6 February 2020
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have set forth an ambitious and universal agenda with the vision to ‘promote prosperity while protecting our planet’. Global challenges such as climate change, demographic shifts, and growing inequality all call for a transformation in the way we think, requiring new skills, values, and attitudes in order to build sustainable societies. Living sustainably has therefore become a priority, and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is crucial to preparing future generations in shaping a better tomorrow.ESD is a well-established approach that ‘...empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society for present and future generations’. Moreover, ESD is crucial to reaching all 17 SDGs. Both ESD and Global Citizenship Education (GCED) are explicitly stated in the seventh target of SDG 4 — commonly referred to as SDG 4.7 — and promoted by UNESCO as two complimentary approaches.
UNESCO’s mandate to ‘build peace in the minds of men and women’ is reflected in its long history leading different initiatives related to peace education, learning to live together, ESD and GCED — all of which contribute to the same vision. As lead agency for education and the implementation of SDG 4, UNESCO plays an important role in promoting ESD at a global level and facilitating commitments from the international community.
This policy brief explores the challenges, promising practices, and policy recommendations when it comes to mainstreaming ESD in Central Asia’s education systems. Office UNESCO in Almaty has issued this brief as part of Central Asian series and you can download it in English and Russian.