Logo of the UNESCO programme ESD

A role model for sustainability

On 8 November 2023, the University of Konstanz received the National ESD-Award (Education for Sustainable Development) from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the German Commission for UNESCO. The university's overall concept for education and sustainability convinced the jury.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the German Commission for UNESCO presented the national ESD Award (Education for Sustainable Development) on 8 November. At the event in Schwerin, the University of Konstanz was honoured for its exemplary commitment to education in the field of sustainable development and its special dedication to the United Nations' Global Sustainability Goals.
The jury emphasizes:
"In the higher education sector, the University of Konstanz is a role model for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Since 2020, the University of Konstanz has been developing and implementing concepts and measures for sustainable development. Under the leadership of the corresponding vice rector and the Staff Unit Sustainability, these measures are implemented holistically throughout the university. Congratulations!"

In all, 29 initiatives were honoured by Andrea Ruyter-Petznek, head of the department for education in the regions, Education for Sustainable Development at the BMBF, and Roman Luckscheiter, general secretary of the German Commission for UNESCO.

"We are very happy to receive this distinction! It confirms that we are on the right track with the numerous measures promoting sustainable action at all university levels. Sustainable development is one of the University of Konstanz's most important strategic topics for the future", says Christine Peter, Vice Rector for Sustainability, Information and Communication Technology.

Sustainability at all university levels
Across disciplines, the researchers and teaching staff at the University of Konstanz address the topic of sustainability and contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in this way. Education for sustainability is an integral part of the university and is developed jointly by all university members, ranging from the Vice Rector for Sustainability, Information and Communication Technology to the student-run Green Office.

Vice rector Christine Peter explains: "The University of Konstanz connects internal and external players, communicates research-based content to society and makes it accessible to all groups of people". In this way, the University of Konstanz fosters the competencies required to act in a sustainable manner. A variety of formats have been developed for this purpose, such as a category in the course catalogue specifically highlighting sustainable teaching content, the chemistry lab for school students, the long night of the sciences and the podcast "Die Grüne Lupe Konstanz".

"The award strongly motivates us to anchor ESD even more firmly at the University of Konstanz by supporting lecturers in further developing teaching formats and thus opening up a variety of learning options for students to acquire future-oriented sustainability skills", says Hilmar Hofmann, head of the Staff Unit Sustainability at the University of Konstanz.

University of Konstanz as an ESD actor in the field of education and the ESD initiatives map

About the award
The National ESD Award honours organizations, networks and municipalities that are committed in the context of the UNESCO programme ESD for 2030 to shaping our society in a sustainable way that makes it worth living in.

ESD for 2030 stands for "Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)". Sustainable development means ensuring human dignity and equal opportunities for all in an intact environment. Education is a central part of sustainable development. It enables people to make decisions for the future and to assess how their own actions will affect future generations or life in other regions of the world.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda sets the implementation of education for sustainable development as a goal for the global community. UNESCO's ESD 2030 programme, launched in 2020, aims to foster the integration of ESD in the educational systems. In Germany, ESD is implemented on the basis of the National Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development