GAP implementation structures in Germany

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in its role as lead ministry, has established a National Platform, expert forums and partner networks in order to drive forward GAP implementation in Germany.

National Platform

The National Platform - the supreme steering body - brings together 37 high-level representatives of politics, science, industry and society. Based on their expertise as well as input from expert forums and partner networks, the members of the Platform defined strategic objectives and adopted a National Plan of Action to implement the Global Action Programme on ESD in Germany.

The National Platform strengthens awareness of ESD at both national and international level. High importance is given to scale up ESD from successful project based implementation to mainstream ESD into all aspects of education.

Chaired by BMBF State Secretary Christian Luft, the National Platform meets bi-annually. Besides the BMBF, the federal ministries for environmental affairs (BMUB), family affairs (BMFSFJ) and economic cooperation and development (BMZ) are taking part in the Platform, as are representatives of the 16 federal states, Länder, who are responsible for formal education and schooling. Platform members serve as advocates of and multipliers for ESD – also within their own organizations and institutions.

Graphic representation of the key players of the National Platform


Expert Forums

Six Expert Forums consult the National Platform in developing a National Plan of Action:

  • Early Childhood Education
  • School
  • Vocational Education and Training
  • Higher Education
  • Informal and Non-Formal Learning/Youth
  • Local Authorities

Consisting of 15 to 20 members, Expert Forums deal with concerns, facts and proposals for topics from both the National Platform and the Partner Networks.

Furthermore, Expert Forums provide corresponding expert reports and analyses, and formulate recommendations for action. They promote the discourse on the establishment of ESD in the respective areas. They also pool expertise on the relevant topics and act as the interface between the National Platform and the Partner Networks.

Expert Forums meet three to four times a year.

Partner Networks

All working groups involved in the previous UN Decade of ESD decided to continue to participate as Partner Networks in the GAP. Today, ten Partner Networks bring together a diverse group of stakeholders:

  • Early childhood education
  • School Education,
  • Initial and Continuing Vocational Training,
  • Higher Education,
  • Non-formal Education and informal learning,
  • Local Authorities,
  • Media,
  • Economy and Consumption,
  • Biological Diversity,
  • Cultural Education and Cultural Policy.

Partner Networks link stakeholders and experts. They cooperate closely with the Expert Forums, introduce important concerns and topics raised by diverse stakeholders and lobbies and encourage other stakeholders to take an interest in ESD.

At the same time, Partner Networks set their own priorities and objectives, organize events and prepare recommendations and hand-outs, for example. Partner Networks thus act as drivers for implementation, initiate good-practice and act as multipliers for ESD in Germany.


The National Platform is supported by two advisers:

  • Scientific Adviser: Prof. Dr Gerhard de Haan, Institut Futur for Futures Research of the Free University Berlin, acts as Scientific Adviser. He is supported by members of staff who monitor the national implementation of the GAP and issue recommendations on ESD and its development as a field of learning and action.
  • International Adviser: Former Minister Walter Hirche, Chairman of the Expert Committee on Education of the German Commission for UNESCO, ensures links with international ESD processes in his role as International Adviser. He is supported by an office at the Secretariat of the German Commission for UNESCO, which informs the national bodies about international discussions and the status of work. Furthermore, it will ensure an exchange with international bodies as well as the inclusion of German ESD contributions in international processes.

Further Informations


The Global Action Programme on ESD in Germany

Agenda Congress

ESD Timeline