UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development

? Closed for Applications

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Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is recognized as a key element of quality education and a crucial enabler for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the global community recognize the importance of education in achieving their targets by 2030. Target 4.7 of SDG 4 on education specifically addresses ESD and related approaches.

Awarded for the first time by the Director-General of UNESCO in November 2015, the UNESCO-Japan Prize on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is granted to individuals or organisations who are leading projects which recognize the role of education in connecting the social, economic, cultural and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

The Prize was officially launched at the UNESCO World Conference on ESD in Japan at the end of 2014. It sits within the framework of the Global Action Programme on ESD which seeks to scale up ESD as an essential driver for the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To be eligible for the Prize, applicants must be engaged in an ongoing project, which has been established for at least 4 years, demonstrate an innovative, transformative and integrated approach to ESD, have proof of impact and show how their project could be replicated.

Past UK winners are the National Union of Students UK for the Green Impact Programme in 2016, and Hard Rain & Whole Earth? Project, by Mark Edwards in 2017.  In 2019 the three winners were The Camphill Community Trust, Botswana, for its school and community-based integrated Learning for Living and Work Programme, The Sustainable Amazon Foundation, Brazil, for its Relevant Programme, education for sustainable development Relevant programme in remote Amazon communities, and the City of Hamburg, Germany, for its large-scale programme, Hamburg is learning sustainability, which fights climate change through an extensive set of projects, materials and green events.


Make sure you read the important information below before you apply for this prize. You must apply through the UK National Commission for UNESCO. Expressions of interest are welcome.


#Closed for applications


30 March 2021


30 April 2021


Individuals, institutions, organisations


Supported by the Government of Japan






3 winners awarded US$50,000 each


Every 2 years


💌    Apply Today     


‘The Hard Rain Project is a highly original international initiative harnessing the power of visual media blending art and science to raise awareness across the spectrum of pressing global issues, but also to stimulate thinking and inspire action towards more positive futures. There is evidence of its effectiveness in reaching a broad range of society including policy-makers, and providing high impact resources for educators globally. It also offers a model to those who seek to use visual and other creative means to promote education for sustainable development and address the SDGs.’

International Jury Recommendation in 2017 about the UK’s nomination, “Hard Rain” and “Whole Earth?” Project


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