On 5 April, Minister of State Maria Böhmer, together with Qian Tang, UNESCO Assistant Director-General, and Verena Metze‑Mangold, President of the German Commission for UNESCO, opened the conference of heads of German UNESCO Associated Schools in the Federal Foreign Office.
Sustainable Development Goals as a challenge
The conference bore the motto: "The Global Action Programme and the Sustainable Development Goals as a challenge for the development of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network". In six working groups, the participants developed new ideas and momentum to enable the Sustainable Development Goals to be better implemented in schools.
Increased participation of pupils in school development is a key feature of UNESCO schools. True to this principle, the working groups were chaired by pupils from the Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum.
"Bringing Agenda 2030 goals into the classroom"
"It is important to bring the Agenda 2030 goals into the classroom." For us, the network of the German UNESCO Associated Schools is of crucial importance. After all, that is what you are committed to with great personal dedication as heads and with your fellow teachers in UNESCO schools. I want to encourage you to continue this important and successful work," Minister of State Böhmer said to the heads.
"UNESCO schools set an example and play a pioneering role. They actively support the goals of UNESCO and are committed to a culture of peace and to sustainable development. The importance of education for sustainable development and the appreciation of cultural diversity are emphasised in the Sustainable Development Goals. I hope many schools will follow on from the example of the UNESCO Associated Schools and do even more to promote these goals. After all, they are decisive for our co‑existence and the cohesion of our society."
Background information on UNESCO Associated Schools:
In Germany, 250 schools are members of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network. There are 10,000 education institutions in 180 countries around the world who belong to this international network. In their curricular and extra‑curricular activities, UNESCO Associated Schools actively support UNESCO's goals.
The basis of their work is the recommendation adopted at the 18th UNESCO General Conference in 1974 concerning education for international understanding and cooperation.
The focus is particularly on sustainable education as reflected in the fourth Sustainable Development Goal: ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. UNESCO is also supporting this goal with the Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development.