The Conventions CEPA Programme
Education for Sustainable Development and the Ramsar Convention
A Research Project by Dr Jane Claricoates
[Please note- this project has now been completed and the full report is available here]
Introduction by the Ramsar Bureau:
Many readers will remember that Dr Jane Claricoates provided the material upon which the Additional Guidance on Reviewing and Action Planning for Wetland Communication Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) was entirely based. This document was sent to all Contracting Parties in March-April 2001 and provided further assistance to Contracting Parties on implementing the Outreach guidelines (Resolution VII.9: The Convention's Outreach Programme 1999-2002: Actions to promote communication, education and public awareness to support implementation of the Convention on Wetlands). Dr Claricoates has now embarked upon an independent research project on Education for Sustainability and the Ramsar Convention and the Bureau believes the results from this project will be of considerable significance for the development of the Outreach Programme beyond 2002.
Dr Claricoates sent an introductory letter and questionnaire to a broad range of individuals within the Ramsar family in January and early February (in English and French), and she also invited readers of this Web page to complete the questionnaire. The data-gathering phase of the research survey in English and French is now complete, and Dr Claricoates is now engaged in analysing the many responses received. The letter and questionnaire are reproduced in html below for your information. The Spanish phase of the survey will be launched on Monday 18 March.
Letter to all interested parties:
The future of the Ramsar Convention an invitation
The Ramsar Convention is currently preparing for its 8th triennial Conference of the Parties (COP8), to be held in Valencia, Spain, in November 2002. An important element of those preparations is to ensure that the future direction and approach of the Convention continue to be appropriate. This is certainly true for its educational work.
A fresh approach to education is emerging in some quarters, which may be relevant to the Convention. The concept, known variously as Education for Sustainability (EfS) or Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), for example, is not clearly defined there remains considerable debate about what its precise goals and practice should be. The general idea, though, is that if we are to adopt a sustainability agenda, this is likely to require a change in at least some aspects of current educational goals and practice.
The idea of EfS/ESD thus seems worthy of further investigation specifically in the context of the Ramsar Convention and its core Wise Use mission. It is certainly being discussed in other environment and development forums at the moment, including in relation to the forthcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development (or "Rio+10") to be held in Johannesburg later this year.
With this in mind, I am currently undertaking an independent piece of research to explore this emerging educational concept in relation to the Ramsar Convention, to try and assess its potential for the future direction of the Conventions educational work. The Ramsar Bureau has confirmed its strong interest in the findings, which will be used to help inform the educational element of the preparations for COP8. I am grateful to the Bureau for the significant administrative support it is providing to this research.
As someone who is interested in, or a key contributor to, or committed to the Ramsar Convention and its objectives, I would like to ask if you could spend a short time to help me look into this potential for the Convention, by completing the questionnaire. Even if you have never heard of this new educational debate, it does not matter. I am interested in the views of a full range of people who participate in some way in the Ramsar Convention. If you know other people who may be interested, please do forward a copy of this letter and questionnaire to them. Thank you.
I am researching theoretical and practical aspects of EfS/ESD. To help me assess the practical potential and implications for the Convention, I need to be clear about views on education among Ramsar players. If you are able to help, please find attached the questionnaire, which you can complete electronically or in hard copy. Please return your completed questionnaire (by 17 February, 2002, please), to email@example.com or to Jane Claricoates, c/o Sandra Hails, Ramsar Convention Bureau, Rue Mauverney 28, CH-1196 Gland, Switzerland.
If you experience any difficulties in reading the questionnaire or completing your responses, please let me know immediately. I will either resend it in a more helpful format, or send you a hard copy. All responses will be treated confidentially at all times and will be used only for the purposes of this research.
I do hope this is of interest to you, and that it will help your own wetlands education endeavours in the future. I will send a summary of my findings to all contributors to this research in May 2002, so that contributors may have the information in time for COP8.
Finally, thank you for reading this. I very much look forward to learning your views.
Dr Jane Claricoates
(Author of the Ramsar Additional Guidance on Reviewing and Action Planning for Wetlands Communication, Education, and Public Awareness)
(Editor's Note: The data-gathering phase in English and French is now finished. The questionnaire - not in its original format - is reproduced here for your information)
PART 1 About you
You may choose not to answer some or all of the questions in Part 1. However, if you are able to give all of the information requested, it will allow a significantly more detailed and robust analysis of responses. Your contact details will, with your permission, allow me to contact you for any necessary clarification of a response, and will enable me to send you a summary report of my findings.
