Executive Summary of Research on: Monitoring and Evaluation of Education for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region

Policy Report
Executive Summary of Research on: Monitoring and Evaluation of Education for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region

The Executive Summary of Research on Monitoring and Evaluation of Education for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific Region presents an overview of the research, findings and recommendations from a collaborative research project that was initiated by the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES). The first research phase of this project was conducted from July 2011 to January 2013 and was structured to provide multi-country scoping research to identify the important factors and leverage points for both Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) implementation and practice from which appropriate ESD indicators could then be elaborated. During this scoping phase, research was conducted in two parallel processes across a total of nine countries in East and Southeast Asia. First, national ESD focal points were targeted for participation in a country survey regarding the national context of ESD implementation. Second, the Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) were targeted to provide good practice case studies on ESD learning performance. The findings from these research activities have been presented in three policy reports (see back cover for more details): 1) Education for Sustainable Development Country Status Reports, 2) Assessment of Learning Performance in Education for Sustainable Development, and 3) Monitoring and Evaluation of Education for Sustainable Development.

This summary begins with an overview of the full research project, its goals and objectives, and then a brief description of methodologies utilised in this research is presented. Next, a general discussion of the background and history of ESD is presented with a specific focus on the framing of ESD under the framework for the UN Decade of ESD (2005-2014). This is followed by an explanation of the importance for conducting monitoring and evaluation of ESD and a discussion of some of the factors and challenges faced in educational assessment especially as it applies in the context of ESD.

At this point the summary turns to the main findings delivered in the three reports, and it starts with an explanation of the findings from the ESD country status reports. In this work, a comparative assessment of ESD implementation status in seven countries was conducted to identify ESD implementation capacities. This led to the articulation of thirty-two capacities across seven different ESD-related sectors that support effective implementation. Furthermore, recommendations were provided for strengthening professional capacity, leadership capacity, integration approaches for ESD, and application of ESD to different educational systems. The second set of findings comes from the study on assessing ESD learning performance. In this work, good practice cases from ten Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) are presented and analysed to identify the important educational contents and learning processes that support good learning outcomes and achievements for ESD. Based on the approaches to ESD practice utilised by the RCEs, five good practice models are identified as mechanisms to strengthen ESD cooperation and implementation. Further analysis of the progress of the learning methods, activities and outcomes of RCE cases led to the identification of four distinct aspects of an overall ESD learning performance framework with each aspects including several specific characteristics. Finally, this report also provided several recommendations for facilitating the translation of the ESD agenda at the local level into a larger global educational framework.

The final two parts of this summary are based on the work from the third report. A description of several methods and approaches for ESD assessment are described, along with a clarification of the criteria that must be considered when conducting monitoring and evaluation activities. The major outcome of this first scoping research phase of the project is the development of a systematic and holistic framework for conducting monitoring and evaluation of ESD. The proposed framework is based on a multi-tiered indicator and reporting process. Three tiers are proposed with each tier having the respective targets: 1) addressing the capacities for effective ESD implementation in a quantitative manner, 2) linking the implementation capacities and the learning performance characteristics to address delivery of qualitative learning benefits of ESD, and 3) provision of performance based testing of learning outcomes.


Produced as part of a collaborative research project between UNU-IAS and IGES on monitoring and evaluation of education for sustainable development. This summary provides an overview of the research conducted from June 2011 to March 2013 and covers the findings presented in three policy reports: 1) ESD Country Status Reports, 2) Assessment of Learning Performance in ESD, and 3) Monitoring and Evaluation of ESD.