Recognizing that education is the key to sustainable development (SD) and with the declaration of the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations(UNDESD, 2005), the Pacific Island Countries have started taking special measures to use ESD to build capacity for progress towards improving sustainable livelihoods. The intent of the Decade is to promote learning that will help create a future highlighting cultural diversity, respect for human rights, and based on ethical principles that safeguard Earth for future generations. In this context, we are also inspired by the Earth Charter - an integrated ethical vision of fundamental principles for building a sustainable society. Realizing that we have to now move beyond compliance to commitment in implementing ESD action, the Pacific Islands Forum Education Ministers endorsed the Pacific Education for Sustainable Development Framework (Framework 2006) and an associated Action Plan (2007), an overarching mechanism to promote regional integration and sustainable development through education, as envisaged in the Pacific Plan. By endorsing the Framework and Action Plan, the Ministers called upon all stakeholders to support and promote these regional ESD instruments.
USP was given the lead role to take in the implementation of ESD during the Pacific Islands Education Meeting that was held in 2007. Therefore, USP (through PACE-SD) has developed innovative ESD capacity building activities like the Asia–Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO – Centre of Excellence (ACCU-COE) project.
ACCU COE Project: This is an ACCU-UNESCO five-year funded project started in March 2007 is a joint initiative with three main partners within USP, - CCE, School of Education and PACE-SD. The following are the major thematic areas of emphasis for project: Teacher Education, Sustainability Education and Community Empowering. Work in all these areas have started under the leadership of a small project management team which we hope to expand.
The major objective of the project is to build education based capacity, using innovative curriculum development and delivery approaches, to promote sustainable development in the Pacific Island Countries.
As a result of the USP ESD Colloquium of November 2005, the Asia-Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) plenary at USP in September 2006 and other discussions both public and private, it was agreed that the USP COE will focus mainly on three major ESD components for the next five years: (i) Teacher Education and (ii) Sustainability Education and (iii) Community Empowerment.
The project will employ both formal and non-formal/informal approaches in promoting the objectives as well as working closely with all the relevant stakeholders
Pacific Regional ESD Framework - Action Plan: As the facilitating agency within USP for the coordination of the Pacific Regional ESD Framework, PACE has conducted a regional ESD survey (mapping) and created a new database for ESD projects in the region. Using this background information and in collaboration with key partners in the region, a draft Action Plan for the ESD Framework was developed and was endorsed in 2007. PACE-SD is coordinating these activities.
For more information email the Director of PACE, Prof Murari Lal