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Promoting Sustainable Development Through Education

Published: 08 March 2005


The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is due to launch its regional Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, on 17-18 March 2005. The Strategy is intended to serve as a practical instrument to promote sustainable development through education.

The objective of the Strategy is to incorporate key themes of sustainable development – e.g. poverty alleviation, peace, ethics, democracy, justice, security, human rights, health, social equity, cultural diversity, economy, production and consumption, environmental protection, natural resource management, and biological and landscape diversity – in all education systems. The approach is two-pronged: integrating these themes into all relevant subjects and programmes, on the one hand, and providing specific sustainable development subjects and programmes, on the other.

The Strategy provides a flexible framework that each country can adapt to its own priorities, specific needs and circumstances. It addresses a wide range of issues, including curricula, teaching materials, the skills of educators, and inter-departmental and cross-sectoral cooperation. The importance of the public’s awareness and understanding of sustainability and the special role of the media in this are also highlighted.

The Strategy is the result of a decision by UNECE Environment Ministers at their “Environment for Europe” Conference in Kiev in May 2003. It was developed under joint Swedish and Russian leadership through a participatory process involving representatives from both the environment and the education sectors, as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), NGOs and other stakeholders. It is also a substantive contribution to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2015), proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly at its fifty-seventh session (December 2002).

The High-level Meeting of Environment and Education Ministries in Vilnius will be hosted by the Lithuanian Ministers of Environment and of Education and Science. Twenty-three of their counterparts will attend, as will nearly 200 other delegates from 42 UNECE countries. It is expected that the Meeting will adopt the UNECE Strategy and decide how to implement it. In coordination with UNESCO, the Meeting will also launch the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in the UNECE region.

For more information about the Meeting or the Strategy, please contact:

Ella Behlyarova

UNECE Environment and Human Settlements


Palais des Nations

CH - 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: 00 41 22 917 23 76

Fax: 00 41 22 917 01 07

E-mail: Ella.Behlyarova@unece.org

Web site: http://www.unece.org/env/esd/HLmeetMarchl2005.htm


Ref. ECE/ENV/05/P03

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05