A united nations decade of education for sustainable development (2005-2014): What difference will it makes?

The launch of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) (2005-2014) was accompanied by a series of high profile events and celebratory activities across the globe which raised awareness about the Decade’s objectives. Now, as the DESD approaches its mid-term, many stakeholders are asking the questions: What will change as a result of the DESD? What will be the legacy of the UN DESD?

This paper reviews the explicit intentions of the Decade and explores its current and potential contribution. It raises issues about how the progress in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) can be assessed during the Decade. It asks the question whether it is possible to effectively evaluate the impact of the Decade. It concludes by acknowledging that the Decade success will be judged not only by the UN Monitoring and Evaluation mechanisms set in place by UNESCO but also by the meeting of the diverse expectations from stakeholders.