The Japanese National Commission for UNESCO is a special organisation within the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) established in accordance with the Law concerning UNESCO Activities. It consists of no more than 60 members who represent various fields such as education, science and culture.
The Japanese National Commission for UNESCO offered a recommendation to utilise the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) from the standpoint that utilising ASPnet is an effective means of promoting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in classrooms.
Additionally, as part of its support for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network, the commission tasked the ACCU with the development of this website and provides various opportunities for training and exchanges.
The ACCU is a foundation that was established in 1971 through a government-private sector collaboration and is overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). It is engaged in various projects involving cultural cooperation, educational cooperation and people-to-people exchange in order to lay down a foundation for learning to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to participate of their own volition and achieve a sustainable society in which cultural diversity is respected.
National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan
The National Federation of UNESCO Associations in Japan was founded in 1948 to promote private-sector UNESCO activities in the spirit of the UNESCO Charter. Today it is engaged in a wide range of activities as a non-governmental organisation (NGO) centred around the three pillars of the World Terakoya Movement, World Heritage activities and youth development. The members of the federation include members of UNESCO associations in Japan, members of supporting organisations, charter sponsors and other individuals, all engaged in UNESCO activities. As part of its support for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network, it held training workshops for educators in five prefectures to deepen their understanding of the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network and ESD.
Interuniversity Network Supporting the UNESCO Associated School Project Network (ASP UnivNet)
There are many schools that are already putting ESD into practice and about as many that would like to engage in exchanges with schools in other countries based on that theme. The Miyagi University of Education became a member of ASPnet in 2007 as a teacher training institution and introduced it to many schools. It decided to support membership applications and ESD activities.
In July 2008, the Japanese government approved the Basic Plan for the Promotion of Education, which included the promotion of ESD utilising ASPnet. A call was made to universities that were already engaged in progressive ESD or UNESCO Associated School Project Network activities, and 10 of them participated in a “UNESCO Associated School Project Rally” held jointly by MEXT and the Miyagi University of Education on November 8 of the same year.
A proposal was made at that meeting to establish an interuniversity network to support the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network, and eight of the universities gave their assent. The eight universities then reviewed the proposal, came up with a declaration and presented it at the International Forum on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Dialogue 2008 held at United Nations University in Tokyo on December 2, 2008.
More schools will be invited to join the network, and while sharing information with each other, the members will work on establishing a system by which to support a large number of schools.
The Japan ESD Promotion Forum is a non-profit organisation (application pending) established to promote ESD in school curricula through a collaboration involving MEXT, other governmental agencies, scholars, teachers, businesses, media organisations and others. The plans are to support efforts to increase the number of schools participating in the UNESCO Associated Schools Project and implement exchanges as part of activities related to implementation of and research on ESD.