The time to act is now: UNESCO hosts ESD-Net 2030 Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting on education for sustainable development
Media Alert: Education stakeholders from across Asia and the Pacific are gathering in Kuta, Bali from 12 to 14 June to discuss how education for sustainable development can critically contribute to addressing the dramatic growing and interrelated sustainability challenges the world is facing through transforming education.
6 June 2023, Bangkok, Thailand/Kuta, Bali – UNESCO, the Government of Indonesia, and the Government of Japan cordially invite select members of the regional media to join, in person, the ESD-Net 2030 Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting, ‘Transforming Education for a Sustainable Asia-Pacific Region’, which will take place at Bintang Bali Resort, at Kuta, Bali, Indonesia, from 12 through 14 June 2023.
The narrative is a familiar one: Unprecedented and dramatic changes in the climate and the environment are taking place for which humankind is directly responsible. In addition, the climate crisis is only one of a multitude of interrelated challenges we face, with increasing population pressures and natural resources under threat, poverty and inequalities, violent conflicts, pandemics, pollution, the loss of biodiversity, and social and economic crises. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted at COP27 only months ago, we are in the ‘fight of our lives’.
It is indeed a dramatic crossroads: either we continue on this path, or we collectively and individually take urgent action to reverse current trends and move towards greater climate recovery and resilience. In opting for the latter course, we need to launch a fundamental transformation and make rapid and far-reaching changes in all aspects of society, no less with education for sustainable development as a key enabler of positive change of mindsets.
The time to act is now!
For our very own survival, we must learn to live together sustainably on this planet. We must change the way we think and act as individuals and societies. So, in turn, education must change to create a peaceful and sustainable world for the survival and prosperity of current and future generations.
—Stefania Giannini, Assistance Director-General for Education, UNESCO, ESD Roadmap for Sustainable Development, 2020.
At the 2021 World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, Member States and education stakeholders committed themselves to taking concrete steps to transform learning for the survival of our planet through the ‘Berlin Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development’. The integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into all levels of education and training from early childhood to tertiary and adult education was acknowledged as a key solution towards address the dramatic interrelated challenges of the world.
This commitment calls for strong leadership of Member States to mainstream ESD into all activities on education and sustainable development. To guide implementation, the global ESD for 2030 framework, Education for Sustainable Development: Towards Achieving the SDGs (ESD for 2030), and the Education for Sustainable Development: A Roadmap spell out the goals, objectives, and priority action areas – from policy-making and capacity building to engaging youth and communities – needed to mainstream ESD for the period 2020–2030.
As Asia-Pacific is now home to 60 per cent of the world’s population, it is increasingly characterised by rapid economic growth and fast-changing societies, as well as wide-ranging diversity and geographical vulnerabilities. This implies a stronger need than ever to elevate ESD to the top of the education agenda if we are to transform not only education systems, but learners and teachers themselves into dynamic ‘agents of change’ for sustainable development.
Recognizing this importance, government representatives and education stakeholders from across Asia-Pacific are convening at the ESD-Net 2030 Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting, organized jointly by UNESCO’s regional offices in Bangkok and Jakarta. This critically important meeting is co-hosted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology of Indonesia, and is generously supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT).
The ESD-Net 2030 Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting will serve as a platform for a wide range of education stakeholders, including government representatives, UN partners and international development organizations, civil society organizations, academia and research institutions, educators, youth, and foundations to take stock of progress made to date on the implementation of the ESD for 2030 Roadmap. In particular, the meeting aims to strengthen the capacity of stakeholders to formulate and implement ESD through country initiatives; exchange knowledge and experiences that reflect region-specific needs and approaches to ESD for 2030; and foster cross-sectoral collaboration to strengthen synergies of existing projects and initiatives.
The outcomes of these discussions, including recommendations and priority actions that will emerge from the Meeting, will inform the discussions at the global ESD-Net 2030 Meeting to be held in Japan in December 2023.
Education must prepare learners to understand the current crisis and shape the future. To save our planet, we must transform the way we live, produce, consume and interact with nature. Integrating education for sustainable development into all learning programmes must become fundamental, everywhere.
—Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development, Berlin, 2021
For further queries and to request media admittance to this closed-door event, kindly contact: Ms Ling Tan, Ms Danting Cai, and Mr Zakki Gunawan: ap-esd(at)unesco.org.