We would like to thank both, members of the Education Caucus who helped with the advanced preparations and those who actively worked on our behalf during CSD14 for all their hard work. Our team grew in numbers at the CSD, enabling the Education Caucus to more fully participate in the various meetings and venues. The following report highlights the results of these efforts. For CSD15 - The Policy Cycle, our goal is to double the number of active participants to 70. Mark your calendar for April 30-May 11, 2007, and plan to join us in New York.
Economic and technical matters dominated the CSD14 dialogues where the major focal point centered on the topic of energy. Environmental and social issues, the MDGs, as well as the cross cutting issues were less apparent.
The focus on energy at the expense of the other dimensions found education as a cross cutting issue highlighted in terms of access to knowledge, partnerships and cooperation, lifestyle changes, SCP (Sustainable Consumption and Production), networking, information sharing especially in terms of experiences and good practices, educational opportunities, and participation in decision making and planning through multi-stakeholder and community involvement.
Other notions of education as a cross cutting issue were described as: the importance of context-specific solutions, shared responsibility, culturally sensitive local-level approaches, mainstreaming mitigation and adaptation, rights-based approaches, increased accessibility to available data, and fostering entrepreneurship through public engagement.
The Education Caucus briefing statement and our Progress report were used often as background documents, key strategy points, and a means of exchange with our constituencies. A multi-stakeholder dialogue on education was held Wednesday, May 3rd, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Major Groups and Caucuses took issue regarding the oversight of not consulting with Educators, nor involving them in the planning and organizing of the education multi-stakeholder dialogue session on education. (See May 5th articles below for further information.)
Under Agenda 21 and JPOI, education in all its forms engaging all sectors and diverse stakeholders is to be built into implementation strategies and integrated as a cross cutting issue in the CSD Plan of Work 2004-2017.
It is clear that the JPOI added educators as a Major Group:
149. With regard to the practical modalities and programme of work of the Commission, specific decisions on those issues should be taken by the Commission at its next session, when the Commission’s thematic work programme will be elaborated. In particular, the following issues should be considered: (d) furthering the contribution of educators to sustainable development, including, where appropriate, in the activities of the Commission
This was further underlined in the CSD11 decision:
2. (c)(iv) Contributions from major groups, including scientific experts, as well as educators, taking into account paragraphs 139(g) and 149(c) and (d) of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, on their result-oriented activities concerning the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
In preparation for CSD14-The Review Cycle, educators requested a multi-stakeholder dialogue focused on education as a cross cutting issue within the Plan of Work. During the first week of CSD14 an Interactive Dialogue on education was held. Unfortunately delegates simply re-stated their previous positions on energy, economics and technical matters. Of the Major Groups contributing to the multi-stakeholder dialogue on education, Indigenous Peoples and Youth and Children clearly articulated the vital link between knowledge and action. In preparation for CSD15 we have requested early involvement in the planning and organizing for CSD15 and will follow-up.
Education Caucus Side Event [ Flyer pdf ]
The Education Caucus forum on “Linking Knowledge With Action: energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution/ atmosphere, and climate change” focused on education as a cross cutting issue, inclusion of stakeholders as co-creators, and culturally sensitive and socially appropriate action. Om Pradhan, Chief, Policy Development & Coordination, Monitoring & Reporting Unit, UN-OHRLLS, provided us with an excellent overview and context regarding key issues for developing countries and small island nations and our interrelationships as a global community. Drawing upon the work of OHRLLS and first hand observations, conditions and solutions are different for each country. Access to knowledge, engagement of stakeholders, and support in real terms is critical to sustainable development. In understanding what is happening in countries that are directly impacted such as the small island nations and the issue of climate change, there are important lessons to be learned. Juan Hoffmaister situated the voice of the Youth in terms of creating sustainable futures through vision and action worldwide. Youth were seen, not just as instruments of implementation but as essential in the planning and decision making processes worldwide. On behalf of Ton Boon von Ochssée, Netherlands Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Dr. Marieke van der Werf, Netherlands Delegation – Major Group: Women’s Representative, spoke about their national and international initiatives and the inter-linkages that address the issue of gender sensitivity in sustainable development. What is unique about the Dutch approach is its focus within society on a continuous learning process.
