United Nations


Quotes and Excerpts from

Mobilizing Minds: UNESCO's Environmental and Sustainable Development Activities

"Without mobilizing minds in the natural and social sciences, and through education and culture, there can be no sustainable development.... Education on environment and sustainable development issues is essential to create a knowledgeable public, behavioral change and public support."  [16] 

Breaking Down Barriers

"Sustainable development will only be achieved by ensuring that the economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions of development be addressed in an integrated and balanced manner. This requires breaking down institutional and mental barriers between different sectors of society, and forging instead close cooperation across sectors....

"Sustainable development depends on the active involvement and support by all major stakeholders: governments, the private sector and the different components of civil society....

Training and Capacity Building

"An essential ingredient of mobilizing minds for sustainable development is "capacity building". It can be summarized under the following headings:

Management of Social Transformations Programme

...in 1994 UNESCO launched the Management of Social Transformations (MOST) Programme with the aim of mobilizing the social sciences community worldwide to focus their efforts on these issues, to help find solutions to the serious problems faced by countries experiencing rapid social transformations, and to develop a dialogue with policy makers as well as closer cooperation with natural scientists.

MOST is carried  out in cooperation with relevant scientific institutions around the world and other international organizations both within and  outside the UN system. The Programme also provide for major training activities, in particular in developing countries, in the social and human sciences and serves as an information clearing-house among researchers and policy makers....

Multi-Cultural and Multi-Ethnic Societies

MOST addresses vital questions such as how social cohesion can be achieved in today's  

multi-cultural and multi-ethnic societies. Why do some groups integrate and some remain excluded? What are the root causes of ethnic conflict....? [10]

Quotes and Excerpts from

Interactive Thematic Session on Education for  All (16 May 2001)

Education for All and Sustainable Development in LDCs (Least Developed countries)

The paper mainly relies on the diverse declarations and recommendations made during conferences organized by UNESCO and other United Nations bodies during the 1990s, which can be regarded as the decade of educational reflections, reforms and strategies starting with 

  1. the World conference on Education for all (Jomtien, 1990), which put basic education for all on educational and political agendas,

  2. the Fifth International Conference on Adult Education (Hamburg, 1997)

  3. The World Conference on Higher Education (Paris, 1998),

  4. the Second International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education (Seoul, 1999) and 

  5. the World conference on Science (Budapest, 1999) and culminating  in 2000 with

  6. the World Education Forum (Dakar), which requested all Member States to develop; or strengthen existing national plans of action by 2002 at the latest.... [page 3]

Goal 1: Ensuring universal primary education by 2015.       ...

Goal 2: Achieving a 50 percent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015.

...In addition, education systems are faced with the challenge of addressing the content of the information received and, more importantly, of furthering critical thought to filter it. ICTs present education systems with the challenge of laying the foundations for democracy within an information society. ...

The need to rethink a new role for the state to meet the challenges of globalization is accompanied by a need to rethink new forms of democracy and humanism in a world where tensions are not only growing between nations, but also within nations. The universalization of human rights issues represents a step forward toward democratization. ... [Education] will have to address the need to empower people to override inward-looking tendencies and to engage in dialogue with others while asserting the difference and identity.... in short, they must participate in reinventing or revitalizing the forms of democratic citizenship and humanism needed to redress the negative effects of globalization.

...A significant effect of economic and technological globalization is the growing drive and capacity of citizens to become "agents of change", to be more autonomous, reflective and critical, to act and to create, and to make better decisions.... [10] 

Education for economic purposes is now gradually furthered within frameworks of education for human development. There is a growing recognition that human development is a key to addressing poverty and social exclusion. [11] ...

Content and values in education

...a more holistic approach is needed in education for all. This entails improvement not simply in literacy and numeric, but more importantly in relation to essential life skills. Furthermore, it states that everyone has the "human right to benefit from an education that will meet their basic learning needs in the best and fullest sense of the term, an education that includes learning to know, to do, to live together and to be." It is to be an "education geared to tapping each individual's talent and potential, and developing learner's personalities, so that they can improve their lives and transform their societies." [11]

This set of skills needs to be defined, clarified and tailored to each culture or environment. "The learning to know, to do, to live together and to be" implies the teaching of fundamental values as the foundation of human conduct and interaction. Respect, mutual trust, justice, equality, and faith in the community and in others, the understanding of the importance of ethical conduct -- the basic values form the building blocks of a well-functioning society in which individuals can develop their full potential and contribute to their society. This is education in its fullest sense -- instilling principles and values that can guide the judgment, conduct and the interaction of human beings. This is what builds social capital, allowing people to interact effectively, creating effective institutions and organizations, promoting participation and empowerment. [11-12]

The aim of education is to teach individuals to think -- independently and critically. The teaching of values, which must integrate cultural diversity, should not simple be an exercise in repetition and memorizing of formulae. Rather, it must foster independent reflection on concepts and values, such as equality, justice and respect....

The issue of content in education is not sufficiently addressed.... How is it possible, for example, to balance the respect for cultural identity, while at the same time instilling universal values of human rights and gender equality? ...

What is necessary is an ethical approach to education, an ethics of education, if need be, that integrates respect for otherness and the resolution to look for solutions. In this endeavor it is crucial for all stakeholders... to constantly be aware that.... there is no such things a as "view from nowhere"; there is no such things as a "neutral" or "objective" perspective or point of view. This engagement or subjectivity is what creates the richness of the human condition. [12]


...the four pillars of education

     "These four pillar... underline lifelong learning as necessary in the contemporary globalizing