Cookies management by TermsFeed Cookie Consent
Recent News

Press Releases

05-10-2022 16:32

Welcome message by the Minister of Education, Sport and Youth, Mr Prodromos Prodromou, at the 3rd High-Level Meeting of Education and Environment Ministries on Education for Sustainable Development

I welcome you to the 3rd joint high-level Meeting of Education and Environment Ministers on Education for Sustainable Development.

A high-level meeting with particular interest and importance, since it focuses on education, which can be a fundamental tool to behavioral change and for promoting new appropriate attitudes, often described as an Environmental Citizenship.

It is an honor for me to co-chair this session with my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Environment, Mr Costas Kadis. An honor, because this session is about the vision, decisions and actions on Education for Sustainable Development that will lead and guide the UNECE Region Member States toward 2030. This high-level meeting is the moment to comment on and a great opportunity for us to discuss the new implementation framework of the UNECE Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development 2021-2030. A very ambitious plan, which is aligned with the major initiatives on ESD on a regional, Mediterranean, European and global level. We proceed towards this plan fully aware of the current “momentum of change and crisis”. In a rapidly changing world, with considerable political and socioeconomic developments, at national and global level, the new implementation framework for UNECE Strategy on ESD 2030 can respond to many known and new challenges.

Personally, I realize that co-chairing this special session is even more important, knowing that Cyprus has the honor to chair, since 2017, the UNECE ESD Steering Committee. A very powerful and effective Committee inspired by knowledge, expertise and capacity building, leading to innovations and good practices on ESD for sustainable development communities.

From the beginning of its enactment, as a concrete platform, the UNECE ESD Strategy has guided and supported our countries, whilst also strengthening resulting synergies in a manner that we have concrete policies, plans and actions on a national level, in a coordinated and unified way. Through the UNECE ESD Steering Committee, this Strategy operates as a credible mechanism and a trustworthy platform of building bridges and bringing together our countries to face the issues that constitute the biggest challenges for our planet and for all humans. The well-known threats of climate crisis, desertification, melting glaciers, loss of biodiversity, plastic pollution, and ocean pollution and acidification.

Our session here also has a special symbolism, as it brings us in front of very critical questions regarding the content and the essence of ESD, the very future of our education. The answer to the question whether education can serve to achieve a more sustainable, just and healthy world, is undoubtedly positive. But we have to elaborate on the transitions needed to reach that and specify who will lead the way. It is also necessary to shape new possibilities in education and prepare our education institutions to appropriately adapt their curricula, methodologies, pedagogy, operations and regulations, governance structures and infrastructure, as a compass to meet the challenge of sustainability. At the same time, we have to answer how education can be strengthened and reoriented in the post-pandemic period and beyond.

We share the view that education can be a fundamental tool and contribute to behavioral change. In these times, a central question is how Education can initiate an Environmental Citizenship?

At this moment we need action and not only words. The common challenges we face require to act now and to commit to working together to turn ESD into an intrinsic part and an essential tool of our policies. Because we want to give young students hope in troubled times, a hope based on skills, knowledge and new appropriate attitudes.

Today with you, my counterparts, representatives of international and regional organizations, civil society, academia, NGOs and mainly our Youth, we have the chance to discuss, interact and commit to SHAPING PLANS FOR OUR PLANET. We will work together to transform our Education Plans to transform our Planet.