Education for Sustainable Development

One of my original excuses for going to Japan was to try to attend the final event of the Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). I wasn’t able to go in the end but I have been in touch with a couple of the youth delegates who went to learn what happened, and how momentum is being taken forwards.

The 50 delegates representing youth from around the world met up just before the World Conference in order to work on a Youth Statement to articulate the vision of youth on ESD topics.

The final document is here, described by one country representative as “a powerful, well organized, and inspiring statement that conveys a sense of hope and commitment for making a better world”:

UNESCO ESD_Youth Statement

And you can get a flavour of both of these events here in a video made by one of the youth delegates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68ndl7c0W7s

Since that event, there has been an energy around the participation of youth, as actions related to Education for Sustainable Development are taken forwards. At an impromptu side event these youth representatives organised, many country representatives committed to involving young people with the follow-up commitments and actions at national level.

In the months that have followed, discussions are underway about setting up a youth ambassador programme and involving youth representatives in the various groups within UNESCO to take actions forwards. It’s hard to get down to tangible actions but what I take from it is that this involvement of young people at the event in November – and the continued commitment to involve them since – will lead to more ambitious, more relevant and more tangible action to ensure sustainable development is at the heart of education.

A SEED Japan and Wellington living

A SEED Japan was one of the youth organisations I met in Tokyo, who brought along lots of other people from other youth orgs too for me to meet. Their profile is here: www.seekthechange.org/profiles/a-seed-japan

I am settled in Wellington for the next few days, currently staying with the cream of the crop of young people taking action on environmental issues. Paul Young, spokesperson for Generation Zero, a youth action group on climate change, is so knowledgeable about what’s going on here in NZ and gives great political commentary. Lots of interesting conversations already (in amongst board game playing and nacho eating)…

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Last full day in Kyoto!

Great day – found a lovely fair trade shop, had vegan lunch with Tracey Gannon and then met Asari-Sensei at Kyoto University who work in environmental education and environmental engineering respectively, both very involved in helping Kyoto be a sustainable campus, and then walked halfway up a mountain through thousands of orange torii gates at Fushimi-inari shrine. Quick breather, before dinner with my cousin tonight!! Phew!

Maple trees, falling leaves and temples galore

I met with a wonderful group of people involved in bottom up environnental action in Tokyo the other day. I could have talked with them for hours! More on that soon but I do seem to be rather busy at the moment making the most of the incredible autumn colours in Tokyo and Kyoto and seeing the sights of the temples and shrines. It is a feast for the eyes! (See www.facebook.com/seekthechange for a couple of photos – I still haven’t fixed the problem of putting up photos on here unfortunately!)