Proceedings of Consultation: Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation of Education for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific - Elaborating regionally relevant Indicators of ESD

Conference Proceeding

UNESCO Asia and the Pacific Regional Bureau for Education hosted an expert consultation on Strengthening Monitoring and Evaluation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Asia and the Pacific in close collaboration with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and United Nations University Institute of Advance Studies (UNU-IAS) on the 3rd and 4th of December, 2012 at the UNESCO office in Bangkok, Thailand. Fifteen experts in ESD came together to consider the needs for assessing the progress that has been made in implementing ESD in the region during the UN Decade of ESD (2005-2014) with the main goal of elaborating regionally relevant Indicators of ESD for future piloting in the region. This consultation was set against the backdrop that as the end of the UN DESD draws near, it becomes increasingly urgent to understand what have been the success factors and barriers for achievement of ESD implementation during the decade and to properly consider what are the future needs for improving ESD implementation globally.

This consultation built on the collaborative research project led by UNU-IAS and IGES, in close cooperation with UNESCO, which conducted multi-country scoping research in selected countries in East and Southeast Asia over the past eighteen months to identify the important capacities and leverage points for effective ESD implementation and the significant learning processes and educational contents that support strong ESD learning performance. Through a series of interactive sessions and discussion, the participants considered the key objectives for conducting comparative national ESD monitoring and evaluation across the region and elaborated on the expected target users of the outcomes from this process. Reviewing the findings from the ESD Country Status reports and the ESD good practice cases from the Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) from the previous research, the participants also deliberated on the relevance and accuracy of the ESD Monitoring and Evaluation framework. Following on from this, the consultation focused on identifying and elaborating Indicators of ESD for application in Asia and the Pacific.

The consultation provided many opportunities for the participants to actively participate in
determining the approach to be applied in future monitoring and evaluation of ESD implementation across the region. The morning of day one began with an opening session with welcome remarks from UNESCO and an explanation of the background and agenda for the consultation by IGES. Two presentations were then provided on the main findings from the previous research which was divided into two distinct tracks, the first on quantitative evaluation and the second on qualitative. In the afternoon of day one, participants discussed the overall purpose, structure, and approach to be taken for conducting monitoring and evaluation of ESD implementation and practice in the Asia- Pacific region. On day two, participants addressed specific aspects and contents to be included in the Monitoring and Evaluation process. Then, through three sessions, they focused on the elaboration and refinement of potential reporting criteria and indicators towards a set of ESD indicators for
future piloting in the region.

The consultation resulted in several important conclusions and agreements that can serve as a valuable guide for future ESD monitoring and evaluation activities. The key agreements reached during the consultation were on the purpose of regional monitoring and evaluation of ESD, the approach that should be taken in conducting ESD monitoring and evaluation and the target areas for investigation, and an elaboration of ESD indicators and reporting criteria in line with the agreed purpose and approach. The main objectives for ESD monitoring and evaluation were stated as: 1) to monitor progress, 2) to learn and improve, and 3) to influence future policy and practice. Three divisions of target audiences were also distinguished: first – influential actors and institution setters, second – implementers and practitioners, and third – learners and beneficiaries. A monitoring and evaluation framework was established to coordinate the strategic identification of ESD reporting criteria and indicators. The three target audiences framed the first division of sectors to be addressed by the monitoring and evaluation process. Sub-divisions were then included that identified the relevant areas of ESD implementation for investigation, including the international
framework, national policy and curriculum, formal education, teacher training, non-formal education, and multi-stakeholder collaboration. Finally, the participants identified over 50 potential ESD reporting criteria that will need to be further reviewed and tested against those capacities and leverage points identified from the research as significant for effective ESD implementation.