Overview

Foreword

image of Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, Under-Secretary-General of the United NationsWe all now recognize the very real challenges that lie ahead for Africa and the planet. But we also know that the shared mission of sustainable development provides us with an extraordinary opportunity – to lift up and bring together all peoples to value, protect, and celebrate our planet, the place upon which we and all life depend.

As Africa and the world come to realize the nature of our interwoven environmental, social, and economic challenges, we all awake to the importance of hope. Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development provides a real foundation for hope and optimism as we work together to create a sustainable Africa.

By integrating both theoretical and practical sustainability education into universities throughout Africa and preparing students to address local challenges themselves, the Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development course starts a movement for change at the community level throughout the continent. Together we have the capacity to make sustainable development a way of thinking, of designing, of living.

Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development weaves together the broad range of sustainability issues that challenge us in an innovative way that brings together those of various interests and expertise and unveils to every user a grand and inspiring purpose which can unite all our efforts.

Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules for Sustainable Development exemplifies UNEP’s crucial and catalytic role in promoting and inspiring environmental action through capacity-building, education, and training. In 2004, UNEP initiated a movement to make Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) issues a part of African universities’ programs, establishing the Mainstreaming Environment and Sustainability in African (MESA) Universities partnership.

This course represents a major contribution to the MESA partnership and significantly furthers the goals of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UN-DESD 2005-2014).

Over the last two years, Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development has been shaped and refined by MESA partners from sixty-four universities at regular MESA partner meetings as well as Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development workshops and meetings with faculty at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Additional input has come from meetings with the National Universities Commission of Nigeria, the United Nations University/Global Virtual University, as well as current university students and recent graduates in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

With this course, UNEP once again provides and encourages leadership and partnership in safeguarding our future and improving the quality of our lives.

By clearly conveying the connections between and best ways to address social, economic, and environmental challenges to those who will soon be making the crucial decisions for our way forward, this timely course moves us towards a more sustainable future in substantial ways.

This foundational course serves as a strong stepping stone towards creating a more sustainable future and will inspire a new generation to work together for a healthy and prosperous Africa. I hope and believe Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development will find a wide audience and the willing hands to make this important mission come true.

re of Achim Steiner

Achim Steiner
Executive Director of UNEP
Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations