Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development

The REC contributes directly to the 2013 UNESCO Global Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the UNECE Strategy on ESD, and facilitates the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals by building capacity in relation to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We provide professional advice to decision makers on educational policy; promote dialogue and international cooperation among different stakeholder groups; disseminate knowledge on ESD policy and tools; develop innovative multimedia toolkits in both online and print formats for classroom use; build the capacities of regional, national and sub-national stakeholders; and facilitate public participation in policy making.

Our work has been recognised at various international forums. At the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (2014), the Green Pack educational toolkit was selected as one of 25 best ESD practices globally. In the evaluation report “10 Years of the UNECE Strategy on ESD, 2005–2015” the regional programme “ESD in the Western Balkans” (which successfully integrated sustainable development skills and values into ongoing educational reforms in the region) and Green Pack were highlighted as best practices. We are also one of the key partners in UNESCO’s Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD and a member of the GAP’s Priority Action Area 3, while also making a direct contribution to all other priority action areas through our educational activities. 

Within this area of expertise, the REC aims to:

  • develop a political framework to promote the benefits of the “Environment for Europe” process and implement the UNECE Strategy on ESD at sub-regional and national levels;
  • contribute to the implementation of the 2012 European Commission strategy “Rethinking Education”;
  • provide support to the implementation of the South East Europe 2020 Strategy by facilitating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth through high-quality education;
  • create specific educational tools that promote sustainable development–related knowledge, values and skills through a holistic and interdisciplinary approach;
  • strengthen teacher training through the sharing of experience and cooperation; and
  • raise public awareness by developing tools and campaigns on sustainable development issues.

The four main objectives related to SDG implementation are to:

  • introduce the SDGs in an appropriate and understandable manner to different stakeholders;
  • build the capacities of all national, regional and local decision makers;
  • encourage regional and national SDG implementation activities; and
  • raise public awareness about the SDGs using a variety of tailor-made activities.

Among its activities to promote the concept of sustainable development, the REC is involved in:

  • establishing high-level ESD working groups comprising government officials and national experts;
  • undertaking research on school curricula and educational standards in order to identify strengths, weaknesses and needs related to the integration of sustainable development skills and values into formal curricula and the development of national ESD action plans that reflect UN standards and recommendations;
  • adapting and upgrading school curricula based on identified needs and in the context of specific ESD challenges in the target countries;
  • developing interdisciplinary and interactive multimedia ESD tools;
  • organising local train-the-trainer courses followed by comprehensive teacher training programmes on ESD at national level in the target countries;
  • supporting awareness-raising activities to promote ESD at national level, including the development of formal and informal ESD networks of educational professional and teachers; and
  • boosting entrepreneurship and the creation of green jobs through a small grants programme for secondary schools.