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Sustainable Development: Education and Environment Ministers join forces

Published: 11 October 2007

Geneva

Education and Environment Ministers of the UNECE region met for the first time in the framework of the “Environment for Europe” process and, in a joint statement, reaffirmed their commitment for the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the region. They considered achievements, lessons learned and challenges identified in terms of implementation of the UNECE Strategy for ESD since the Kiev Conference and agreed on the way ahead. They were proud that all commitments made in Kiev and Vilnius were fulfilled as a regional contribution to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

A comprehensive reporting mechanism and set of indicators was valued as an innovative tool that helped countries to evaluate progress in the implementation of the Strategy. The feedback of 36 national implementation reports – even though the details of information are different – was a success. The pilot reporting exercise was one of the success stories of the first phase of implementation (2005–2007), showing that the countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) are well on their way to building institutional capacity necessary for ESD. The South-East European (SEE) countries are still in the initial stages of implementing the Strategy. Other countries reported significant progresses.

Another milestone of the Strategy implementation was the collection of the “Good practices in ESD in the UNECE region”, jointly published by UNECE and UNESCO. A number of examples in formal, non formal and informal education were collected from governments, non-governmental organizations and the business community in North America, Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. The ministers made commitments to promote the good practices as a key tool for ESD implementation.

Ministers agreed that the Strategy’s implementation in future should focus on further strengthening of the initial measures and on the development of competences, ESD content and teaching tools and materials. The implementation should be needs driven and respond to country-specific challenges and common interest identified by subregions. Ministers agreed that securing funds for national implementation should be one of the priority tasks for governments.

Ministers praised the regional cooperation on the implementation of the Strategy and agreed that the Steering Committee proved to be an effective decision making body and should continue assuming responsibility for managing the process at regional level.

A side-event on the role of ESD in addressing energy production and consumption and, more generally, in enhancing public participation in knowledge-based society also took place. A thematic high-level panel of education and environment officials discussed the issue and stressed that to improve energy efficiency and the environment a profound transformation of our economies and societies is needed.

For further information on UNECE activities and the UNECE Strategy on ESD visit the website: http://www.unece.org/env/esd/welcome.htm

or contact:

Kaj Bärlund, Director

Environment, Housing and Land Management Division United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Palais des Nations CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Phone: +41 (0) 22 917 2376
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 0107
E-mail: esd@unece.org

Ref: ECE/ENV/07/P10


United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

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