This was to be the Sun's front page headline today, until a dead donkey story came up.
It seems that no member of the UK government is going to the End-of-Days conference on ESD in Japan in November. Not even the joined up Scots are going, or the much less connected Welsh – they are still working on their pre-post-PISA strategy, of course. The Scots are sending Edinburgh's Pete Higgins, but he's no Nicola Sturgeon.
Should we complain? Or should the hard-pressed tax-payer be grateful that the jollying budget is kept for another day. Unusually, this seems a clear message from HMG, and consistent with previous actions and current policy stances. Having ignored the decade for so long, it seems very late to go (literally) to the party now.
I'm told that, "Can you explain ESD to me?" is said to be the question that every UKIP candidate dreads.
For the record, here's what they're missing:
With just one month to go before the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan, all Permanent Delegates and Observers to UNESCO in Paris were briefed on 13 October on preparations for the event so far. Chaired by Mr Qian Tang, Assistant Director-General for Education, the meeting focused on the details of the conference which will mark the end of the UN Decade of ESD (2005-2014) and launch the Global Action Programme GAP, endorsed by the 37th UNESCO General Conference. Mr Tang said:
“The GAP on ESD is a concrete step to implement an important outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, where Member States committed to promote Education for Sustainable Development and will integrate sustainable development more actively into education beyond the UN Decade of ESD”
Of the 1,000 expected participants at the global conference in Nagoya, 868 have been confirmed from 120 countries. Out of a total of 81 participants at the ministerial level, 68 Ministers, mainly representing Ministries of Education and Environment, have also been confirmed. The conference will host four plenary sessions and a high-level roundtable over a 3-day period, with 34 workshops, 25 side events and 42 exhibition booths. Under the banner of “Learning Today for a Sustainable Future,” the conference aims to secure a Roadmap through the GAP, to allow government representatives and other key stakeholders to formulate new proposed goals and objectives, priority action areas and strategies. The conference will close with the announcement of the Aichi-Nagoya Declaration. Mr Tang also referred to the conference as the beginning of a new chapter on ESD:
“This will be an important event in UNESCO’s contribution to the post-2015 agenda and its outcome will be brought forward to the World Education Forum, taking place in Incheon, Republic of Korea, in 2015”.
Prior to the conference in Nagoya, key meetings will be held in Okayama, Japan, between 4-8 November, including a Youth Conference and an event where over 200 students and teachers from 34 countries from the UNESCO associated schools will gather together to share experiences and exchange views on ESD. They will generate their own contribution for the Nagoya Conference.
Although it's a terrible muddling of metaphors, I fear we may not have heard the last of "A Roadmap through the GAP".