Education Dialogue Group ( EDG)
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Education Dialogue Group ( EDG)
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Employment (1 hits),

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A Rio narrative from the Education Dialogue Group (EDG), formed around the Co-Chairs four key questions, with the four responding EDG key issues.

1. What are the expectations for outcomes of Rio +20 and what are the concrete proposal including views on the possible structure of the outcome document?

Educations response to unsustainable development has been substantial, arising from Rios call to re-orientate education systems toward sustainable development. Conjoining the three pillars of sustainable development: environment, society and economy, across curricula, campus and communities to develop the emerging pedagogy and practice of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), or even more holistically the Welsh Education for sustainable development and global citizenship, has mandated education systems to develop policy and practice aimed at forging a sustainable future. The resulting systems change has affected every level; the competencies of ESD educators, the transmission of ESD practice and the genesis of lifelong ESD learning across formal and informal learning . From the initial UK Government panel frameworks, responses across learning sectors have diverged, with an added focus on culture across Higher Education and on inclusion in the youth sector, but successes are manifold, with trends including:

i. Awareness of the moral imperative for ESD in Higher Education.

ii. A vision of schools in UK as leading children and communities in ESD.

iii. The recognition of the value of human, natural and social capitals in education.

iv. An increased awareness of the importance of the relationship between children and their local environment.

v. A search for new directions for education.

ISSUE 1: 'Re-orienting education towards sustainable development' must accelerate, if Rio+20 is to achieve the transformational effect of Rio; a new Chapter 36 is fundamental to sustainable development exerting continued influence over education systems.

The impact of all this could be lost unless Rio+20 calls on governments to redouble their efforts and build on the valuable work that has been undertaken to date.

2. What are the comments, if any, on existing proposals e.g., a green economy roadmap, framework for action, SD goals, a revitalised global partnership for SD or others?

The details of the nature of the transformation, into a world which conserves its environmental/ natural, human and social capitals; the limits we set collectively for that growth; the indicators of success such as well being (in the North) or poverty reduction (in the South), and the indicators of failure such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, increase in natural disasters, human health failures and human migration i.e. the narrative of the green economy, will be negotiated through the Major Groups across the globe. However, the realisation of that future will be via learning and change at each system level: the personal, institutional, community, administration, national, transnational and pan national. 12 The landscape has changed; Climate change is a reality for many, while the developed world plans for both mitigation and adaptation simultaneously, even in our schools.

ISSUE 2: To transform, or green, the economy and hence society; we must transform our education systems; coupling curriculum (skills, attitudes and values) campus and community aspects of formal education, along with informal and non-formal learning, to that new agenda.

3. What are the views on implementation and how to close the implementation gap which relevant actors are envisaged as being involved? Governments, Specific Major groups, UN systems?

Emerging challenges include youth poverty and alienation across the globe and the time may be right to update Chapter 25 11 with its focus on youth participation, youth Employment and youth human rights, to incorporate current Youth Caucus views6 around the need to turn crises into opportunities. Rio 1992, agreed 25 overarching principles 5, including youth participation (Principle 21) but youth engagement continues to be a challenge, and this, combined with youth poverty and the well documented need for the developed world to reduce its global footprint requires this Summit to re-address this issue, as a priority.

ISSUE 3: A Future generations principle is needed, to uphold the rights of future generations to meet their needs and ensure that the Youth of today are engaged in decision making for their future, with the subsequent appointment of an ombudsmen for future generations, at national and international levels, to uphold that principle and advocate for complaints.

4. What specific co-operation mechanisms, partnership arrangements or other implementation tools are envisaged and what is the relevant time frame for the proposed decisions to be reached and actions to be implemented? Rio + 20 comes two years before the end of the UN Decade for ESD (DESD) in 2014, and three years before the Millennium Development Goal deadline in 2015 . In UK planning frameworks for ESD run to 2020, but the background on Carbon emissions timescales are complex, with 2020, and 2050 offering milestones. Complex change is already underway and Rio+20 must draw fully on the experience of Agenda 21 and the wealth of evaluative documents drawn together by WWF-UK13, and through the DESD3 . Similarly resilience, both individually and at the community level, enabling both adaptation and mitigation, is proving necessary for sustainable development being generated through new social movements like Transition Towns13 and the rise of volunteering in the north and participation in community education in the south14 .

ISSUE 4: ESD momentum, and the centrality of children, must be maintained and the proposal to form a Sustainable Development Board to oversee the One United Nations country programme, integrating measurement of childrens well being with food production and sustainable development would ensure that this is safeguarded during the transition from the the Decade for ESD and the Millennium Development Goals.

At the most fundamental level, can faith in the future only be restored through education? drawing on learning from other cultures and time periods, enabling the limitless innovation required for humanitys survival?

Education Dialogue Group History

Earth Summit The Education Dialogue Group was originally set up by UNEP-UK in 1991 to prepare for the Rio Earth Summit. For the Earth Summit it produced the publication: Earth Matters. It also input to the preparations to the UK Government for the preparatory meetings for Rio and Rio itself. Although Agenda 21 didnˇ¦t recognise the Education Community as a Major Group UNED-UK did. Therefore from the beginning of its existence UNED-UK had a position on its Executive for the Education Community.

In 1994 The Education Task Group (now know as the Education Dialogue Group) developed the Education 21 concept which was focused on two deliverables;

- Recognition for the Education Community as a Major group; embracing representatives of all those individuals (and groups) with a commitment to education in support of sustainable development.

- Amendments to chapter 36, of agenda 21, identifying the rights and responsibilities of the education community; across formal and non-formal sectors.

In 1995 the group set up the education caucus at the UN as part of the CSD NGO Steering Committee and lobbied for the objectives mentioned above. In 1996 the ETD and the Education caucus successful sought for the UNESCO Task Managers report to be rejected at the CSD. It was the view of the community that UNESCO had not fulfilled its objectives in Chapter 36. In 1996 it also organized a major conference in preparation for the five year review of Agenda 21. WSSD Preparations For WSSD the group working in the UK hosted a number of events and developed a template to enable a review of Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. It also held a Conference with South Bank University to prepare input to the UK Government and also to the relevant UN Task Manager. Its objectives for WSSD there three fold:

- Recognition for the Education Community as a Major group;

- A new chapter for agenda 21 identifying the rights and responsibilities of the education community;

- A Decade for Education for Sustainable Development Education.

Out of these three it achieved the Decade and has education community mentioned as another key stakeholder group ˇV the closest to Major Group status yet.

Rio + 20 The EDG continued to meet regularly until 2008, with annual meetings in 2009 and 2010, convened around ˇĄthe Green New Dealˇ¦ and Rio+20 respectively. It continues to operate as a national list-serve, fulfilling its original function of connecting international policy with national implementation.
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