Ministers' Deputies / Rapporteur Groups
GR-C
Rapporteur Group on Education, Culture, Sport,
Youth and Environment

GR-C(2005)26 18 November 20051
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Youth education for sustainable development: the role of the regions –
Recommendation 174 (2005) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
Draft reply

Item to be considered by the GR-C


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Background

The Congress adopted Recommendation 174 (2005) on “Youth education for sustainable development: the role of the regions” at its 12th Plenary Session on 31 May – 2 June 2005 in Strasbourg. The Deputies considered it at their 936th meeting (7 September 2005, item 12.1), took note of it, brought it to the attention of their governments, forwarded it to the Steering Committee for Education (CDED), European Steering Committee for Youth (CDEJ) and the Joint Committee on Youth Matters, the Committee for the activities of the Council of Europe in the field of biological and landscape diversity (CO-DBP) and the CEMAT for information, and asked the GR-C to prepare a draft reply for consideration and adoption at one of their forthcoming meetings.

About the Recommendation

The Congress considers as important teaching sustainable development at all educational levels, as an investment to achieve future social, economic and environmental gains and a tool to foster active citizenship among young people. In addition, regional authorities can play a vital role in the initiation and development of integrated actions for sustainable development at international level. Thus, the Congress, through the Committee of Ministers, addresses a number of recommendations to the national governments of the Council of Europe member states2:

Draft Reply

“The Committee of Ministers has considered Congress’ Recommendation 174 (2005) on “Youth
education for sustainable development: the role of the regions” and forwarded it to its member governments. It would like to give the following information on the action of the Council of Europe in this field.

As regards the Council of Europe’s Education Sector, the Division for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education (EDC/HRE) co-operates closely with UNESCO and OHCHR in the framework of the Action Plan of the World Programme for Human Rights Education. At the same time the EDC/HRE project will also seek co-operation with the relevant UN agencies in the framework of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development. A global approach to citizenship has been taken up by many member states during the European Year of Citizenship through Education (2005).

As for the Youth and Sport Sector, it might be noted that the revised Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life promotes the involvement of young people, in co-operation with the relevant authorities, in developing policies which affect them. The priority programmes of the youth sector for the period 2006-2008 foresee the pursuit of work on the participation and the active citizenship of young people. In this framework, efforts to promote and disseminate the Charter will include elements concerning the development by and with young people of policies and practice relating to sustainable development.

As regards the Natural Heritage and Biological Diversity field, the Council of Europe has been active in promoting environmental education, communication and information. Most texts adopted by the Committee of Ministers within the environmental field underline the importance of public awareness and education. The main texts guiding Council of Europe's current action in the field of nature conservation (the Bern Convention and the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy) also recall the need to invest in education. The Action Plan of the Third Summit of the Heads of States and Government of the Council of Europe states: "We are committed to improving the quality of life for citizens. The Council of Europe shall therefore, on the basis of the existing instruments, further develop and support integrated policies in the fields of environment, landscape, spatial planning and prevention and management of natural disasters, in a sustainable development perspective.”

As a follow-up to the Wroclaw Declaration on Fifty Years of European Cultural Convention and in conformity with the decisions of the Third Summit, a Think-Tank has been established to analyse what could be the specific approach of the Council of Europe to sustainable development. The issue of education to sustainable development is currently under consideration and contacts with other leading organisations (such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) have been established.

As regards Spatial Planning and Landscape protection, the Committee of Ministers would like to recall Article 6.B “Training and education”, paragraph c. of the European Landscape Convention: “Each Party undertakes to promote school and university courses which, in the relevant subject areas, address the values attaching to landscapes and the issues raised by their protection, management and planning.” It should also be noted that the Council of Europe organised on 15 March 2005 in Strasbourg an international Seminar on “The role of training in the implementation of the policy of sustainable spatial development at local and regional levels in Europe”. The Committee of Senior Officials of the European Conference of Ministers responsible for Spatial Planning (CEMAT), the European Network of Training Organisations for Local and Regional Authorities (ENTO), the Union of Local Authority Chief Executives of Europe (UDITE), as well as the Committee on the Sustainable Development of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities were actively involved in the organisation of this event. The theme of the seminar is actually part of the work programme of the CEMAT.”

Note 1 This document has been classified restricted at the date of issue. Unless the Committee of Ministers decides otherwise, it will be declassified according to the rules set up in Resolution Res(2001)6 on access to Council of Europe documents.

2 To ask governments of member states to: a. acknowledge that the basic concepts of sustainable development should become a vital part of young people’s behaviour; b. contribute to ensuring a proactive - and not only reactive - participation of youth in elaborating policies for sustainable development and promote the involvement of young people in the elaboration of policies that have a direct impact on their future; c. promote, in the framework of national education systems, the integration of education for sustainable development in school and university programs and, where appropriate, to insert “sustainability studies” approaches in existing subject matters; d. elaborate the teaching of sustainable development concepts within already existing structure at regional and European levels; e. ensure that teachers have easy access to skills and expertise in education for sustainable development and to provide appropriate funding for organizing training seminars for teachers and professionals of the education systems; f. encourage the collaboration between public or private institutions, non-governmental organisations and associative youth structures in order to encourage active citizenship. g. support the European regions in implementing initiatives proposed by the Congress in its Resolution on the Role of the Regions in Education for Sustainable Development.



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