the mediterranean strategy on esd

Encouraging the Mediterranean countries to develop and incorporate ESD into formal, non-formal and informal education


The Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (MSESD) was endorsed by the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministers of Environment in Athens, on 13 May 2014 with the purpose to encourage Mediterranean countries to develop and incorporate ESD into their formal, non-formal and informal education systems.

MSESD was drafted as the UN Decade on ESD (2005-2014) came to an end , through a participatory process, coordinated by the University of Athens / UNESCO Chair on ESD in the Mediterranean and MEdIES/MIO-ECSDE, with many of the consultations organised under the EU-funded Horizon 2020 Capacity Building / Mediterranean Environment Programme. The Strategy serves as a flexible framework for the countries to fulfill the regional/global and national agendas, given that its implementation is driven by countries’ priorities addressing their specific contexts.


The MSESD was inspired by and is fully compatible with the preseding UNECE Strategy for ESD (2005). The specific objectives of the MSESD are to:

  • Ensure that policy, legislation and other regulatory and operational frameworks support ESD;
  • Promote sustainable development through formal, non-formal and informal learning;
  • Equip educators with the competence to include sustainable development in their teaching;
  • Ensure that adequate tools and materials for ESD are accessible;
  • Promote research on and development of ESD;
  • Strengthen cooperation on ESD at all levels within the Mediterranean region.

MCESD: The Mediterranean Committee on ESD

Established in the Ministerial Conference on ESD in (Nicosia, 2016 ), this body guides and monitors the implementation of the MSESD and its Action Plan (at regional level) reviews activities and decides on future orientations. The members of the MCESD are the Ministries of Education of Cyprus (Chair), Croatia, Greece, Malta and Portugal, and the Ministry of Environment of Jordan and the following international/regional organisations : Union for the Mediterranean (UfM), UN Environment Programme /Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP MAP), UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (Venice Office), UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and the League of Arab States (LAS).

On 6th of October 2022 the High-Level Event of the Education and Environment Ministers on the Action Plan for 2030 of MSESD carried out within the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Nicosi it was agreed that the Committee will be from now on guided by a Bureau consisting of the Ministries of Education of Cyprus (chair), Greece, Lebanon Morocco and Palestine and UNEP/MAP, UNESCO, UNECE, UfM and LAS.


Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).


UN Environment Programme /Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP MAP)


UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe (Venice Office)



UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)


League of Arab States (LAS)

The Secretariat  is technically supported by MIO-ECSDE, through the MEdIES Secretariat, and scientifically supported by the UNESCO Chair & Network on Sustainable Development Management and Education in the Mediterranean  of the Universtity of Athens.


MIO-ECSDE, through its lond standing education initiative, MEdIES 

UNESCO Chair (UoA)

UNESCO Chair & Network on Sustainable Development Management and Education in the Mediterranean  of the Universtity of Athens

LANDMARKS in the evolution of MSESD

2005: UN Decade on ESD (2005-2014) launched

The UN Decade on ESD was launched in March 2005 in Vilnious, Lithouania. The UNECE strategy was adopted to promote sustainable development through education across Europe and North America (UNECE region).

2005: UN DESD launched in the mediterranean

The UNECE Strategy for ESD was lanuched for the entire Mediterranean region (Athens, November 2005). In this meeting the explicit mandate was given to develop a Strategy to cover the Mediterranean countries.

2010: The first draft

The first draft of the “Mediterranean Strategy” was developed by the University of Athens/UNESCO Chair on Management and ESD together with MIO-ECSDE/MEdIES Secretariat.

2011: The second draft

During the Horizon 2020 Training “Revisiting University Curricula: are the H2020 priority areas appropriately reflected?”(Athens, December 2011) the first draft of the MSESD was revised by university professors and ministries officers from 18 Mediterranean countries, delivering the 2nd draft.

2012: The third draft

The previous draft version of MSESD was reviewed during the 4th Meeting of the Network of the Mediterranean Universities for Sustainable Development focusing on ESD (MedUNET) that took place in Athens, 3-4 December 2012. The meeting resulted to the 3rd draft of the Strategy.

2013: The forth and fifth draft

The draft was once more reviewed during a H2020 University Professors training that took place in  Morocco, Rabat (23-24 April), compiling its forth draft.

In the same year the Strategy was presented during a dedicated Side Event “The Mediterranean Strategy on ESD as a tool to promote ESD in Higher Education”  organised by MIO-ECSDE/MEdIES and H2020 in the 7th WEEC Congress, in Marakesh, Morocco, June 2013.

