York experts contribute to action plan on education for a better future

tablet united nations sustainability goals unsdgs

York University’s UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability Charles Hopkins, along with Executive Coordinator to the UNESCO Chair Katrin Kohl, will be among 250 experts presenting concepts toward implementing education for sustainable development (ESD) at a global UNESCO meeting in Japan.

“Transforming education together: ESD-NET Global Meeting” takes place Dec. 18 to 20 and aims to highlight progress on ESD through new country-led initiatives, trends and innovations for the 2030 Agenda – an action plan to encompass the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Charles Hopkins and Katrin Kohl
Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability at York University, and Katrin Kohl, executive coordinator to the UNESCO Chair.

The UNESCO Chair at York focuses on developing and strengthening global networks, as well as creating and fostering research that supports responsible and inclusive policymaking in reorienting education toward sustainability in the SDGs and beyond.

In light of the global climate crisis, humans must learn to live together sustainably and change the way they think and act as individuals and societies, says Kohl. “Education has an important role to play and, in turn, must change to create a peaceful and sustainable world for the survival and prosperity of current and future generations.”

ESD has been identified by the United Nations as an empowering concept to address growing sustainability challenges. The global meeting will serve as a forum to understand how educators can enable learners to develop the knowledge and awareness to act for a better future.

Experts from around to world will unlock ideas for concrete, transformative action and identify specific interventions that can be carried out by UNESCO´s member states, says Hopkins, who will contribute perspectives on higher education’s unique roles and how the whole-institution approach, or even a whole-community approach, can come to life. Canada aims to launch its own country initiative on ESD with a pan-Canadian working group in early 2024.

The session “Stepping up ESD agenda in Higher Education: A Call to Action” aims to discuss how to enable higher education institutions to inspire societal change through the lens of education, research and innovation, and how to embed core sustainability competencies within educational programs.

Kohl will co-moderate the “Europe-North America Regional Group Discussion” to create shared projects and research focusing on transformation, technology and governance as future priorities for ESD.

The meeting will take place as a hybrid event at the United Nations University Main Campus in Tokyo. Plenary sessions on the first day will be livestreamed. For more information, visit the UNESCO web page.