III International Symposium ‘Education for Sustainable Development for All Generations as Social Agreement’

(Report submitted by RCE Belarus)

From 2-3 December, 2020, the III International Symposium 'Education for Sustainable Development for All Generations as Social Agreement' in the Republic of Belarus was held at Belarusian State Pedagogical University named after Maxim Tank. The overall aim of the Symposium was to summarise expertise of the best practices and mechanisms of continuous education which have an impact on ensuring ecological integrity, economical sustainability, social welfare and development of human resources in the regions. 

The event was held under the patronage of the National Coordinator for Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus with support from the UNDP project 'Support for the National Coordinator on Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals and Strengthening the Role of the Parliament in the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals', funded by UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA in the Republic of Belarus.  

The Symposium is included in the Action Plan of the Council for Sustainable Development of the Republic of Belarus for 2020-2021 and in the Action Plan of the Youth Campaign 'The Future We Want', implemented by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Belarus and the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in the Republic of Belarus with the support of the UN agencies.  

The Symposium gathered about 720 representatives (650 online) of legislative and executive authorities, ministries and departments, educational institutions, scientific and expert communities, public organisations, and organisers of local, regional and national practices of ESD from Belarus, China, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Romania, Serbia, Spain, USA.  

Taking into account the recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19, the Symposium was organised and held in a 'hybrid' format using online platforms for most of the Symposium participants.  

The purpose of the symposium was to agree on strategic directions for the development of continuing education practices for sustainable development.  

At the symposium plenary session 'Education in the interests of sustainable development: vectors of change', both Anatoly Isachenko, the National Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals, and Ioanna Kazana-Wisniowiecki, UN Resident Coordinator in Belarus, drew attention to the importance of strengthening networking between government agencies, civil society representatives, businesses and international organisations. The key speakers - representatives of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Statistical Committee, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, experts of UNESCO and the EU Department of Research and Innovation - stressed that the complex cross-sectoral nature of the Sustainable Development Goals requires a complex mechanism for their implementation and the creation of inter-agency structures for the coordination of joint actions.  

During the symposium plenary session the National Coordinator for the Sustainable Development Goals, Anatoly Isachenko, and Deputy Minister of Education of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Kadlubay, awarded diplomas to the winners of the contest 'SDGs Youth Ambassadors: the future of the planet is in our hands'.  

After the plenary session the Symposium participants and representatives of state and public structures were invited to unite their efforts in the framework of six open discussion platforms working in the following formats:

  • round table 'Educational component as a driver for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals';
  • problem laboratory 'Responsible Research and Innovations' as a methodology for involving people in the processes of adaptation to climate change: best European practices';
  • panel discussions 'Social partnership as a resource for the lifelong teacher education development' and 'Youth SDG ambassadors: the role and participation in the national architecture for managing the SDG achievement process';
  • meet-up 'Education for Sustainable Development Goals: successful experience in organising ESD practices for all generations and promoting SDGs in local communities and regions';
  • thematic discussion platform 'Towards the future we want: youth position'.

The Symposium participants contributed their ideas and recommendations to the final Resolution of the Symposium, which is addressed to:

  • policy-makers in the field of education;
  • participants in regional development processes;
  • organisers of Science Shops as a framework for providing targeted educational and expert support for the processes of sustainable development of local communities and regions;
  • the broad pedagogical community interested in strengthening the image of education as the leading mechanism for achieving the SDGs.  

The Symposium resolution, materials and videos can be found on the website of the Education for Sustainable Development Coordination Center in Belarusian State Pedagogical University named after Maxim Tank (BSPU), which provided organisational and substantive support for the Symposium.