Sustainable Development

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."
(Our Common Future, Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987).
"Human security is inconceivable without sustainable development."

As UNESCO seeks to tackle poverty through human enlightenment, our business is to promote education for all, to enhance scientific understanding of environment issues or social transformations, to protect cultural diversity, and to foster greater access for all to the knowledge societies. (Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO) Education is not an end in itself.

It is one of the most powerful forces to bring about the changes in the knowledge, values, behaviours and lifestyles required to achieve sustainability and stability, democracy, human security and peace.

But, what is Education for Sustainable Development?
Education for sustainable development is:

  • a holistic concept whereby education is seen as "everybody's business", for which all sectors of society are responsible and from which all benefit.

  • a means to provide learners with the skills, perspectives, values and knowledge to live sustainable in their communities.

  • a tool to address major global problems relevant for sustainable development: poverty and development, environmental issues, ethics, health, HIV/AIDS, knowledge formation and sharing, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, gender equality, equity and social justice, population growth, urban and rural transformation, sustainable governance, and cultural diversity.

  • a means to enable individuals and communities to fulfill and enjoy their rights and responsibilities, a way to promote civil democracy, form responsible and caring citizens, invest in human and social capital, and reinforce the philosophy of lifelong learning.

  • a challenge to the conventional notion of education focused on economic and cognitive aspects of learning.

  • a long-term underlying principle for all education plans as these are developed to achieve social, economic, and environmental sustainability.