UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD

The UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD is a roadmap to generate and scale up ESD action at all levels and in all areas of education and learning. The programme was launched at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in 2014, as a follow-up to the United Nations Decade of ESD (2005-2014).

GAP will support UN member states in the realization of Agenda 2030 by reorienting education and learning so that everyone has the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that empower them to contribute to sustainable development. GAP contains five priority action areas to advance the ESD agenda:

  1. Advancing policy
  2. Transforming learning and training environments
  3. Building capacities of educators and trainers
  4. Empowering and mobilizing youth
  5. Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level

Five global GAP Key Partner Networks have been established by UNESCO as one of its main implementation mechanisms of GAP, each corresponding to one of the five priority action areas. The Key Partner Networks will create synergies for the activities of their members and catalyze actions by other stakeholders.

Find more information about the GAP on en.unesco.org

GAP in Sweden

From the 1th of January 2016, SWEDESD is mandated by the Swedish government to coordinate the implementation of GAP in Sweden. Our mission is to stimulate and follow up national actions with regards to ESD, as well as to participate in UNESCO’s international network for GAP.

As a first step, a national workshop for more than 100 active partners was held in Uppsala on the 7th of April 2016, to collaboratively define ESD-work in Sweden during the GAP period. The results from this meeting was included in a proposed action plan for ESD, that was sent to the Swedish government in July 2016.

On February the 8th of 2018, Swedesd in collaboration with the Global School (DGS) of the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) organized “Learning and Education for Agenda 2030” - a national conference on ESD. The conference gathered 130 actors in the field of sustainability and education in order to share knowledge and to specify/prioritise comments to the Agenda 2030 Delegation and the government's work. It was also a follow-up to the conference Bridging the GAP.

Contact: Eva Friman, eva.friman@swedesd.uu.se


In 2015, SWEDESD was appointed Key Partner within GAP and international Chair for GAP Action Area 3, Educators and trainers.

As a GAP Key Partner, SWEDESD collaborates with UNESCO and Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Environmental Education Programme (REEP) to build ESD capacity in teacher education institutions in Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. These Flagship Projects are supported by ReSolve, a research partnership with the Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) at Rhodes University and the Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA) on scaling ESD on how to scale ESD activities.


As international Chair, Key Partner and Swedish Focal Point for GAP, SWEDESD hosted the first Swedish International GAP on ESD Conference. "Bridging the GAP - Educators and Trainers" took place in Visby and gathered researchers from all over the world to meet with practitioners in the ESD-field. The objective was to enable participants to share successes and challenges in scaling ESD, as well as to develop and further research in the field on a global scale, with the ultimate goal is to create a global community of research based ESD practice. As part of this conference, SWEDESD hosted the 9th Biennial Meeting of the International Network of Teacher Education Institutions (INTEI).

SWEDESD has also been coordinating Sustainability Starts with Teachers, an ESD Action Learning Programme for Secondary Teacher Educators in Southern Africa.


Contact: Shepherd Urenje, shepherd.urenje@swedesd.uu.se