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
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.
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 intends to develop 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. Since the end of 2016, the beta version has been undergoing testing by around ten educational institutions as part of the HOCH-N project, financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Moreover, in 2016 the Council published an expert opinion on innovation indicators, a study on indicators for sustainable consumption and in 2017 a report on Industry 4.0 and sustainability.
Sustainability education competition “Ready, set, future!”
The “Ready, set, future!” (“Zukunft, fertig, los!”) competition is a competition for ideas launched by the Council in autumn 2017. 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.