Over 270 participants from 116 UNESCO Member States and Associate Members gathered in Bangkok, Thailand on 9 and 10 July 2018 to discuss which future direction governments and UNESCO should take in promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Among them 4 delegates were from West Africa (Sahel), representing the Ministries of Education and Higher Education from the Gambia, Mali and Senegal and an expert from a partner organization, ENDA Energie from Senegal, who actively contributed to the consultation.
The consultation was timely to prepare future programme for ESD, as a follow-up to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD 2005-2014) and a subsequent initiative, the Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP) on ESD, which will end in 2019. The future programme will be linked to relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNESCO Member States were invited to Bangkok to discuss a draft position paper on the future of ESD, prepared by UNESCO, to ensure the transparent and participatory preparation of the post-Global Action Programme through collecting input from the UNESCO Member States and to invite their commitment and ownership on the process.
The technical consultation meeting provided opportunities for reflection and discussion in different settings, such as town hall debates touching on themes including the SDGs, transformative action, and technological future; a plenary interview with a sustainability practitioner who provided unique insights into sustainable lifestyles and values in a rural village; a plenary debate on consumerism and sustainable development, which discussed the challenges of reconciling economic growth and sustainable development and implications for the future of ESD.
In preparing the future ESD programme, particular attention was paid to regional specificities. The second day was devoted to group work and regional discussions. Member States thus had the opportunity to discuss implementation at the country and the regional levels. During the regional discussion, the proposed roadmap for ESD implementation was discussed by reviewing the situation analysis of ESD implementation during the GAP period and emerging trends relevant to the future of ESD in African countries. Good practices were presented from Chad, Kenya, South Africa, Namibia and Senegal. Mr. Djimingue Nanasta, Programme Manager, Environment and Development Action (ENDA) from Senegal presented the gender equality good practice.
The next step for UNESCO will be to finalize the position paper, integrating UNESCO Member States and Associate Members' comments, but also adding the feedback of a broader audience obtained through an online questionnaire. The final document will be submitted to the UNESCO Governing Bodies in 2019 for their decision on the future of Education for Sustainable Development.
The information contained in the position paper will be used as baseline data in preparation of the new ESD program to be implemented from 2020 to 2030, in accordance with the sustainable development program.
UNESCO Dakar Office on ESD
UNESCO Bangkok Office on ESD Technical Consultation