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SDGs and the Climate Change Agreement: Challenges and Opportunities for ESD 2018-03-21

The year 2014 was critical, for it marked the end of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). It was as if ESD had reached its first milestone. In 2005, when the DESD was launched, ESD was relatively a new term. The decade saw several people engaged in ESD practices, the concept evolved further, new networks were formed and several initiatives were taken. These included the Regional Centres of Expertise (RCE) initiative of the United Nations University-Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS), the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES), the Copernicus Alliance (a network of institutions in Europe), Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in Africa (MESA), the Handprint movement and several others. The DESD initiatives also included this journal which was launched in 2007. By the end of the decade, it was obvious that ESD and its engaging methodology would be an important tool for the transformation of our planet to a more sustainable one. The year 2015 saw, for the first time, nations across the world coming together at the UN and agreeing to prioritize sustainable development. The 17 goals and 169 targets are by no means exhaustive or all that is desired. However, they do represent something extremely powerful. The fact that 188 countries could agree to a concept of the complex form of sustainable development was a major landmark. Thus, while the end of 2014 saw the meaning of the letter `E` in ESD being defined, 2015 saw the `SD` in it being defined. With this, the challenge before the ESD community is to make this knowledge and skills to transform values and attitudes available to the wider community of practitioners, policy-makers, educators and society.


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