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The UNESCO Chair at York University

The UNESCO Chair at York University

As one out of 1,000 UNESCO Chairs and approximately 40 UNITWIN networks in the world, we provide support for policy making and serve UNESCO in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 on Quality Education, more specifically Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as stated in target 4.7. ESD is both an integral element of the SDG 4 on Quality Education and a key enabler of all the other SDGs.

In 1999, the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Education towards Sustainability at York University, became the first UNESCO Chair focusing on ESD. Today, we are one of the most established Chairs in the entire UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs programme.

We focus on developing and strengthening global networks and we create and foster research that supports responsible and inclusive policy making in reorienting education towards sustainability in the SDGs and beyond.

Examples include:

  • In 2000, we initiated the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions (INTEI) to research effective ways to embed sustainability in teacher education. Today, the INTEI spans approximately 80 institutions in 50 countries. Network members focus on reorienting teacher education institutions to implement SDG targets 4.7 and 4.10.
  • In 2017, we launched a new network of research institutions #IndigenousESD with over 90 research institutions in 40 countries to address SDG targets 4.5 and 4.7. The focus of this network is researching both “if” and “how” ESD practice can improve the education and training of Indigenous learners around the world.
  • In 2020, we took over the Global Lead for SDG 4 on Quality Education in the Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD) hosted by the International Association of Universities (IAU). The HESD Cluster advocates for higher education institutions involvement in achieving the SDGs.