Logo WEECHistory of the World Environmental Education Congress

The World Environmental Education Congress movement arose out of a desire to create a forum for dialogue and synergy among educators from all sectors of the field, including schools and universities and from national, regional and international organizations, associations and networks.

The first World Congress took place in Espinho, Portugal, in 2003. Drawing some 350 environmental education stakeholders from various regions of the world, this event, though still relatively modest in scope, succeeded in generating a high level of enthusiasm on the issue.

As testimony to the growing interest in this initiative, the 2nd World Congress, held in Rio, Brazil, in 2004, attracted some 1,500 participants.

Attendance at the 3rd World Congress in Turin, Italy, in 2005 exceeded all expectations by drawing nearly 3,500 participants from 115 countries. This 3rd edition, a “quantum leap” for environmental education and sustainable development, was the qualitative and quantitative turning point that truly established these World Congresses as major international events for bringing together environmental education stakeholders from all over the world.

The 4th World Congress was held in Durban, South Africa, in July 2007. Despite the distance, the event succeeded in attracting more than 1,000 participants, thereby confirming the relevancy of such an event.

It is important to note that the success of each one of these Congresses is due in large part to the support of local, regional and national host governments, non-governmental organizations and the private sector.

Following the Turin Congress, a permanent Secretariat of the World Environmental Education Congress (a biennial event) was established at the Instituto per l’Ambiente e l’Education di Torino.