ESD for 2030 – The Future of ESD

In 2019, the 5-year Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP ESD) will come to an end. But ESD will remain a top priority. In 2020 the GAP’s follow-up framework "ESD: Towards achieving the SDGs" was launched.

ESD from 2020

"ESD for 2030" will cover a 10-year time period. In line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the related 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it will run until 2030. The new programme will scale up its focus on the interlinkages and tensions among different SDGs and provide learners with opportunities to practice balancing them. Many of the existing instruments, for example the UNESCO-Japan Prize on ESD and the five priority action areas, will be continued within the new programme. Nevertheless, there will be numerous modifications as well, like the focus on psychological and social preconditions and the transformation of ESD into political mobilization.

UNESCO World Conference on ESD

The new ten-year programme "ESD for 2030" will be launched at an international conference organised by UNESCO supported by the German Government as host. The conference intends to provide impulses to further strengthen ESD in educational policy and practice and to accompany the strategic design of the new programme.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Conference, which was planned to be held from 2 to 4 June 2020 in Berlin, Germany, with some 800 participants, was postponed until. The conference will now be held from 17 to 19 May 2021 in Berlin. The same applies to the national Launch Conference, which will place after the World Conference on 19 May 2021. Current information will be published on the UNESCO Conference website and the German ESD Portal.

A family walking on a field

Getty Images / Lucas Allen

The road to "ESD for 2030"

Preparing the draft framework

To build a future vision for ESD, UNESCO prepared a draft position paper through a series of experts’ meetings as well as a desk review of related literature and results of the mid-term GAP implementation review.

Collaborative act

This collaborative process has included everybody: Representatives from science, politics, civil society, teachers, students and citizens were invited to bring their ideas and experiences into the draft. For this purpose UNESCO launched a public online-consultation in November 2018.

Worldwide conferences

In addition, four conferences on the future of ESD were held in Germany, South Africa, Japan and Brazil. ESD for 2030 was also discussed during the third key-partner meeting of the five international GAP partner networks. In July 2018, over 270 government representatives and experts from 116 Member States met in Bangkok to discuss and further enhance the draft.

Status quo

In spring 2019, UNESCO’s Executive Board reviewed and adopted the proposal on the draft framework in its 206th session. In November 2019, the draft was then submitted to the 40th session of the General Conference and the 74th session of the UN General Assembly for final approval.

Further Informations


UNESCO website on "ESD for 2030"

UNESCO Framework for the Implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Beyond 2019 [PDF | 348 KB]