About the Conference

The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) has demonstrated how education can play a vital role leading to sustainable development. The UN DESD closed with an International Conference in Nagoya, Japan in November 2014 with the declaration of the Global Action Programme (GAP). The GAP has identified five priority areas to advance the Education for Sustainable Development agenda and enable strategic focus and foster stakeholder commitment. CEE is a key GAP partner to the priority area ‘Advancing Policy’. Every country and region would need to develop their own GAP agenda bringing in local perspectives and initiative.

In September 2015, the UN also launched Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an outcome of global consultative processes. It is important for ESD communities to look specifically at each goal and determine how education can play an effective role in helping achieve this.

An international conference titled ‘Education as a Driver for Sustainable Development Goals’ was organized by the Centre for Environment Education (CEE), in partnership with UNESCO, UNEP and the Government of India. The Conference was organized from January 11-13, 2016, at CEE in Ahmedabad. It aimed at bringing together global experience and expertise to highlight and strengthen the role of education in realizing the SDGs. It was an opportunity to build upon the learnings from the UN DESD and recognize Education as a key enabler.

The SDGs are applicable to the world as a whole. Increasingly, the emphasis has moved away from a solely economic view of development to a larger view that includes the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic. With this new emphasis comes also the recognition that policy instruments or technological solutions are not going to be enough and that behavioral change was critical to achieving Sustainable Development. Thus the role of education in its broadest sense including training and capacity building, communication and creating public awareness, scientific research, sharing and access to information and networking; and partnerships becomes a key strategy for achieving the SDGs.

The objective of the Conference was to bring together the global experience and expertise of using Education as a way of achieving SDGs.


  • To apply the learnings of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development to develop programmes to achieve the SDGs
  • To look at how the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD can play a major role in the SDG strategy
  • To develop synergies and partnerships

The conference spread over 3 days had 5 Plenaries and 17 Working Groups  

Theme of the Conference: Education as a driver for Sustainable Development Goals

Working Groups
The working groups were organized on the lines of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Workshop 1: Poverty Alleviation

Workshop 2: Sustainability Education for Achieving Food Security and Promoting Sustainable Agriculture

Workshop 3: Ensuring Continuum of Quality Care for Healthy Lives and Well being

Workshop 4: Quality Education

          4.1 ESD for Transforming Formal Education (School Systems)
          4.2 Early Childhood Development, Care and Pre-primary Education: Cornerstone for achieving SDGs
          4.3 Higher Education and TVET: Addressing pedagogy, curriculum, research and spaces of learning
          4.4 Empowering Youth for a Sustainable Future – Youth Empowerment and SDGs
          4.5 Enable Teachers, Enable Learning
          4.7a Youth-led Monitoring of SDG 4.7: Youth as Game Changers of Data Revolution for SDGs
          4.7b Environmental Education, Ethics and Action: Re-imagining critical skills for sustainable lifestyles and global citizenship

Workshop 5: Gender Equality and Empowerment

Workshop 6: Sustainable Management of Water and Sanitation

Workshop 7: Access to Sustainable and Modern Energy

Workshop 8: Sustainable Economic Growth

Workshop 9: Sustainable Industrialization and Infrastructure

Workshop 10: Education for Equality

Workshop 11: Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements

Workshop 12: Education: A key-enabler in Achieving Sustainable Consumption and Production

Workshop 13: Combating Climate Change and its impacts

Workshop 14: Conservation and Sustainable use of Marine Ecosystem and Resources

Workshop 15: Conservation and Sustainable use of Terrestrial Ecosystems and Resources; combating desertification and land degradation

Workshop 16: Justice and Peace

Workshop 17: Unified Ways and Unified Decisions – Partnerships for Implementation