The United Nations (UN) Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) aimed to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning around the world. The authors of this article address the implementation process of ESD in Germany during the UN Decade (2005–2014). By undertaking a meta-analysis of the findings of four related sub-studies they carried out during a three-year project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the authors contribute to the understanding of the process of transferring the concept of ESD within a multi-level education system. They investigated this process at two levels – the federal state (a sub-national entity in Germany) and the communal level. Drawing on educational governance theory, the authors unveil principles, norms, rules and procedures in the coordination of action within constellations of heterogeneous actors contributing to the implementation of ESD in their social entities. The outcome of the meta-analysis describes an emerging governance regime in ESD, taking into consideration the following features impacting the coordination of action being carried out by the actors involved: (1) the understanding of the normative concept of ESD as content of negotiation; (2) the perceived opportunity for actors to gain and increase appreciation within the field of ESD as an incentive for and driver of engagement; and (3) the dynamic quality of the set-up, rules and principles of the coordination of action, which renders these subject to situative changes. In the final part of the paper, the findings are discussed from the perspectives of the theory of transfer and the current empirical basis of ESD policy and governance.
International Review of Education – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 20, 2017
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