17-19 May 2021

UNESCO’s World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has been held online, in Berlin, from May 17 to May 19, after its postponement in 2020, due to COVID19 pandemic.

The Conference featured 3 full days of discussions and presentations of ESD good practices from all parts of the world, as well as policy statements from more than 80 ministers from different countries. These debates concluded on Wednesday, May 19, with the representation of the Berlin Declaration on EDS, calling to “learn for the planet. Act for sustainability”.

The Berlin Declaration

The declaration has been signed by representatives of governments and civil society from all around the world, as well as international agencies and organisations.

It starts from 3 key premises:

  1. We’re living in a dramatic situation of global challenges, which require a profound transformation of the planet, through the path of sustainable development.
  2. Education is key in the changes of mentality and behaviour. Moreover, it promotes the integration of all sustainable development’s dimensions (ecological, economic, and social).
  3. ESD, included in the SDG 4.7 of the UN Agenda 2030, is the basis of the transformation we need, since it allows to educate young people and children, as “agents of change for ESD”.

Based on these premises, the declaration establishes 16 commitments for ESD to permeate education systems around the world and become a central element, that is, to become a fundamental axis of teacher training for teachers, and to drive the transformation of learning at school.

Furthermore, these 16 commitments also refer to empowering children as agents of change to achieve sustainable development, so they can be co-creators of the individual and social transformation that our planet needs; or also to ensure the necessary funding and resources for ESD especially during the Covid-19 era, but also afterwards.

In short, as a powerful idea, the declaration claims ESD as the key lever for transforming the world’s education systems. As Assistant’s Director-General for Education, Prof. Stefania Giannini, said at the presentation of the Declaration: “In this declaration we acknowledge the power of education to turn things around. An education that builds knowledge, creates the awareness and leads to the necessary big, Disruptive change we need”.

Conference source documents

Visit the webpage of the World Conference on ESD
Read the Berlin Declaration of World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development
Education for Sustainable Development Goals: Learning Objectives