Cultivating Sustainable Livelihoods through Education and Capacity Building: Modelling “Education for Sustainable Development” to advance communities of practice.

International Sociological Association - XVII World Congress of Sociology
Working Paper

IGES began research on environmental education in 1998, and in 2005 refocused on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in conjunction with the launching of the UN Decade of ESD. In the current year specifically, a critical need was identified to investigate how ESD moves beyond the formal education sector and into the informal sector to help achieve communities of practice for sustainable development.
The current topic, “Modelling ESD for Sustainable Livelihoods”, is being investigated through primary field research in South East Asia and through discussions with policy makers throughout the region. The objective of this research is to explicate and model the association between ESD, Community Practice, and Sustainable Livelihoods, and thus develop a framework of good practice to link ESD with Sustainable Livelihood initiatives in order to open an arena of practical, real-world learning and facilitate participation in community-based decision-making.
The key question to be addressed in this paper is: “How to advance the sustainable livelihood practices of individual people by engaging them in a process of critical praxis and experiential learning through engendering communities of practice for ESD?”

This paper will describe how ESD can be utilised to advance communities of practice and promote Sustainable Livelihoods. Furthermore, it will investigate how the methodologies of ESD (including ideas of experiential learning and critical praxis) can be applied both in policy and implementation to strengthen local-level practice of sustainable development.


This paper was presented at the Session on Sustainability and Learning Communities at the XVII World Congress of Sociology in Goteburg, Sweden on 14 July 2010.