East Asia workshop on education for sustainable consumption and sustainable lifestyles


In early December 2010, over forty participants (among them several Earth Charter Initiative members from China) met for a two day workshop on Education for Sustainable Consumption in China, Japan and Republic of Korea. The workshop was organized in cooperation between the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) in Japan, the Environmental Education Center at Beijing Normal University (EEC-BNU), and the Center for Environmental Education and Communication under the Ministry of Environmental Protection China (CEEC-MEP). The participants included relevant government officers, practitioners and civil society members, and experts in ESC from research universities and international organizations including UNESCO and UNEP. This workshop allowed the opportunity to investigate the current status of ESC in each country, to address the current policies and strategies of the three countries’ governments for promoting sustainable consumption, and to exchange productive dialogues on how best to strengthen the implementation of ESC in East Asia. It was recognized that it is necessary to increase the capacity of governments to plan and implement effective ESC, and several recommendations were formulated on how best to achieve this.

These recommendations included:

  • Identifying clear policy mechanisms and strategies for promoting sustainable consumption and influencing consumer behaviour. ESC should be integrated with policy efforts on both Sustainable Consumption & Production (SCP) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
  • Capacity building for government officers to effectively promote ESC.
  • Utilize the strong existing frameworks on Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in each country to implement ESC.
  • Develop pilot projects under which effective implementation of ESC can be experimented with and tested prior to national implementation.
  • Strengthen linkages between national policies and local level implementation and also between top-down and bottom-up approaches. Better linkages between government and civil society can also help to achieve these linkages.
  • The promotion of sustainable consumption and sustainable lifestyles in East Asia should establish a strong connection with traditional cultural values as the countries already have good examples of sustainable livelihood practices and community practice rooted in traditional cultural values.
  • Engage more directly with citizens’ needs and concerns especially related to well-being and quality-of-life, as a connection with sustainable consumption can move concerns from an individual dimension to a social dimension.

The workshop participants also recognized the importance of continued cooperation at both the tripartite, regional and international levels. With this in mind several opportunities for cooperation on ESC were identified: the CSD 19 meeting & development of a 10 Year Framework of Programs on SCP, the Partnership for Education and Research on Responsible Living (PERL) & its recently formed Asia-Pacific Regional PERL Network, the Asia-Pacific Roundtable on SCP. Finally, the participants also identified a strong opportunity for future three country cooperation on ESC initiatives which could be incorporated into the action plan of the Tripartite Environmental Ministers Meeting (TEMM).