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ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) in Japan


ESD is the education trains personnel who lead and contribute sustainable society.


basic views of the ESDThe Basic View of the ESD

To foster each individual to take part in creating a sustainable sosiety, especially;
  • Cultivating personal character, including dignity, self-reliance, judgment and responsibility
  • Educating people who value relationship and bond with others, society and environment.
Developing such people requires training in specific fields, to respond to the various problems such as environmental education and education for international understanding associated with sustainable development. But it also requires a general as well as interdisciplinary academic background in the environment, economics and sociology, to ensure a sufficiently broad perspective. 

At the United Nations General Assembly in 2002, in response to a proposal from Japan, the Assembly declared the decade from 2005 to 2014 “DESD (the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development)”. UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) was named lead agency for this program. 
In response, Japan offered the full cooperation of JNCU (the Japanese National Commission for UNESCO)* and the relevant government organisations, and set to work promoting ESD. In 2006, the liaison conference of ESD-Related Government Organizations established in the Cabinet Secretariat prepared ESD plans and conducts liaison among related parties in accordance with the plan, for the promotion of ESD.
*JNCU (The Japanese National Commission for UNESCO) is a special organ set up by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology under the Law on UNESCO Activities, and engages in assistance, planning, coordination, and survey-taking in connection with UNESCO activities.

  • Objectives of ESD

    • Principles, values and actions needed for sustainable development are adopted in a wide range of educational field. 
    • All persons receive the benefit of a quality education.  
    • Value and action are transformed in ways that enable a sustainable society to be achieved environmentally, economically and socially in near future. 
    • Abilities to acquire

      • Thinking systematically; ability to understand the background of problem and approach holistically.
      • Conscience for Sustainable Development; ability to respect for people, diversity and environment, understand inclusiveness and equal opportunity.
      • Critical thinking; ability to develop alternatives. 
      • Research and analyze information 
      • Communication abilities
    • Ways of learning and teaching

      • Prompting launch actions through a process of: Rousing interest → Profound understanding → Encourage to participate → Solving problem  
      • A participatory approach through the real-life experience is more important  for student’s quest and act than just relaying knowledge.  
      • Bring out student’s motivation at the educational activities spontaneously.  
      • Priority for us 

      Japan must take an integrated approach embracing environmental, economic and social issues, beginning with environmental preservation issues to be addressed in developed countries and widening its perspective to a host of issues linked to worldwide sustainable development, including developing nations.

      From Plan for Implementation of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development in Japan"