Promoters of Global Education for Sustainable Development http://www.un.org/
United Nations News Centre

Ana Nedelcu was a participant in the training on International Development carried out by ARCADIA -Romanian Association for International Cooperation and Development- within the project ‘More information, greatest impact’ 


Nowadays, the world is a transitional territory. In such context, one deals with newness and otherness and often thinks of how they can easily adapt to this flux of continuous change. At first glance, it’s neither easy, nor comfortable to become flexible and see beyond your own circle of knowledge and understanding. When we talk about education and development, we should think at a wider level of understanding according to the global frame in which we practically live in - from local communities to regional initiatives, to national laws and administrations to continents` cultures and history, to global awareness and interconnection of patterns and methods of development as a global village.

Globalization is a disputed term with a mostly negative meaning when referring to the assimilation (= the absorption of a minority by erasing its cultural identity and values, and impose the majority’s pattern. It acts as discriminatory and separatist). Fortunately, globalization also has a positive profile when referring to integration (= unity in diversity, according to the EU, the acceptance of a culture, a civilization as a resource for local development). This is the main aspect we are going to refer to in this particular article. Therefore, ‘the positive meaning of globalization is progress - information exchange and worldwide open economy, without barriers and political influence. In other words, we salute a worldwide free commerce. Such a system should correspond to certain natural rights and a social order established in advance. (E.O.Chirovici, Virtual Nation: an essay on globalization, pg.7).

A short history for a better understanding

At a global level, we are debating the transition path and what it actually imposes in terms of agendas, programs, norms, content and ground application.

The relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation was first placed on the international agenda in the year of 1972, at the UN Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm. After this conference, Government leaders set up the UN Environment Program (UNEP), which continues to act as a global catalyst for action to protect the environment. Small steps were made in the following years, in order to integrate the environmental concerns into national economic planning and decision-making.

Focusing on the Integration aspect and starting in 1972, we can talk about education for global development and its steps in establishing the global agenda.

I. Starting with 1987, when the Brundtland Report (Our common future USA) issued an invitation towardsthe union of countries in pursuing sustainable development together and settled a definition of what sustainability meant (= development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Common_Future, = social/green/circular economy). The world put itself on a heavy road where economy and environmental changes became the pillars for the years to come in terms of development. Basically, global economy should change its patterns, a necessary and natural transition phenomenon.

In this context, sustainability carried eight (8) important aspects:

1. Capital of human resources

2. Used energy

3. Global community

4. Economy

5. Renewable resources

6. Traditional wisdom

7. Institutional change

8. Technology

In other words, in this particular year, the basis of world transformation process throughout economical pattern shift began.

II. In 1992, at The Earth Summit in Rio, world states agreed that the path towards a sustainable development can be done only by partnership and efficient cooperation at a global level. ‘Twenty years after the first global environment conference, the UN sought to help Governments rethink economic development and find ways to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources and pollution of the planet.’(see http://www.un.org/geninfo/bp/enviro.html).

III. In 2000, during the Millennium Summit, the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in the presence of 191 countries. The leaders agreed to fulfill the eight (8) key-points until the end of 2015. This Declaration represents the only global agenda on development established at the highest level among worldwide state leaders. The Millennium Declaration declared its Charter as ‘indispensable for a more peaceful, prosperous and just world.’ The collective responsibility of the world governments was to ‘uphold human dignity, equality and equity’, recognize them as ‘the duty of world leaders to all people, especially children and the most vulnerable’.
‘The leaders declared that the central challenge of today is to ensure that globalization becomes a positive force for all, acknowledging that at present, the benefits and the costs are unequally shared. The Declaration called for global policies and measures, corresponding to the needs of developing countries and economies in transition.’ (see http://www.un.org/en/events/pastevents/millennium_summit.shtml)

MDGs (the 8 key-points):

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger (100% achieved in 2015)

2. Achieve universal primary education (55% achieved in 2015)

3. Promote gender equality and empower women (100% achieved in 2015)

4. Reduce child mortality (80% achieved in 2015)

5. Improve maternal health (60% achieved in 2015)

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases (100% achieved in 2015)

7. Ensure environmental sustainability (100% achieved in 2015)

8. Global partnership for development (continuous)

Get informed at http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/!

IV. In 2012 we return to Rio for the Rio+20 - The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development; where the consultation of the common agenda for post-2015 was established. At this level, UN established the worldwide online public consultation. The eventwas the biggest UN conference until now and a major step forward in achieving a sustainable future –The future we want. ‘The UN is working with governments, civil society and other partners to shape an ambitious sustainable development framework to meet the needs of both the people and the planet, providing economic transformation and opportunity to help people out of poverty, advancing social justice and protecting the environment.’ (see http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/).

V.   Last month (September 25-27 of 2015) the last Sustainable Development Summit took place – the concrete post-2015 Agenda. During this event, 193 leaders participated in establishing 17 global goals for the following achievements:

1. Eradication of extreme poverty

2. Fight against inequality and injustice

3. Fight against climate change

Get informed on the rest of the goals at http://www.globalgoals.org/!

The European Union has always played an important role in the humanitarian aid. According to this year`s European Year for Development, the EU is making a statistic in terms of external engagement for quality education, fight against hunger and youth empowerment. In 2013 EU offered 18,6 billion $ for global development and in 2014 the humanitarian assistance was of 1.16 billion Euros. There are approximately 150 countries worldwide that act as beneficiaries from the EU’s humanitarian help. EU encourages citizens and organizations to become more and more actively involved in development actions and initiatives.

Get informed at https://europa.eu/eyd2015/!

An important aspect in the post-2015 agenda which all the states should take into consideration is the shift from the Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015) to the Sustainable Development Goals (2015-2030). Practically, it`s about turning main objectives (8) into specific ones (17) for better results and follow-up.

Evolution MDGs -> SDGs

Millennium Development Goals

(MDGs 2000-2015)

Sustainable Development Goals

(SDGs 2015-2030)

Reduce poverty

No poverty at all

Focus on developing countries

Universal for any country no matter the development level

Limited in terms of themes and coverage

Broader themes and coverage

Established by state leaders only

Established within inclusive consultation (states, NGOs, citizens)

Official financing offered to the developed countries to act for the developing ones

Individual economic growth and self-sustained financing

Education – focus on quantity

Education – focus on quality


What comes next?

This year, in December, ‘COP21, otherwise known as Paris 2015, is the 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place. Here, the countries will meet to negotiate a new climate change agreement. An ambitious outcome in Paris will accelerate opportunities for climate change actions in developing countries and will be an important pillar in the post-2015 era of sustainable development. The Paris Agreement has the potential to galvanize countries and communities to act simultaneously; working to reduce carbon emissions while adapting to the long-term impacts of climate change.’ (see http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/events/2015/december/COP21-paris-climate-conference.html).

Conclusion

The goal of education for global sustainable development is to determine the citizens to actively take part in their community no matter the corner of this world in which they reside. The role as a social actor is most necessary in these times of transition, where youth are the most important tool of these global goals; where economy is slowly changing its patterns to a sustainable, circular one that takes care of the environment and future generations to become more adaptable to a new social model.

2015 isn`t an usual year,

but the year in which we have the chance

to change the course of history.

Ban Ki-moon – UN General Secretary 


(Re)sources -> 

www.un.org

http://www.undp.org/

https://europa.eu/eyd2015/en

https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/