Education and research on sustainability
Education for all
The 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by the United Nations in 2015 call for inclusive, equitable, high-quality and lifelong education to be available to all. In addition, UNESCO has since 2015 been supporting corresponding projects through its Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): every human being is to be able to gain the knowledge, skills, values and mindset needed for helping to making the world a fairer, more peaceful and more sustainable place. Education is also to be strengthened in all programmes for sustainable development.
Supporting German sustainable development policy through strategic placement of knowledge
Germany also wants education for all. With the German Sustainable Development Strategy, the Federal Government intends to give all the nation’s children and youth the opportunity of education and participation and invigorate continuing education programmes. Moreover, education on sustainable development is to be embedded at a structural level throughout all areas of education. The Federal Government has been working to do so for many years: in 2015 it formed the Education for Sustainable Development in Germany platform for the purpose of implementing UNESCO’s Global Action Plan on ESD. In the summer of 2017, this multi-stakeholder platform agreed a corresponding National Action Plan on ESD. Since 2017, the Federal Government has been working on ESD indicators for the German Sustainable Development Strategy.
The Science Platform Sustainability 2030, formed in summer of 2017, also constitutes a component of the German Sustainable Development Strategy. The Platform’s Steering Committee analyses Germany’s implementation of the 2030 Agenda from a scientific perspective and assesses whether sufficient and effective support is provided at global level. It develops dialogue formats through which the scientific community, policymakers, the business sector and organised civil entities can exchange information.
Through mid 2017, the federal government was additionally advised by the High-Tech Forum, which comprises consultants from the sciences, business and civil society. The results will serve the federal government in the implementation of its High-Tech Strategy. The German Council for Sustainable Development contributed here in particular the idea of sustainability and that research strategies need to be more closely connected with sustainability strategy.
Contribution by the Council for Sustainable Development
The German Council for Sustainable Development supports scientific insight into sustainability in a number of ways. In addition to memberships, such as in the National Platform on ESD, the Science Platform Sustainability 2030 or the High-Tech Forum, in 2015, with the help of around 50 representatives of institutes of higher learning, the Council began adjusting the German Sustainability Code to application by institutes of higher learning learning and developed a beta version. Since the end of 2016, the Sustainability Code for Higher Education Institutions has been further developed as part of the HOCH-N joint project, financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Moreover, the Council addresses the topics of education and research in its publications, such as the recommendation to the Federal Government on Digitalization and Sustainability, the German Almanac of Sustainability and the Peer Review on the German Sustainability Strategy in 2018. In addition, the Council published a study on indicators for sustainable consumption and a report on Industry 4.0 and sustainability in 2017 and an expert opinion on innovation indicators in 2016.
Sustainability education competition “Ready, set, future!”
In 2017/18 the Council conducted the sustainability education competition the “Ready, set, future!” (“Zukunft, fertig, los!”). It was addressed to children, youths and young adults with the aim of raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into early childhood education, schooling, vocational and applied education, in adult and professional education as well as in non-formal and informal educational segments. The project’s goal was to promote independent action implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and bolster dissemination of well-designed implementation measures and ideas. Around 50 percent of the 22 nominated project ideas convinced the invited supporters from foundations, companies and politics and received project funding.