During February of 2017, over one hundred young sustainability leaders gathered in Dublin, Beirut, Nairobi, and New Delhi to train in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Leadership using a UNESCO curriculum developed by Earth Charter International (ECI).
This series of ESD Leadership trainings in various regions around the world constitutes the pilot phase of the Flagship Project for Partner Network 4 of UNESCO´s Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development. GAP is the follow up to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) which aims to generate and scale-up concrete actions in ESD. Within GAP, there are five Priority Action Areas identified. ECI holds a co-chair position in Partner Network 4, a network of organizations recognized for their work on mobilizing and engaging youth in ESD.
As the first phase of the Flagship Project for GAP Partner Network 4, UNESCO contracted ECI to develop the training script for a young leaders training on ¨ESD Leadership¨ in collaboration with the other key network partners. The second phase, carried out in February 2017, was the implementation of regional pilot workshops, where key partners experimented with the training script and trained the first round of ESD Leaders.
The Coordinator of Youth Projects at ECI, Sarah Dobson, joined by other GAP key partners from Partner Network 4, attended the pilot workshop in Dublin, Ireland hosted by key partner ECO UNESCO. Meanwhile, the ESD Leadership training was also conducted in Nairobi, New Delhi, and Beirut with young sustainability leaders from each region and joined by other GAP key partners. The trainings used interactive exercises and multimedia methods to engage participants on themes of ESD, systems thinking, leadership, visioning, and facilitation. Participants will use elements from this training to design and conduct ESD related workshops in their own communities by the end of March 2017.
For the next phase of the Flagship, ECI will collect feedback and evaluations from participants and facilitators of the pilot workshops to improve and finalize the training script. UNESCO will then translate and release a final version for public use after March 2017.
The ESD Leadership Training curriculum serves as a guide for organizations who work with or seek to work with young people to incorporate aspects of ESD Leadership into their present activities and trainings. It is meant to serve as a flexible resource which can be adapted to fit the local context and serve local needs.
Desired outcomes for the Flagship project include the empowerment of youth leaders to inspire and mobilize others to take action towards building more sustainable, just, and resilient communities and to build a youth-led ESD Leaders Network for exchange and collaboration.