UNUnited Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Environment Division

Mandate and Terms of Reference

Relevant Materials


UNECE Expert Group on Competences in ESD


The UNECE Strategy for ESD calls specifically for the development of educators’ competences to engage in ESD.

The joint session on ESD held at the Sixth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe” (Belgrade, 10–12 October 2007) recognized the competence of educators as a frequent bottleneck vis-à-vis improving the quality of education. It agreed that one priority for future implementation of the Strategy should be developing competences in ESD.

The first reporting exercise clearly identified the need to further define the nature of competences in ESD and the ways in which these may be developed in the education sector. Furthermore, there is a need to create an enabling policy environment in which this work on competences in ESD can be supported and applied in each member State.

The report on progress in the implementation of the UNECE Strategy for ESD highlights the key role of educators in advancing ESD. While the indicator framework outlines a number of competences for learners, there is still a need to identify the specific competences required by educators in order to achieve this goal. Thus, further work on competences in ESD would also contribute to the future reporting exercises.

The efforts by countries in the UNECE region to address the issue of competences in ESD will provide an important contribution to the United Nations Decade of ESD.

Mandate and Terms of Reference

The Expert Group on Competences in ESD was established by the UNECE Steering Committee on ESD at its 4th meeting (19-20 February 2009).

Overall, the Expert Group is expected to has been mandated to prepare

(a) general recommendations for policymakers; and

(b) a range of core competences in ESD for educators.

The UNECE Steering Committee on ESD also endorsed the Terms of Reference of the Expert Group on Competences as proposed by the Expert Group on Indicators.



The following 18 memebrs have been selected from a number of highly qualified experts nominated by governments, NGOs and intergovernmental organizations to participate in the Group: Ms. Inka Bormann (Germany), Ms. Aline Bory-Adams (UNESCO), Ms. Katalin Czippan (Hungary), Ms. Zinaida Fadeeva (UNU), Ms. Laima Galkute (Lithuania), Ms. Anna Maria Hoffman - (UNICEF), Ms. Borislava Maksivovic (Serbia). Mr. Juri Mazurov (Russia), Mr. Roel van Raaj (Netherlands), Ms. Manana Ratiani (Georgia), Mr. Leonard Rivard (Canada), Mr. Michael Scoullos (Greece), Ms. Tatiana Shakirova (Central Asian Working Group on ESD), Mr. Willy Sleurs (Belgium), Ms. Daniela Tilbury (UK), Mr. Roland Tormey (Ireland) and Mr. Paul Vare (European ECO Forum).



The Expert Group will organize its work in 5 meetings between September 2009 and December 2010 with a view to presenting the draft outputs of its work to the Steering Committee at its session in 2011.

The 1st meeting of the Expert Group was held in Lund, Sweden, on 30 September - 2 October 2009, co-hosted by the Government of Sweden and the University of Lund. The experts exchanged their views on their vision and the scope of work and the possible outputs. The report of the 1st meeting is available as an input document for the Steering Committee's 5th meeting.

The 2nd meeting of the Expert Group took place on 13-15 January 2009 in Lieden, the Netherlands, hosted by the Government of Netherlands. The Group agreed on the framework for the output of its work and initiated drafting work in the intersessional period.

The 3rd meeting of the Expert Group took place on 28-30 June 2010 in Limerick, Ireland, hosted by the University of Limerick. The Group discussed the draft of the chapter on competences and produced a consolidated text for this chapter. It also preliminary discussed the outline of recommendations for policy-makers and the preamble and the work to be done in the intersessional period on these texts as well as on illustrations, the preamble and the introduction.  

The 4th meeting of the Expert Group took place on 25-27 October 2010 in the Netherlands.

The 5th meeting of the Expert Group will take place on 10-12 January 2011 in Geneva.


Relevant background materials

Concept Mapping for Sustainable Development

Vee Heuristic Diagram - Teacher Notes 

Schooling for Tomorrow (OECD)

The Application of the Professional Standards for Embedding ESD and Global Citizenship in the Lifelong Learning Sector in Wales

New overarching professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector in Wales

The CSCT handbook on competences for ESD teachers. A framework to integrate ESD in the curriculum of teacher training institutes.