Awareness raising, education and public participation

Why it is important?

Information sharing and awareness raising, as well as environmental education, have been identified as key areas in working towards sustainable development, notably by Agenda 21. Indeed, education, access to information and awareness raising help to promote public participation in decision making, ultimately determining the direction of development and the state of the environment.

Article 13 of the Convention recognizes public participation as an overarching principle which should be applied throughout the implementation of the Convention. Environmental education, awareness and access to information are prerequisites of participation in decision making on environmental issues and are fundamental for the implementation of the Convention. All of civil society has to be involved - joint efforts of the national governments, local authorities, the business community, NGOs, journalists, teachers, and even school-children are needed.


  • Northern Alliance for Sustainability ANPED link
  • Carpathian Sustainable Education Network CASALEN link
  • Environment and School Initiatives ENSI link
  • Green Dossier link

Key documents

  • ANPED recommendations for public participation in the framework of the Carpathian Convention download
  • Move 4 Nature Tool Kit download
  • Big Foot. Crossing Generations, Crossing Mountains - Transferability Tool Kit download
  • Intergenerational Learning and Innovation for Sustainable Development. Big Foot Final Conference Proceedings. download
  • Innovation in Rural Tourism  - InRuTou Trandferability Manual download 
  • InRuTou Final Publication download



1 Carpathian ESD: Strengthening the ESD network in the Carpathian Convention via science-policy-practice interface

Planned Duration: June 2021 – February 2024

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Centralparks - The Carpathians belong to the most important European eco-regions. Biodiversity loss and increasing pressures threaten its outstanding natural values. Traditional approaches to resource management and nature conservation are no longer sufficient to guarantee long-lasting economic benefits and provision of ecosystem services. 

Duration: 2019 - 2022


Integrating nature protection and sustainable tourism development into the Carpathian region via science-policy-practice interface

Duration: September 2018 – June 2019

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Innovation in Rural Tourism

Duration: December 2012 - November 2015


BigFoot Logo

BigFoot Project - Crossing mountains, crossing generations

Duration: 2011-2013


Move4Nature logo

Move 4 Nature ESD – Teacher training programme on Education on Sustainable Development

Duration: 2008 - 2011



Carpathian Project - Protection and Sustainable Development in the Carpathians in a Transnational Framework

Duration: 2005 - 2008


1. The project Carpathian ESD: Strengthening the ESD network in the Carpathian Convention via science-policy-practice interface is funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry’s Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union. It is supervised by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation and by the German Environment Agency.

2. This project was funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety by the Advisory Assistance Programme for environmental protection in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union (AAP). It is supervised by the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt, UBA) and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN).



Education for Sustainable Development in the Carpathians

Education and awareness raising are among the key factors in facilitating societal transition towards sustainable development, both in the Carpathians and beyond. The importance of education has been highlighted on the global level in Agenda 21, adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, and has been included in international agreements and documents ever since.

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a paradigm adopted at the international level to help transform education, so that it can enable the current and future generations to meet their needs in harmony with the planetary boundaries and surrounding ecosystems. At the same time, ESD aims to link the sustainable development processes on the local, regional and global levels to improving educational practice, both with respect to formal, non-formal and informal education.


The essential characteristics of ESD (according to UNECE) include:

  • A holistic approach, which seeks to integrate thinking and practice,
  • Envisioning change, which explores alternative futures, learns from the past and inspires engagement in the present,
  • Achieving transformation, which serves to change in the way people learn and in the systems that support learning.


UNESCO is the lead UN agency tasked with elaboration of and implementation of ESD, it coordinates and supports ESD-related efforts from the global to the local level. In 2019, a new global framework ‘Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs’ or ‘ESD for 2030’ has been adopted at the 40th session of UNESCO General Conference, following up on the Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD from 2015 to 2019.


The framework emphasizes, among other points, the importance to monitor and report on the leadership taken by government actors (Annex 2, para 3.5), as well as states that:

  • For Priority Action Area 1 on policy, ESD must be integrated in global, regional and national policies related to education and sustainable development so that these policies can create an enabling environment for pedagogies that support individual empowerment and provide skills for socio-political engagement. Coordinated efforts should be made for ESD to find synergies with other relevant national and international agendas and policies on education and sustainable development (Para 5.14).
  • In order to carry out these tasks, UNESCO needs to further develop its partnerships, not only with the ESD community, but also with the wider sustainable development and SDG community. The cooperation and coordination with … United Nations entities responsible for the management of the SDGs at global and regional levels need to be reinforced. (para 5.25)


At the Fifth Ministerial “Environment for Europe” Conference, which took place in Kiev in 2003, and where the Carpathian Convention has been adopted, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) launched an ESD initiative and received the green light to draw up a regional Strategy on ESD. The Strategy aims to encourage countries to integrate ESD into all forms of their education systems and covers all levels from primary to tertiary, including vocational and adult learning.

The Carpathian Convention Secretariat has been supporting ESD-related initiatives in the Carpathians since 2008, in line with the UNESCO documents and in cooperation with the UNECE Steering Committee on ESD. An ESD Briefing, summarizing the state of ESD integration into the Carpathian Convention in 2020, is available here:

The First Carpathian ESD Seminar has been organized in Budapest, Hungary, in April 2019, by the Hungarian Ministry of Human Capacities and Ministry of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Carpathian Convention Secretariat.


Briefing on Integration of ESD into the Carpathian Convention

Carpathian Convention Seminar on Education for Sustainable Development April 2019, Budapest – Report