Inspired by the political process “Environment for Europe”, in 2000 the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) launched a programme on education for sustainable development (ESD), sponsored by Toyota. This included the development and introduction of an innovative multimedia educational kit, the Green Pack, for school teachers and their students in Central and Eastern Europe. Other ESD tools similar to the Green Pack have been developed and introduced in recent years to address different target groups.
Currently, the main group of REC ESD tools includes:
- Green Pack, aimed at children aged between 11 and 15 and their teachers
- Green Pack Junior, aimed at children aged between 7 and 10 and their teachers
- Green Steps, aimed at citizens and families
After 14 years of project implementation, REC ESD materials have been introduced in 19 countries in Europe and Asia. Since the Green Pack launch in 2001, around 40,000 teachers and over 4.5 million students have been educated, fundamentally changing the way in which the teaching of sustainability is approached. Each project has been developed in cooperation with businesses, governments, professional organisations and NGOs in order to foster community support across a broad spectrum of society. Many donors from the international, governmental, business and private communities have supported this process.
The REC supports the implementation of EU and UN policies on ESD in Europe and beyond. It contributes to:
- disseminating the main outcomes of the “Environment for Europe” process;
- implementing the UNECE Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (SESD); and
- promoting international initiatives related to the UNESCO Global Action Programme on ESD; climate change mitigation/adaptation measures; biodiversity protection; and the promotion of energy efficiency and sustainable consumption and production.
Within this political framework, and based on the results achieved during 14 years of efforts to develop ESD tools for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (EECCA) and worldwide, the REC intends to strengthen sub-regional cooperation and encourage a multi-stakeholder approach to ESD.
Green Pack, for example, has been presented at many international forums, including the Fifth Ministerial Conference “Environment for Europe”, held in Kiev in 2003; the Green Week initiative of the European Commission in Brussels (2003); the UN ESD Decade opening conference in Beijing (2004); the European Parliament in Brussels (2007 and 2011); and the UNESCO ESD Conference in Nagoya (2014).
The main goals are to:
- raise awareness of environment and sustainable development issues among students and educators, and, through them, within society as a whole;
- address both individuals and groups in order to promote environmental protection in the context of sustainable development; and
- invest in human resources and capacity building in terms of teacher training and public awareness raising.
The four main areas of activity are:
- developing a political framework facilitating the spread of the ESD concept at sub-regional and national levels;
- developing educational tools to promote sustainable development using a holistic and interdisciplinary approach;
- supporting educators through training, the sharing of experience and cooperation; and
- organising campaigns to increase public knowledge and raise awareness of sustainable development issues.
The primary target users are:
- National institutions dealing with ESD, such as ministries of education, ministries of environment, ministries of youth and sport, as well as national agencies involved in management or professional educational activities.
- Teachers and pupils from primary and secondary schools.
- Educators in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development.
The REC also hopes to have an indirect impact on environmental literacy levels in beneficiary countries. The sharing of information and experience with local players and partners outside the school system, including
municipal bodies, media, research institutions, environmental authorities, businesses, NGOs and families, is also welcomed and encouraged.
Learning to Change
Education for Sustainable Futures
Tools for a sustainable future