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The future we want: Key issues on sustainable development in higher education after Rio and the UN decade of education for sustainable development

Walter Leal Filho (School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom)
Evangelos Manolas (Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources, Democritus University of Thrace, Orestiada, Greece)
Paul Pace (Centre for Environmental Education & Research, Faculty of Education, University of Malta, Msida, Malta)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a description of the achievements of the United Nations (UN) Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) with a focus on higher education, and it describes some of the key issues which will guide sustainable development in the coming years.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper initially presents an analysis of past developments, complemented by an assessment of the emphasis on sustainable development by the International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. In particular, it makes cross-references to the deliberations held at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, with a special emphasis to the document “The Future we Want”. It concludes by listing a set of suggestions and measures that both industrialised and developing countries may consider to translate the principles of sustainable development into reality.

Findings

Sustainable development is and will continue to be a matter of substantial international interest and concern. The developments achieved over the past 20 years have been substantial, but there are still many gaps and need which need to be met, so as to improve its prospects in the next two decades.

Originality/value

The paper provides useful insights which allow a better understanding of the role of universities in fostering sustainable development, and some of the key issues need to be considered, so as to allow things to move in the right direction.

Keywords

Citation

Leal Filho, W., Manolas, E. and Pace, P. (2015), "The future we want: Key issues on sustainable development in higher education after Rio and the UN decade of education for sustainable development", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 112-129. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-03-2014-0036

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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