UN Global Action Programme and Education for Sustainable Development: A Critical Appraisal of the Evidence Base

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The United Nations (UN) proclaimed the years 2005 to 2014 the World Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). As a follow up on the World Decade, the UN launched a Global Action Programme (GAP) that is designed to set the framework for international activities on ESD. The GAP focuses on five priority areas that are of high relevance for further implementation of ESD in educational systems.

The research presented in this paper results from a training research course that was conducted with advanced bachelor students in environmental and sustainability science. This project pursued two main objectives on different levels: the aim of the research aspect was to identify well-documented success factors for specific research questions associated with the GAP designated priority action areas by means of conducting systematic literature reviews. The aim of the training was to enable students enrolled in the university course to experience systematic review and critical appraisal of the current state of research in the various fields of ESD. As a result, the paper summarizes and discusses both the findings of the research projects and university course. Inclusive is the potential of the teaching approach and its contribution to advancing higher education for sustainable development.

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