UNESCO has been promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) since 1992. It led the UN Decade for ESD from 2005 to 2014 and is now spearheading its follow-up, the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD.The momentum for ESD has never been stronger. Global issues – such as climate change – urgently require a shift in our lifestyles and a transformation of the way we think and act. To achieve this change, we need new skills, values and attitudes that lead to more sustainable societies. Education systems must respond to this pressing need by defining relevant learning objectives and learning contents, introducing pedagogies that empower learners, and urging their institutions to include sustainability principles in their management structures.The new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development clearly reflects this vision of the importance of an appropriate educational response. Education is explicitly formulated as a stand-alone goal – Sustainable Development Goal 4.
Numerous education-related targets and indicators are also contained within other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).Education is both a goal in itself and a means for attaining all the other SDGs. It is not only an integral part of sustainable development, but also a key enabler for it. That is why education represents an essential strategy in the pursuit of the SDGs.
This publication is designed as a guide for education professionals on the use of ESD in learning for the SDGs, and consequently to contribute to achieving the SDGs. The guide identifies indicative learning objectives and suggests topics and learning activities for each SDG. It also presents implementation methods at different levels, from course design to nationalstrategies. The guide does not aim to be prescriptive in any way, but to provide guidance and suggestions that educators can select and adapt to fit concrete learning contexts.