Sustainable development is a political goal with great priority for the Federal Government. Sustainability means not living at the expense of future generation or the people in other regions of the world. We need innovative solutions which bring into line economic performance, social equity and responsibility for the natural environment, and education is crucial in paving the way towards such development. It opens people's minds to participation in social and political life, helps them find solutions to global problems, and imparts the value of living sustainably. Learning is not simply a matter of taking in facts; it's about comprehensive abilities and opportunities to participate. Acting sustainably is something children, young people and adults alike can get into.
Future-oriented education must provide people with the tools to fight global challenges like climate change. In order to help education across the world rise to the challenge, the United Nations declared the years 2005 to 2014 the world decade on "Education for Sustainable Development." The goal of the global education campaign: to teach sustainable thinking and acting at kindergartens and schools, universities and educational institutions.
In Germany, the Federal Government's activities within the framework of the decade are coordinated by the BMBF. On behalf of and supported by the BMBF, the German Commission for UNESCO - similar to the UNESCO within the system of the United Nations - has taken the role of coordinator. It has appointed a National Committee through which it contributes to the coordination of the political players and the involvement of the civil society. The Federal Ministries, the Bundestag, the Länder, NGOs, the media, industry and science are represented on the National Committee.
The National Committee has drafted the National Action Plan to implement the UN Decade in Germany. This plan states the strategic aims for the decade and currently includes over 65 education policy measures which are to contribute to the long-term integration of sustainable development into the education system.
The Federal Government, the Länder, local districts, educational institutions, NGOs, businesses, civil society networks, and individuals are all working together to strengthen education for sustainable development. Each year, 130 important organizations and institutions meet at the UN Decade's Round Table, where they plan the next steps to advance education for sustainable development in Germany. The Round Table has also established several continually active working groups.
Together with UNESCO, and in cooperation with the German UNESCO Commission, the BMBF organized the UNESCO World Conference for Education for Sustainable Development in Bonn in spring 2009. Over 900 representatives from 150 UNESCO Member States participated, including 49 ministers and vice-ministers. Participants reached a unanimous agreement on the Bonn Declaration, which calls for a new orientation of education systems across the world in accordance with the mission of sustainable development. Since then, all 193 UNESCO Member States have agreed on the document. Exchange through national and international activities dedicated to education for sustainable development is a top priority of the BMBF.
To support the implementation of education for sustainable development, the German UNESCO Commission and its National Committee are featuring exemplary projects and districts. To date, over 1000 distinguished UN Decade projects are active across Germany. In student enterprises, children are learning to act responsibly in terms of economics as well as the environment and social equity. Kindergartens and schools are using the principles of sustainable development in their conception by building solar facilities or getting involved in fair trade. And extra-curricular groups are organizing innovative educational opportunities dedicated to sustainable development.
Deutsche Version dieser Seite
Ein Beitrag zum BMBF-Rahmenprogramm "Forschung für die Nachhaltigkeit"
2004, 34 pages
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