In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) recognised the important role of education and public awareness in the quest to achieve sustainable development. Chapter 36 of the Agenda 21 is devoted to promoting education, public awareness and training.

The Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) reinforced the importance of public education and awareness as instruments to the achievement of the three objectives of the Convention; conservation, sustainable use, and access and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources in Article 13 of the Convention.

At their sixth meeting the Parties adopted the programme of work for Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) which aims to:

  • Communicate the scientific and technical work of the Convention in a language that is accessible to many different groups;
  • Integrate biodiversity into Education systems in all Parties to the Convention;
  • Raise Public Awareness of the importance of biodiversity to our lives, as well as its intrinsic value.

Significant progress has been made in developing CEPA capacities through the Global Initiative on Biodiversity Education which seeks to develop a plan to integrate biodiversity into all levels of formal and non-formal education.

More recently, Parties agreed that Education was one of the 10 priority activities for the programme of work on CEPA.

The Secretariat and UNESCO are committed to working together to mainstream Biodiversity within the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.

This initiative addresses various dimensions of biodiversity education:
  • The teacher's corner provides links to great biodiversity teaching resources from both the CBD and other organisations.
  • The children and youth educational page highlights all the biodiversity educational initiatives that are targeted at this major group, including The Green Wave.
  • Among indigenous and local communities, biodiversity education is often incorporated into traditional knowledge systems. Learn more about indigenous education.
  • Non-formal education is an important component of biodiversity education around the world. Find out why and what groups are doing around the world.

Learn more about key policy issues in the future of biodiversity education from the experts on the Informal Advisory Committee for Communication, Education and Public Awareness.

Read the statements of the Executive Secretary that address education issues.