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Programmes Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is aimed at integrating the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. ESD encourages changes in behaviour that will create a more sustainable future in terms of environment, integrity, economic viability and a just society for present and future generations. ESD has its roots in the United Nations and international efforts to promote the policies and practices of sustainable development through education. The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) for the period 2005-2014 is a landmark in the process of these deepening commitments.

 

Education for sustainable development is based on ideals and principles that underlie sustainability, such as intergenerational equity, gender equity, social tolerance, poverty alleviation, environmental preservation and restoration, natural resource conservation, and just and peaceable societies. The Rio Declaration contains 27 principles of sustainability. These include;

  • People are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature;
  • The right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations;
  • Eradicating poverty and reducing disparities in living standards in different parts of the world are essential to sustainable development.

 

Strategies

IISD has been adopting the key characteristics and strategies of ESD to local contexts, priorities and approaches by adapting the Draft International Implementation Scheme (IIS) for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The goals, emphases and processes of ESD have been locally defined to meet the local environmental, social and economic conditions in culturally appropriate ways.

 

The essential characteristics of IISD’s ESD activities include;

  • Promoting values that underline sustainable development for brining attitudinal and behavioural change for a commitment to the future generation;
  • Integrating all three interconnected spheres of sustainability– environment, society and economy;
  • Promoting life-long learning;
  • Designing locally relevant and culturally appropriate teaching and learning materials;
  • Integrating ESD at all levels and spheres of education (formal and informal);
  • Building civil capacity for community-based decision-making, tolerance, environmental protection and equality of life;
  • Adopting interdisciplinary and innovative approaches; and
  • Use of pedagogical techniques that promote participatory learning and problem-solving skills.

 

The Organization’s programmes of action on ESD have been putting thrust on involvement of community-based organizations, such as schools, cultural associations, youth organizations, co-operatives, self-help groups, panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) and civic bodies, adult learning centres, grass-roots organizations, and non-governmental organizations, development committees in integrating ESD into formal and non-formal learning activities.

 

A “bottom-up” approach is being adopted to identify local sustainable development issues to integrate local knowledge and skills into ESD, and exchange ESD experiences for better practice.

 

The students and the teachers constitute the prime target group in IISD’s ESD programmes, which encompass public awareness, advocacy, and capacity-building and training for sustainable development.

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