The forum was sponsored by Canada and GYAN (Global Youth Action Network) and co-sponsored with Japan, ZERI (Zero Emissions Research Institute). SERI (Sustainable Europe Research Institute), Rpdl (Renewable Products Development Laboratories, Inc.), The Netherlands, (UN-OHRLLS) United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
A media team formed this year for the Caucus that proved to be invaluable. Esther Castain, Sharon Abreu, Frank Corcoran, Juan Hoffmaister, and Tom Rivett-Carnac, and other members assisted with articles for the daily policy briefings, “Outreach”, and the daily, “Taking Issue”. Kate Moss and Esther Castain helped with photo opportunities and Karin Vanoppen designed our flyer we used to promote the DESD and the Education Caucus.
- Issue II, May2nd, “Education the Driving Force: Linking Knowledge With Action”
- Issue IV, May4th, “Education the Missing Link: Found Throughout the CSD”
- Issue V, May5th, “What is a Multi-stakeholder Dialogue” and “Stakeholder Forum Recommendations for Strengthening the CSD”
- Issue VIII, May10th, “Major Groups Respond to the Chair’s Summary”
Taking Issue http://sdissues.net/sdin/documents/TI05-05-06_000.pdf
- Volume 6, Issue 5, May5th, “DIALOGUE, PLEASE! As countries keep confusing dialogue for already written statements, the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue Sessions lose some, or all, of their purpose.”
Flyer[ Flyer pdf ]
Sharon Abreu, singer and songwriter, organized and directed a selection of songs from her musical for school-aged children, Penguins on Thin Ice, and performed for the UN CSD Youth Caucus. To find out more about Sharon’s work, go to: http://www.penguinsonthinice.com
The Education Caucus meetings were well attended with the usual cadre of people behind-the-scenes working on the education agenda. The lead countries this year were Japan, Italy, Canada, Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, European Union, Sweden, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Mexico, Philippines, Korea, India, Norway, United States, Ireland, and others less visible. The lead Major Groups on education were: Indigenous Peoples, Youth, Trade Unions, Science and Technology, Women, the NGO Community, the Energy Caucus, and the Science and Technology Caucus. The lead agencies on education were: UNESCO, WHO, and UNEP, and lead international organization IUCN and various related organizations such as the UNUniversity – International Advanced Studies program. Delegates from Canada, Sweden, UK, Mexico, Ireland, and the U.S. worked with the Education Caucus and their delegation.
Using the list of Member Countries for CSD14, the Caucus targeted key countries. We have started the process of identifying which countries have a National Strategy/Plan of Action for Sustainable Development; within that strategy a section on education for sustainable development; which countries have a national plan for the DESD (2005-2014).
Two new partnerships were formed: One with the growing Latin American Environmental Education Network; the second one with the Task Force on education and sustainable production and consumption, lead by Italy under the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production: The Marrakech Process. We continue to identify ways to support the DESD and visa versa working with UNESCO and Japan. Our partnership with the UNU-IAS continues to grow.
