On 10-14 September 2018, the Regional Workshop on Enhancing Community Engagement for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held in Okayama, Japan. More than 40 participants from 16 Asian countries shared their experience in promoting ESD and SDGs, reviewed the Community Learning Centres (CLCs) guide and teacher education resources, and shared on the follow up country action plans.
The 5-day workshop was organized by UNESCO Beijing Cluster Office, New Delhi Office and UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education, in partnership with Okayama University, Okayama City, Okayama ESD Promotion Conference and Asia-Pacific Culture Center for UNESCO (ACCU), with support from Japanese National Commission for UNESCO and ESD Resource Center of Japan. Senior officials from the Ministries of Education and national institutions from 16 countries have gained firsthand exposure to Okayama City’s experiences built on strong political commitment, solid partnerships, and effectively localized and engaged education institutions and local communities that promoted SDGs under existing mechanism and platforms in Education for Sustainable Development.
Okayama City has had successfully developed a unique model to promote CLCs and localized and institutionalized SDGs through ESD platform. In 2016, the Okayama City’s ESD project was awarded the UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD, in recognition of successfully institutionalizing ESD at local level. The project was recognized for its ‘whole city’ approach to ESD involving schools, the government, corporations, NGOs and other civil society associations. In Okayama City, ESD begins in elementary schools and extended to all levels of education, where pupils have many chances to visit local farms, meet with elders who have specialized knowledge of the local area, take part in rice planting, work with non-profit organizations and more. Okayama University, as a leader of the Okayama ESD Project, takes a UNESCO Chair in the promotion of ESD. It makes great effort in the experience dialogue and knowledge sharing at national and international levels.
This regional workshop organized jointly by UNESCO and Okayama University, is a showcase of the commitment of UNESCO and its Member States to the enhancement of quality education for sustainable development within the framework of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD and SDG4-Education 2030 Agenda. UNESCO promotes the access to ESD at all levels and in all social contexts, as a key contribution to the realization of SDGs at national levels. Target 4.7 of SDG 4 on education specially addresses ESD and related approaches. The participants in the workshop will bring back what they have observed and learnt in Okayama to their respective countries and communities, to support their people developing knowledge, skills, values and behaviors needed for sustainable development.