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Preparations for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development are Under Way

28 October 2004

2005 - 2014 has been declared the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations. One of the key themes for the decade is "Environmental Conservation and Protection".The increased awareness brought about by this UN initiative will hopefully produce many opportunities for botanic garden involvement and publicity.

New Resource from BGCI

As an ideal compliment to this initiative, BGCI has produced a special set of guidelines to help Botanic Gardens in their work towards education for sustainability. Aimed at a wide audience, from botanic garden directors, to anyone working in site based education centres, the guidelines "Education for Sustainability: Guidelines for action in botanic gardens" have been produced to fulfill a number of different roles.

They not only provide a rationale for why botanic gardens need to be involved in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and offer guidance to botanic gardens setting up ESD programmes but also highlight the importance of botanic garden education in implementing sustainable development aspects of major international strategies for biodiversity conservation - such as Agenda 21, Convention on Biological Diversity and of course emphasise the contribution botanic gardens can make to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

Julia Willison, Head of education at BGCI and author of the new guidelines says that "ESD is an holistic process capable of addressing the environmental and development issues of the 21st century . These guidelines are designed to help gardens develop their thinking along such lines and contribute to sustainable living. Overall, Education for Sustainable Development is an emerging but dynamic concept that encompasses a new vision of education that seeks to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future."

These guidelines will shortly be available online at and will be appearing in BGCI's CD Rom of resources, "Plants for the Planet: Resources for Botanic Gardens" being issued with the next edition of BGJournal and Cuttings in January 2005. Any offers for the translation of these guidelines into other languages would be gratefully received and should be addressed to

Leadership Summit at the Bronx Zoo, New York

On the 4th - 5th November, Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) are hosting a meeting entitled "Today Tomorrow Forever -The role living institutions can play in the UN decade of Education for Sustainable Development". They are hoping that participant from zoos, botanic garden, aquaria and other nature centres will contribute to a "programme to promote science and education as solutions to the challenges of sustainable development". The outcomes expected will hopefully include a set of recommendations, strategies and a collaborative community which will advance the goals of education for sustainability together.

For more information, contact Kathy Langworthy on

International Conference in India - Education for a Sustainable Future

On January 18-20, 2005 in Ahmedabad, India the Centre for Environment Education (CEE India), in partnership with the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, and with UNESCO and UNEP, is organizing a conference entitled "Education for a Sustainable Future". This is an occasion to mark the beginning of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) and to share CEE's twenty years' experience in EE and ESD.

Education for a Sustainable Future is planned as a forum for the international community of those involved in education and communication to:

  • Meet and share experiences and learning in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
  • Showcase best practices for ESD from different parts of the world.
  • Strengthen networking and active participation of all stakeholders for ESD for the next decade.
  • Develop a Strategy and a blueprint of action for the Decade, including India's strategy and its role in the Decade.
  • Work towards developing guiding principles, roadmaps and priorities for Education for Sustainable Development in the Decade.

Several thematic workshops focusing on Education for a Sustainable Future will be a part of the conference. An exhibition will also be organized during the conference. For more details about the Conference visit, or email

Information taken from University Leaders for a sustainable future website:

More information on the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development can be found on the UNESCO website,

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