ESD, as a global development agenda, is aimed at working with all partners and stakeholders to enable everyone to acquire the values, skills and knowledge needed to transform our societies into sustainable societies.
The presentations focused on the new ESDfor2030 Roadmap 2021-2030 which aims to guide all UNESCO Member States to mainstream and implement ESD at all levels of education system in order to accelerate progress toward sustainable development. The ESD for 2030 roadmap has five priority action areas:
2.transforming learning and training environments;
3. building capacities of educators and trainers;
4. empowering and mobilizing youth; and
5.accelerating sustainable solutions at the local community level.
The linkages and synergies between ESD Global Action Programme and the 17 SDGs (in particular, target SDG4.7 on education for sustainable development) were also highlighted in the presentation.
The majority of the audience were postgraduate and undergraduate students. The rationale for the ESD presentation was to share best practices, ESD-related skills and knowledge to future educators in order to empower them to contribute to ESD advocacy, awareness raising and implementation at all levels and all forms of education. Equipping teachers, educators and trainers with the necessary knowledge, skills, methods, strategies, values, motivation and commitment is a key step in mainstreaming and institutionalizing ESD teaching and learning processes, in making education relevant and responsive to today’s global challenges and in ensuring sustainable development.
The ESDfor2030 Roadmap 2021-2030 is a solid framework to guide Member States to deepen the integration of ESD in their education systems. UNESCO and the United Nations agencies are fully committed to support the governments and universities in China to advance the ESD Roadmap in China aligned with the UN Sustainable Cooperation Framework (2021-2025) for China. UNESCO collaborates with the China National Commission for UNESCO, China Ministry of education, tertiary institutions and China ESD National Committee to implement the five priority action areas of the ESDfor2030 Roadmap.
The event is part of the ongoing effort of the UNESCO Beijing Cluster office in promoting the ESDfor2030 Roadmap within education programmes in the cluster countries. The students and teachers were strongly urged to promote ESDfor2030 at the university-level.