…chef för avdelningen för Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) på Unescos sekretariat i Paris.


The UN:s decade for sustainable development is coming to an end in 2014. What has been most successful during the decade for ESD?

First of all, the decade has helped us to raise recognition of the importance of ESD. Sustainable development is more often mentioned in policy documents both on an international and national level. Secondly, there has been a large increase in concrete projects related to ESD on the ground. Partly because new projects have been generated by the decade and partly because already existing projects have had increased visibility. Today, a majority of countries have some form of ESD activity. A simple but important indicator of the success of the decade is that during the UNESCO General conference at the beginning of the decade in 2005 ESD was mentioned a handful of times, at the last GK in 2011 ESD was mentioned more than 80 times.

And what has been not so successful?

All activities and programs that have come out of ESD have been excellent, but many of them are only individually run and/or are separated from a more comprehensive approach and a network. A holistic approach is needed to form solutions on sustainable development. We also see the need to relate ESD- work to other relevant discourses inside UNESCO such as climate change and risk reduction.

UNESCO has decided to continue working on ESD when the decade ends in 2014. What are the plans at the moment?

A big conference on ESD will be held next year in Nagoya, Japan. My hope is that this conference will send a strong message on the importance of ESD and that it will make ESD more visible to the global community. We will launch our project framework with a limited number of priority action areas: policy integration, reorienting education institutions, empowering educators, empowering youth and empowering local communities. With this we hope that countries as well as important stakeholders will make a strong commitment to the continuation of ESD.

How can UNESCO support different countries in their efforts on implementing ESD?

As the problems with ESD are different in each country we will approach country by country and assess what their specific needs for support are. We have a small but very competent office in Paris with expert knowledge that we will use in supporting projects and network building in member states. We will also highlight specific well run projects in member states so that experiences and lessons learned can be shared globally.