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What is Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)?

What is Education for Sustainable Development?

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is an internationally recognised educational concept that utilises education to build a sustainable future. Here at the University of Warwick, we thrive to provide a critical and interdisciplinary learning experience to equip learners with knowledge and competence to support and respond to the pressing concerns of sustainable development.

According to UNESCO (2022), ‘Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)’ gives learners of all ages the knowledge, skills, values and agency to address interconnected global challenges including climate change, loss of biodiversity, unsustainable use of resources, and inequality. It empowers learners of all ages to make informed decisions and take individual and collective action to change society and care for the planet. ESD is a lifelong learning process and an integral part of quality education. It enhances the cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural dimensions of learning and encompasses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy and the learning environment itself.[1]

In essence, ESD can be understood as a holistic approach of learning knowledge and training competence to address current and future interconnected global challenges (these challenges are mostly related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals). ESD learning contents can be interdisciplinary, and the learning process of ESD is lifelong. The goal of ESD is to promote social transformation towards a sustainable future.



[2]Wals, A. (2009).Review of Contexts and Structures for Education for Sustainable Development.[online]. Paris: UNESCO, 1-84. Available at:

[3]UNESCO, United Nations. (2005). About ESD. Retrieved from: esd/about-esd/




*Some of the images featured have been sourced from Unsplash.