The Global Schools Program aims to incorporate sustainable development into schools globally by training young volunteers to advocate for the incorporation of the SDGs and global citizenship education into schools in their local communities.
- Former United Nations Secretary-General,
The importance of devoting urgent attention to sustainable development is critical for the planet and its people.
According to scientists, climate change could threaten livelihoods, trigger conflicts, accelerate biodiversity loss, exacerbate disease outbreaks, destabilize political and social systems, cause economic shocks, deepen poverty, and increase inequalities.
The impact of the COVID pandemic shows that now, more than ever, we have an urgency and duty to educate the leaders of tomorrow to more effectively deal with shocks and disasters in the future. To change course, the world needs many more of its citizens, especially the next generation, to have the necessary knowledge, values, attitudes, and skills to better navigate this challenging and uncertain future, tackle its profound challenges, and build resilient and prosperous communities.
Research shows that Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a crucial tool for achieving this transformation, which not only empowers students to shape a better world, but also perform better in school.
According to the World Bank, as of 2015 there were 724 million children enrolled in primary education and 518 million enrolled in secondary education. Primary and secondary schools are the center of our society, where we as an international community have the power to influence the lifestyles, behaviors, and actions of the future generation.
Educators have a responsibility to teach global issues and encourage collaboration in order to create better, more equipped students and societies to deal with new and pressing challenges of the 21st century. ESD achieves this goal by fostering leadership and 21st century skills in students, empowering them to engage in the global movement for a more sustainable future, while inspiring schools to play a critical role in achieving the SDGs by 2030.
The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) is a global research and policy network launched by the UN Secretary-General to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.
Founded in 2012 and guided by an 80-member Leadership Council, the SDSN operates under the auspices of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. It coordinates a 1,100-member network of institutions in over 100 countries to support SDG localization and implementation.
The Global Schools Program is an initiative of the SDSN in support of UNESCO’s Global Action Program on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
The vision of the program is to create a world where every primary and secondary school student is being equipped with the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for effectively responding to the greatest challenges of this century and shaping a sustainable and prosperous world for all.
Global Schools adopts two key approaches in its strategy to implement Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in schools and classrooms around the world:
The Global Schools Program, in partnership with the SDG Academy, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, and UNESCO, will be launching a high-level global task force to accelerate policy and research efforts on Education for Sustainable development across K-12, tertiary and professional education sectors.