•UNECE and UNESCO held a round-table discussion on implementing Education for Sustainable Development entitled, “First year of the UN of Education for Sustainable Development: Achievements, Challenges and Future Perspectives”. Chaired by Christine Alfsen-Norodom, Senior Programme Specialist for Sciences, UNESCO New York Office. Aline Bory-Adams, Chief, Education for Sustainable Development Section, Division for the Promotion of quality Education, UNESCO, provided a global perspective on facilitating the DESD; Mr. Kaj Bärlulnd, Director, Environment, Housing and Land Management, UN Economic Commission for Europe outlined their regional responses to implementation; Gerald Farthing, Deputy Minister of Education, citizenship and Youth, Department of Education, Canada and Roland Bernecker, Secretary-General of the German commission for UNESCO, Germany described what their national response to advancing the DESD; the stakeholders’ views – as co-creators of a sustainable future - were provided by Pamela Puntenney drawing from the work of the UN CSD Education Caucus, its members and affiliated partners. The momentum since the official launch in 2005 is building as people and organizations at all levels initiate their own plans, provide support, and begin to implement activities. For updates on the DESD, go to: http://www.unesco.org/education/desd/
•United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies, UNESCO, UN CSD Education Caucus, and University Leaders for Higher Education co-organized a side event on “Regional Centres of Expertise to Promote Education for Sustainable Development: Progress in RCEs”. Over the last two years twelve RCEs have been established with more ready to start-up. The purpose of the RCE is to form a global learning space as one of the tangible outcomes of the DESD. To find out more about RCEs and how to qualify, go to: http://www.ias.unu.edu/research/educationsd.cfm
“If government doesn’t build the inner energy of the people, the energy resources it does build will not be sustainable”.
The Chairman’s Summary Part I and Part II provided a good overview of the key points brought to bear on the thematic cluster of issues. Education as a cross-cutting issue “was not given adequate attention.” Stronger language remained illusive on implementation regarding education for sustainable development, meaning engaging stakeholders on three levels: the learning individual, the learning organization, and the learning society. From our intervention in response to the Chairman’s Draft Summary Part I, we identify the following key points [ Full Statement ]:
In the Review year we have not seen figures to analyze what has been done and where success has been achieved in engaging the public in the agenda. Without access to consistent data for analysis, the Commission, governments, agencies or stakeholders are unable to effectively contribute to the development of better policy and subsequent implementation.
Under Agenda 21 and JPOI, education in all its forms engaging all sectors is to be built into implementation strategies and therefore should be reflected in the chapeau of the Chairman’s Summary as such.
Regarding climate change, educators would have liked to see clear language on engaging people in sustainability that links knowledge with action. The problem during this Review Cycle of defining the function of education only in terms of awareness raising, training and dissemination limits the capacity of the CSD to function as a learning institution and act strategically. What is needed in preparation for CSD15 is to find ways to address the complexity of the thematic issues. Indeed, accurate judgment and assessment of concrete actions and measures to understand and enhance international cooperation and local action is dependent upon strong recommendations for education as a cross-cutting issue.
The CSD14 Chair's Summary Part II (Preparation for CSD15) - education is specifically referred to and/or implied through process and/or agreed upon documents such as the Agenda 21, JPOI, the SIDS Mauritius Strategy, and the Marrakech Process, and the CSD Plan of Work... http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd14/documents/chairSummaryPartII.pdf
Education for sustainable development is on the agenda for CSD15.
Learning as a process/Agenda 21 -- One of the greatest challenges facing the CSD process is staying on top of what delegates need to know in order to act strategically. One of the greatest challenges facing the implementation of Agenda 21 is staying abreast of evolving, strategic approaches to sustainability. The Education Caucus will continue to work with the CSD to more fully utilize the consultative status of educators as a Major Group.
Unquestionably, the issue of building strong partnerships and international cooperation to support the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development and develop a dialogue on how the DESD can support the work of the CSD was overlooked. The DESD is not only linked to the MDGs but touches in real terms all of the above forms of education as a cross-cutting issue. Action-oriented measures regarding the DESD are needed as part of the outcomes from CSD15 in terms of the overall plan of work.
As a Caucus we have been asked to help bring more Youth and Indigenous Peoples to attend the full two weeks of CSD15 - The Policy Cycle, and more on their government delegations. If you can help, please contact Pam Puntenney as soon as possible.
May 1-12, 2006
CSD14 - The Review Cycle
Education Caucus Team
With P.J. Puntenney
UN CSD Education Caucus Co-Chair