UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development section

UNESCO was created to contribute to peace and security by encouraging collaboration between countries through education, science, culture and communication.
In December 2002, the UN General Assembly established a UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), and designated UNESCO as the lead agency for the promotion of the Decade.
The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development aims to integrate the values inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of learning to encourage changes in behaviour which will enable a more viable and fairer society for everyone.


During this decade, education for sustainable development will contribute to preparing citizens better prepared to face the challenges of the present and the future, and decision-makers who will act responsibly to create a viable world.


Five kinds of fundamental learning have been identified: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, learning to live together, and learning to transform oneself and society.

UNESCO, as lead agency for the coordination of the Decade,


  • develops its action plan,


  • provides guidance to governments and organizations for the implementation of the Decade,


  • catalyses new partnerships with the private sector, faith-based institutions, media groups, youth, indigenous people, etc.


  • serves as a forum, assists networks to facilitate exchanges,


  • shares good ESD practices,


  • encourages a research agenda,


  • contributes to identifying indicators to ensure the monitoring and evaluation of the Decade,


  • convenes flexible working groups on specific topics,
    • contributes to enhancing education reforms.




Key information

Operation level:
Works with age groups:
Organisation type:
United Nations agency


Organisation mandate

, Children 0 - 18

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