UNEP and Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development

In order for all people to live in a healthy environment that is respected and where human rights and human development are enshrined—our definition of sustainable societies—conscious decisions must be made and concrete actions must be taken.

Mounting scientific evidence shows that global prosperity and human well-being depends on maintaining the productivity of the world’s ecosystems and the services that they provide. As ecosystems are now under unprecedented pressure, prospects for sustainable development are under serious threat.

While the environmental challenges may sometimes seem insurmountable, they also represent opportunities – for individuals, for local communities, for businesses, and for international cooperation. New and exciting avenues to achieve sustainable development will emerge in environments that facilitate innovation and creative solutions. Economic and regulatory instruments, new and existing technologies, and the empowerment of stakeholders will establish these environments.

In this context, UNEP has identified six cross-cutting thematic priorities. The means UNEP will use to implement these priorities and the institutional mechanisms that will need to be put in place to deliver results in an effective and efficient manner have also been specified.

The six cross-cutting thematic priorities are, in alphabetical order:

      • Climate change;
      • Disasters and conflicts;
      • Ecosystem management;
      • Environmental governance;
      • Harmful substances and hazardous waste; and
      • Resource efficiency – sustainable consumption and production.

Three of the means UNEP is using to inspire and promote environmental action and innovation related to the six cross-cutting thematic priorities are awareness-raising, education, and training.

The thematic issues identified by UNEP are central to the core educational materials in Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development. The course presents these issues in the context of the social, economic, and environmental challenges Africa faces. Sustainable Societies in Africa: Modules on Education for Sustainable Development is a delivery vehicle designed to supply students in African universities with issue awareness and at the same time show them opportunity—educating them about the issues and developing their capacity to design innovative and creative solutions for the challenges to sustainable development.