Global Learning, Weltwärts and Beyond

Bonn NGO Declaration

Bonn NGO Declaration

29 March 2009

The association of German non-governmental or ganisations (VENRO) together with 175 participants

Organizer: Financial support:

representing 121 non-governmental organisations from 51 countries who convened in Bonn for the Inter national NGO-Conference “Global Learning, weltwärts and beyond” leading up to the UN 2009 Conference on Education for Sustainable Development took stock of worldwide educational programmes and discussed strategic steps to make Global Learning the driving force for change towards a sustainable future.

The Conference underlines the potential of Education for Sustainable Develop ment and the possibilities of voluntary development programmes, such as the German programme “weltwärts”, as means for cross-cultural understanding and Global Learning.

The representatives of civil society urge governments to set positive examples of good governance in view of growing challenges by a worldwide economic crisis, by climate change, social injustice, and a lack of democratic participation.

They address

  • the delegates of the ESD UN-Conference in Bonn
  • the decision makers in education at all levels and
  • the stakeholders of Education for Sustainable Development

to act on the following recommendations:

We understand education as the key to cultural transformation towards sustainable societies and therefore recommend that

  1. ESD has to be inclusive, participatory and enabling. Actors of ESD have to ensure that all members of society can participate in this learning process. In its language and approaches it has to meet the individual needs of learners. ESD has to be integrated in public life, in formal and non-formal education, in our political culture, in economy and in the media.
  2. Actors and decision makers in education have to work towards transforming education systems to comply with the needs of learners confronted with social, environmental, economic and cultural challenges of a globalized world. ESD as a lifelong learning process promotes active and critical engagement from different perspectives. It has to empower individuals and societies to find solutions to these challenges.
  3. Governments have to ensure that education as a human right is inclusive, free of charge and of good quality. The development of quality education needs continuity and a long-term commitment of the various stakeholders. Govern ments, while recognized as the lead actors in education must respect the important function of civil society and cooperate with NGOs in the formulation and implementation of strategies and programmes.
  4. When it comes to formulating global solutions for a sustainable future, lo cal visions of all regions of the world have to be listened to, respected and integrated. UNESCO is asked to take the responsibility for coordinating and documenting this process by establishing platforms for different world regions: in order to allow individuals and organisations to share experiences and research on ESD and develop their own agendas and strategies.
  5. The successful implementation of ESD requires global volunteering programmes all over the world on the principles of mutual learning exchange, accountability and partnership between key stakeholders involved at all levels.
  6. For the successful implementation of the above mentioned recommendations, e.g. global volunteering programmes, we need both global and national funding mechanisms.


Adult Education and Development


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