Finally, the ESD experts’ working meeting that took place in Zagreb, Croatia, (June 2013) resulted to the fifth and final version of the Strategy.


The MSESD formally and unanimously endorsed by the 43 Ministers of Environment of the Union for the Mediterranean including the EU and the Mediterranean non-EU countries, on 13 May 2014. Read more on the UfM Meeting.


The MSESD was presented to UNESCO DG Dr Irina Bokova at the World Conference on ESD in Nagoya, Japan (November 2014) for the closing of the UN Decade on ESD.

MIO-ECSDE & UNECE jointly organised a side event discussing about ESD within regional policy frameworks. The Final Report of the UN Decade of ESD  (“Shaping the Future We Want” ) prominently refers to the MSESD as a success on a global scale! Read more here and here

2015: MSESD at the World Water Forum

A special Session during the 2015 World Water Forum (Korea) was organised by MIO-ECSDE, the UNESCO Chair of UoA, and other stakeholders from the Mediterranean. During the Session the MSESD and the elements of its, under development, Action Plan were discussed.

In June of the same year, the MSESD was presented in the International Conference on ESD (Khanty-Mansyisk, Russia) during a Session on ESD Policies. During the Conference representatives from the education sector of Russia expressed interest to promote a Strategy on ESD in Russia.


Between July and October 2015 the MSESD and its Action Plan were formulated as a flagship project on Advancing ESD Policy in the Mediterranean, within the Global Action Programme (GAP), a five year initative of UNESCO (2015-2019) promoting ESD projects and players around the globe, as a followup to the UN Decade on ESD.

In this framework, MEdIES, was invited to be an Official Partner of GAP in the priority action area of Advancing Policies (PN1)!

2016: MSESD in the Athens Declaration

In February 2016 MSESD was accepted as an integral part of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), that was formally adopted by the Barcelona Convention CoP19 in Athens. The MSESD is included in the “Athens Declaration” as instrumental to achieve the SDGs.


The Ministerial Conference on the Action Plan for MSESD (Nikosia) took place with 60 participants from 19 countries and international organisations. The delegates unanimusly adopted the Action Plan and the Nicosia Declaration on ESD in the Mediterranean.

The Action Plan identifies : (A) Priority areas of institutional and operational interventions for MSESD implementation with recommended activities (B) A set of common regional programmes (C) Priority thematic areas for region-wide programmes (D) Indicators for monitoring and evaluation.

Read more about the Conference here or visit its webpage. Access a related news item of UNESCO here.


Between 2017 and 2018 the EU SWIM-Horizon 2020 Project supported a series of national capacity building activities for the implemetation of the MSESD and its  Action Plan in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria and a regional one in Nicosia, back-to-back with the 1st Meeting of the Mediterranean ESD Committee.

In total 600 professionals were trained while all trainings were combined with national consultations on mainstreaming and promoting ESD at national level in line with the provisions of the Strategy and its Action Plan.

Read more at MEdIES within the SWIM-H2020 Programme

2019: 2nd Meeting of the Mediterranean ESD Committee

In June 2019, the 2nd Meeting of the Mediterranean ESD Committee &  Regional Workshop on ESD were successfully held in Heraklion, Crete coorganized and co-supported by  MIO-ECSDE/MEdIES, the UN Environment/MAP, UfM, the Ministry of Education of Cyprus, the Green Fund of the Greek Ministry of Environment, the Heraklion Development Agency and the Region of Crete. The meeting gathered 80 participants from 20 countries discussing on ESD status at national level and hghlighting best practices. Read more  here.

The publication of the PROCEEDINGS is available at this link.

2021: Mediterranean Preparatory Webinar for #ESDfor2030

To assist the Mediterranean ESD community in their preparations ahead of the World ESD Conference (17-19 May 2021) and discuss how to plan and contribute to the implementation of the ESDfor2030 Roadmap in the region, the MCESD organised an interactive “Mediterranean Preparatory Webinar for #ESDfor2030” on 20 April 2021 gathering 60 participants! Actuall, following the webinar  the Secretariat prepared a Mediterranean ESD Statement to convey to the World Conferece. Read more about it here.

2022: High-Level Event of Mediterranean Education and Environment Ministers on ESD

The High-Level Event of Education and Environment Ministers on the Mediterranean Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development and its Action Plan towards 2030 (6 October 2022) took place in the framework of the 9th Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference in Nicosia, Cyprus. The event adopted the MSESD Action Plan towards 2030 and approved a Statement. Read more here.