Namibia adopts National Environment Education and ESD Policy

Namibia has become the first country in the SADC region to have a stand-alone National Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Policy. The development of the policy was a long time collaboration between government ministries and civil society. UNESCO through the Sustainability Starts with Teachers programme also supported the process.

The vision of the national EE/ESD Policy is an “educated and empowered Namibia with environmentally literate people taking responsibility and action for a sustainable future”. 

The policy is designed to support EE and ESD in formal, non-formal and informal education processes across all sectors of the Namibian society including higher education, teacher education, technical and vocational education institutions, and general education. It gives Namibia the much-needed foundation to work towards ESD for 2030 and the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

An ESD Task Force consisting of high-level representatives from the government, private sector and non-governmental organizations will ensure effective implementation of the policy. Constant monitoring, evaluation and reporting will form a critical part of the implementation process. 

UNESCO through the Sustainability Starts with Teachers (SST) programme will also support the implementation of the policy, as it is working towards integrating sustainability principles into education and training environments, with emphasis on curriculum change in teacher education and Technical and Vocational Education and Training education programmes. 

Sustainability Starts with Teachers is a capacity building programme for teacher and TVET educators on ESD targeting teacher educators, in 11 countries in southern Africa over four years. With funding from the Swedish Government, the SST programme is responding to the fact that teacher education needs to be more adequately aligned with the SDGs, and teachers need to be supported to understand and implement Education for Sustainable Development. 
Teacher and TVT educators who attended the Sustainability Starts with Teachers national workshop in July 2019 had pointed the absence of an ESD policy a major hindrance in integrating ESD in teacher education curriculum. The policy thus removed the bottleneck and signaled Namibia’s commitment to integrate SDGs in education.