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Learning to Live Sustainably in Cities: regional conference for the Arab States

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  • Date: 5 March 2018 to 7 March 2018
  • Where: Aswan (Egypt)

Learning cities are a key driver in promoting education and lifelong learning at the local level; yet, to ensure the sustainable development of cities, we need to learn how to live sustainably. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) addresses the economic, social and environmental issues related to sustainability and aims to transfer the skills needed to promote sustainable lifestyles.

By 2050, the Arab States region will have a population of 646 million people, with 438 million living in urban areas (UN-Habitat, 2012). In the last years, the Arab States has been facing an economic and political transformation that has led to rapid growth in the urban population and an emerging need for sustainable development. A viable reform in educational concepts to reinforce the lifelong learning concept and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is therefore needed to empower those living in urban areas with the skills and knowledge they need to respond to an ever-changing and dynamic society. Moreover, the integration of lifelong learning and ESD into cities can contribute to economic growth and job creation, benefitting the region’s youth population.

The aim of the upcoming regional conference in Aswan, entitled ‘Learning to Live Sustainably in Cities: Implementing Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Learning Cities’, is to enhance and integrate ESD at local level by making use of the concept of learning cities. Regional members of UNESCO’s Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) as well as other representatives of local municipalities and communities, Global Action Plan (GAP) partners and NGOs will come together to increase their knowledge and gain insight into learning city development, paying particular attention to ESD. 

The workshop is jointly organized by the UNESCO Regional Office in Beirut in cooperation with the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), the UNESCO Office in Cairo and UNESCO Headquarters.

UNESCO is the lead agency for the Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), the official follow-up programme to the UN Decade of ESD (2005–2014). One of the GAP’s five Priority Action Areas focuses on implementing sustainable solutions at the local level. This involves mobilizing local municipalities and communities, ensuring that they have sufficient capacities in ESD, strengthening learning opportunities for citizens in various settings, and promoting collaboration among local stakeholders in different sectors.

As a key partner of UNESCO’s Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), the UNESCO GNLC together with the ESD Unit at UNESCO HQ organizes regional workshops to help integrate ESD in cities. Four regional workshops have already taken place: in Hamburg, Germany, for Europe and North America (12-14 December 2016); in Villa María, Argentina, for Latin America and the Caribbean (26-28 April 2017); in New Delhi, India, for Asia and the Pacific (28-30 November 2017); and in Nairobi, Kenya, for Africa (7-8 December 2017).

Learning cities are a key driver in promoting education and lifelong learning at the local level; yet, to ensure the sustainable development of cities, we need to learn how to live sustainably. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) addresses the economic, social and environmental issues related to sustainability and aims to transfer the skills needed to promote sustainable lifestyles.

  • Language of event: Arabic

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