Topic 2a: Provision, Quality and Access to Education

Objectives and Goals

UNESCO’s main goal is to strengthen Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) worldwide. Education is the most important foundation for the transition towards sustainability and local as well as global change. ESD enables all people to acquire the skills and live values necessary to save our planet. ESD empowers all of us to overcome the challenges of sustainability. These include, for example, global warming, loss of biodiversity, environmental and soil degradation, social injustice, poverty and irreversible tipping points caused by human actions. Thus, ESD is a precondition for the future of our existence and a fundamental element of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). SDG 4 Quality Education is an integral enabler for all other SDGs and sustainability activities.

UNESCO emphasizes several competencies for ESD practices to achieve the SDGs globally. These include, for example, systems thinking, anticipation, normative and strategic competence, collaboration, critical thinking, self-awareness and integrated problem solving (UNESCO, 2017: 10). All of these competencies are closely related to cognitive learning and socio-emotional behaviour objectives. The implementation of learning for ESD is linked to a whole-institution approach addressing all stakeholders, all units and all actors.

Key methods for learning for the SDGs are (UNESCO, 2017: 55):

  • Collaborative real-world projects, such as service-learning projects and campaigns for different SDGs
  • Vision-building exercises such as future workshops, scenario analyses, utopian/dystopian story-telling, science-fiction thinking, and forecasting and backcasting
  • Analyses of complex systems through community-based research projects, case studies, stakeholder analysis, actors’ analysis, modelling, systems games, etc.
  • Critical and reflective thinking through fish-bowl discussions, reflective journals, etc.

The main goal of this track is to discuss new approaches, methods and frameworks or case studies dealing with the overall topic of the Provision, Quality of and Access to ESD. Therefore, we invite contributions of theoretical and empirical papers, respectively.

Contributions related to the following areas are warmly welcomed:

  • Community Participation and Stakeholder engagement
  • Drivers and Barriers to ESD implementation
  • Education for all and lifelong learning
  • ESD efforts to change attitudes, behaviours, and lifestyles
  • Holistic integration
  • Innovative and Inclusive approaches
  • Knowledge transfer and partnerships
  • Organizational Learning and Change
  • New competencies and pedagogical
  • Rethinking ESD
  • Social and Cultural Issues in ESD
  • Sustainability Science
  • Systemic Change, System Dynamics, Systems Thinking
  • Resistance to sustainability implementation

Potential Publication Channels

With regard to potential publications, depending on the number and quality of contributions the following publication opportunities have already been envisaged:

  1. Conference proceedings with own ISBN number (each abstract and – later – full paper)


Next Conference: Track 2a

Keep up to date with developments of ISDRS 2024 Track 2a here 

Linking Futures of Mountain and Ocean: Rescuing the SDGs 2030 for Sustainable Livelihood


Related UN-SDGs

Who are we?

Marlen Gabriele Arnold



to be added

Past Conference

At the 2018 ISDRS Conference in June 2018 in Messina, Italy presentations in our track  on provision, quality and access to education addressed all three areas by different and inspiring talks.

Within the track challenges and dilemmas, multidisciplinarity and sustainability in educational context were addressed and discussed. New instructional designs including cooperative learning approaches were vividly debated. So, education is not for granted and has to be planned and guaranteed sustainably.

Knowledge Resources

State of the Art:

Recommended Sources:

- Sustainable Development Solutions Network: Education, Quality and Learning for All (EQUAL)

Partner Organisations

We can give your network exposure here.