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Discussing progress on education for sustainable development

The Eighth Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference (Batumi, Georgia, 8–10 June 2016) addressed education for sustainable development (ESD) issues at the highest regional level, with UNECE ministers in Batumi recognizing education for sustainable development as a cross-cutting theme that serves as an efficient tool for the achievement of the other SDGs.

To advance the achievement of the SDGs, and to follow up on the Batumi Conference outcomes on ESD, representatives from the education and environment ministries, intergovernmental organizations, academia, and civil society in the UNECE region met at the twelfth Meeting of the UNECE Steering Committee on ESD, held in Geneva on 20 and 21 April 2017. In Batumi, ministers renewed the mandate of the UNECE Strategy on ESD till 2030, adapting it to the global processes on ESD led by UNESCO. At the Steering Committee meeting, UNESCO presented its related activities and plans. A draft workplan for the next phase of the implementation of the Strategy (till 2019), coordinated with the UNESCO timetable, was discussed with a view to adopting it at the next Committee meeting. Several member States expressed their interest in continuing cooperation on capacity-building for ESD. Special attention was also paid to the gender-related aspects of ESD: an informal ad hoc working group was created for considering gender aspects of ESD in view of the 2030 Agenda. The ad hoc group was requested to follow the issue further and to provide information to the Committee at its next meeting.
Prior to the meeting, several participants from the Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia met at a capacity-building workshop on 19 April to learn about the UNECE activities related to the SDGs, and to share their experience, good practice and challenges in this field.