United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) 2005-2014

In 2002, the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution to put in place a United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD), to run from 2005 to 2014, and designated UNESCO to lead this initiative. The founding value of ESD is respect: respect for others, respect in the present and for future generations, respect for the planet and what it provides to us. ESD challenge us all to adopt new behaviours and practices to secure our future.

The Decade will promote:

  • Interdisciplinary, holistic and value-based learning rather than subject-based learning;
  • Critical thinking and pedagogy across the education spectrum;
  • Multi-method approaches;
  • Participatory decision-making;
  • Regionally relevant information.

The Decade aims to change the approach to education to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development. Its goal is to: “encourage Governments to consider the inclusion of measures to implement the Decade in their respective education systems and national development plans.” (UN General Assembly resolution 59/237).

The Decade has four key objectives:

  1. Facilitating networking, and collaboration among all ESd stakeholders;
  2. Fostering quality teaching and learning about environment;
  3. Supporting Millennium Development Goals;
  4. Providing new opportunities and tools to reform education.

Further information on the UN Decade for ESD: Global Development Research Centre general information on the decade UNESCO portal information on the decade University Leaders for a Sustainable Future links to the role of Higher Education Institutions in the Decade.