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What is Sustainable Development?

Sustainable Development: An Evolving Concept

Sustainable development means having a different vision of the world. It is a
constantly evolving concept, including the will to improve the quality of life at
present and in the future, by reconciling economic growth, social and cultural
development and environmental protectionImproving the quality of life involves a
shift from our traditional ways of learning to more holistic and integrated
approaches that recognize the interrelationships and the interconnectedness of
the various dimensions of development.
•The key idea is that sustainable development is for all. It can be
achieved only with the support and cooperation of all. It is based on the
interdependence of the economy. The social dimension implies an
understanding of social institutions and their role in change and the
cultural, an awareness and appreciation of a people’s history, tradition
and total lifestyle. The economic dimension shows sensitivity to the limits
and potentials of economic growth while the environmental deals with
the protection and care of natural resources and the environment.
• Sustainable development was first defined in 1987 by the World Commission
on Environment and Development in its Report, Our Common Future
(Bruntland, 1987), as that “ development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own
• What does Education for Sustainable Development Mean?
 ESD is a dynamic and collective endeavor that envisions a world where
everyone has the chance to benefit from educational opportunities and to learn
the lifestyles, values and behaviors necessary and principles that are the bases
of sustainable development, such as;
 Intergenerational equity
 Tolerance of difference
 Environmental protection and restoration
 Natural resources conservation
 Just and peaceful societies
 Gender parity and
 Poverty reduction
• It is education that recognizes the complexities and interdependence of
the social, cultural, economic, and environmental dimensions of SD
(UNESCO, 2004).
Aims and strategies for education for sustainable development
Education for Sustainable Development aims to:
1. Promote and improve the quality of education to focus lifelong education
on the acquisition of knowledge skills and values needed by citizens to
improve the quality of their lives;
2. Re-orient, re-think and reform the curriculum to be a vehicle of
knowledge, thought patterns and values needed to build a sustainable
• Raise awareness, develop enlightened, responsible and committed citizens;
• Create synergies with initiatives of other sectors to adopt sustainable and
responsible modes of production and consumption, to work together towards a
common vision: a peaceful and sustainable future for generations to come (UNESCO,
• Seven interlinked strategies are suggested:
• Advocacy and vision building
• Consultation and ownership
• Partnership and networks
• Capacity- building and training
• Research and innovation
• Use of appropriate and expanded ICTs
• Monitoring and evaluation (UNESCO, 2004b)