International Events

Mid-term Review of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development
31st March - 2nd April 2009, Bonn, Germany

This conference Conference on Education for Sustainable Development represented UNESCO mid-term review of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The conference was organized by UNESCO and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO.

The conference brought together nearly 900 participants – including over 50 ministers and deputy ministers – to exchange best practices on Education for Sustainable Development and
implementation of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UN-DESD) from all world regions. Key objectives of the conference included:
• highlighting the relevance of ESD to all of education;
• promoting international exchange on ESD, especially between the North and the South;
• carrying out a stock-taking of the implementation of the UNDESD; and
• developing strategies for the way ahead.

In addition, participants discussed regional, national, and cultural differences as well as challenges in the implementation of the UN-DESD. At the end of the conference, Member States adopted a declaration, referred to as The Bonn Declaration, reflecting the debates and proposing guidelines for the implementation of the UN-DESD in its second half.

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During this Conference an Earth Charter Special Event entitled ‘Integrating the values and principles of sustainability into education; the promise of the Earth Charter’ was held on
Thursday, 2 April 2009. This special event was built on the overall goal of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development which seeks to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning and on the 2003 resolution adopted by UNESCO which ‘recognizes the Earth Charter as an important ethical framework for sustainable development.’ A guide for using Earth Charter in Education was launched.

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The Forgotten Priority: Promoting Gender Equality in ESD
Another event held at the same conference on 2nd April was ‘The Forgotten Priority: Promoting Gender Equality in ESD’. The event was a forum for participants to discuss activities, best practices, and challenges, and suggested recommendations in promoting gender equality in ESD. The discussions centered on the need to highlight synergies between gender equality and sustainability at the policy level and in educational practices. The conference ended with participants recommending following action plans to be implemented at the national and local level:
• raising awareness on gender roles and their impact as early as possible, starting preferably in early childhood education, so as to sensitize students’ later learning experiences;
• mainstreaming gender into ESD at all levels of education, especially into teacher training, teacher in-service training, and university lecturer training;
• and linking gender issues in ESD with the wider social context, including topics such as
• ethnicity, socio-cultural background, and race.

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The Bonn Declaration stresses that Education for Sustainable Development needs to be based on values of justice, equity, tolerance etc. It also recognizes that the progress of ESD remains unevenly distributed and requires different approaches in different contexts.For full text visit:

5th World Environmental Education Conference
10-14 May 2009, Montreal

“Earth as our common home” was the vision for the 5th World Environmental Education Congress that was held from 10-14th May in Montreal. The Congress gave nearly 2,200 stakeholders from 106 different countries the opportunity to join forces in exploring new ways by which we can better live together in our schools and institutions, our neighbourhoods and businesses, our cities, towns and regions, in short, on Earth, our common home. It was a journey of discovery that allowed them to share knowledge on best practices, chart new and promising paths for political action and celebrate the plethora of approaches to environmental education.

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