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If you are here, it is likely that the concept of Education for Sustainable Development is not clear for you. We offer you, from our experience, what we consider to be the base elements that will later help you in learning more about this subject.

We begin with the Sustainable Development, because once you understand this concept it will be very easy to realise on your own what ESD is and what it is useful for.

The history of sustainable development, in official documents:

1972: The Rome Club „The limits of growth” – D. Meadow

1972: The United Nations Environment and Development Conference (Stockholm)

1974: The United Nations Environment and Development Programme

1980: “World Conservation Strategy: a strategy for sustainable living”

1987: World Environment and Development Commission report, reunited under United Nations Organization and conducted by Gro Harlem Brundtland, “Our common future”

1992: The United Nations Environment and Development Conference (Rio de Janeiro)

1994: European cities Charta for a sustainable urban model (Aalborg, Denmark)

2002: The European community „Our future, our choice”, the 6th environmental action programme

2002: The United Nations Environment and Development Conference (Johanesburg)

2007: The International Conference “Tbilisi +30” – Ahmedabad, India


A development that satisfies the present necessities without compromising the future generations’ necessity to satisfy their own needs and aspirations.

Sustainable development is positioned at the intersection of the next concepts:

The facets of sustainable development:

  1. politic initiative (the Brundtland report)
  2. scientific study (the Rome Club)
  3. expression of the respect towards nature (the International Nature Preservation Union)
  4. a new dimension for democratic participation (Agenda 21, the Rome Club)
  5. intra- and intergenerational equity (Brundtland report)
  6. a vision for a better life (the Earth Charta)

The principles of sustainable development are:

Properly valuing the natural resources;

Adopting a global perspective in analyzing the environmental problems;

Ensuring economical efficiency;

Ensuring intra- and intergenerational equity in utilising the resources;

Involving the community in taking the environmental decisions;

Preserving the biodiversity and the ecological integrity;

Sustaining the precaution principle in taking decisions and anticipating the consequences of economical activities on the environment.

In practice, what the Sustainable Development concept did was to bring together and integrate different agents and types of objectives that eventually lead to a common purpose. The two images below are relevant for this affirmation. 

An important role in achieving all these principles belongs to education (see the image below). At first, the discussions were about environmental education. But this is included in the larger concept of Education for Sustainable Development.

The aims of Education for Sustainable Development:

Increasing people’s preoccupation for the interdependency of natural, social, economical and political systems, at all levels;

Developing/ achieving knowledge, abilities, values, ethical criteria for choosing between different action possibilities and mostly motivations for participating at the actions of civil society;

Encouraging critical evaluation and decision making relative to the lifestyle (personal and within a group) and their contribution to the sustainable development of society.

The objectives of Education for Sustainable Development: 

Clarifying the concept of sustainable development;

Understanding the inherent relation between economical and ecological principles;

Emphasizing the good practice examples in the area of sustainable development;

Promoting values and personal actions that help in achieving the principles of sustainable development;

Encouraging people’s participation in decision making related to sustainable development.

These aims and objectives practically result in a process that can be divided in the following stages:

On short, these are the base elements that should help you have an image of what Sustainable Development and Education for Sustainable Development mean.