|What is your name?|
|Title Family name Given name(s)|
|May I contact you later in this research if I need help to clarify a response? þ|
|Please indicate your preferred method of contact þ , and give details.|
|My preferred contact details are as follows:|
|What is your job title?|
|How would you describe the sector in which you are employed? þ|
|Government: National/Federal||Government: State/Provincial/Territorial|
|Government Agency/QUANGO||Government: Other|
|In what sphere(s) do you work? þ|
|At what level(s) do you work? þ|
|Which of the following describe(s) your role(s) in relation to the Ramsar Convention? Please tick þ all boxes that apply to you.|
|Representative of the Ramsar Administrative Authority|
|Member of the Ramsar Standing Committee|
|Representative of an International Organisation Partner|
|Representative of a (non-Ramsar) International Convention|
|Member of the Ramsar Scientific and Technical Review Panel|
|STRP Focal Point|
|CEPA Focal Point:||Government||NGO|
|Member of national Ramsar / Wetland Committee|
|Ramsar site manager|
|Ramsar Bureau staff member|
|Ramsar Bureau Regional Co-ordinator|
|CEPA e-list member|
|Other role (formal or informal). Please explain:|
|How would you describe your practical function in relation to the Ramsar Convention? (For example, legal advice to Bureau; Convention policy research; Convention policy-making; implementation site, water or species management; formal wetlands education; social or economic development)?|
|Do you think your own Ramsar-related work (or part of it) should actively contribute to the Conventions educational objectives? þ|
|If Yes, do you think your work (or part of it) should help to: þ|
|Develop the Conventions educational objectives?||Yes||No|
|Implement the Conventions educational objectives?||Yes||No|
|Approximately how many days per week, on average, are you occupied in tasks directly related to the roles and functions described in Questions 8 and 9, above? þ|
PART 2: EfS / ESD The General Concept
Please respond to the questions in Parts 2 - 4 with your own personal views.
If there are any questions (or parts of questions) you do not understand, please place a ? under the question number.
|12||Had you heard the term Education for Sustainability (EfS) or Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) before completing this questionnaire? þ|
|13||What do you believe should be the goals of EfS/ESD? þ|
|I have no opinion||Please go to Question 15|
|I would describe the goals of EfS/ESD as follows:|
|I would describe the ultimate goal of EfS/ESD||as a condition||as a process|
|14||In the remainder of this questionnaire "EfS/ESD" is used to represent a single (undefined) educational concept. In your opinion, do EfS and ESD have the same educational meaning? þ|
|If No, please explain what you understand the difference to be:|
|15||In your view, which individuals or groups in society should be the teachers of EfS/ESD? þ|
|I have no opinion||Please go to Question 16|
|I believe the following individuals or groups should be the teachers:|
|16||In your opinion, in which contexts should EfS/ESD take place? Please rank the contexts you believe are relevant to EfS/ESD (1 = most important). You may give specific contexts equal ranking if this accurately reflects your views. þ 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9|
|I have no opinion||Please go to Question 17|
|I think EfS/ESD should take place in the following contexts:|
|At home||In the community|
|In schools||In the workplace|
|During recreation and leisure||In post-school education|
|In governance forums||In land-use planning forums|
|In other context(s)||Please describe:|
|17||There are many different views about the goals, content and processes that form a part of EfS/ESD. Each of the following factors has been identified at some time as a component of successful EfS/ESD. What level of importance do you assign to each of these factors in your own view of EfS/ESD? Please þ one box for each factor.|
|No view||Irrelevant||Essential||Not important|
|a||A definition of EfS/ESD||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|b||A curriculum that teaches the importance of optimisation over maximisation||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|c||A curriculum that motivates and enables individuals to reclaimtheir personal responsibilities||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|d||Content and processes that do not conform to accepted norms||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|e||A curriculum that includes ways to help individuals change their values||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|f||The provision of skills to achieve a more scientifically-based management of land and water||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|g||Local connections between its themes and its individual learners||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|h||Help for individuals to envision futures (plural)||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|i||A curriculum that includes ways to help individuals change their practices||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|j||Current academic disciplines as an essential core of any EfS/ESD curriculum||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|k||Global connections between its themes and its individual learners||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|l||The process must be integrated with society at a local level||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|m||Development of learners critical-thinking, problem-solvingand decision-making skills||-||0||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|Please use this space if you would like to comment on any specific responses.|
|18||How important are the following items in your view of EfS/ESD? |
For each item please place a þ in the column that best reflects your view (No view, Irrelevant, Disagree, Agree).
For each item with which you Agree, assign a Rank of importance (1 = essential, 6 = least important). Please rank items independently, not relative to each other.
|.||No view||Irrelevant||Disagree||Agree||Essential|| |
|EfS/ESD should be:|
|a||Focused around issues, not academic disciplines||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|b||Multi-level in approach||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|c||Focused primarily on the needs of people||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|d||Focused primarily on environmental needs||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|e||Practiced in social institutions as the norm||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|f||Fully participatory (informed participation)||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|i||Focused on the learner||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|j||Responsive primarily to local-level agendas||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|k||Other. Please list:|
|No view||Irrelevant||Disagree||Agree||Essential|| |
|EfS/ESD should include:|
|q||Resource management themes||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|r||Mass media themes||-||0||D||A||1||2||3||4||5||6|
|w||Other. Please list:|
PART 3: EfS / ESD The concept in relation to the Ramsar Convention
|19||Do you think EfS/ESD is a relevant educational approach for the Ramsar Convention? þ|
|Yes||Please explain why, then go to Question 20|
|No||Please explain why, then go to Question 21|
|What opportunities do you think the Ramsar Convention offers for your view of EfS/ESD? The following extracts are taken from the Convention texts shown. |
In column 1 place a þ against those texts which you believe offer some opportunity for EfS/ESD.
In column 2, place a þ against the 3 texts which provide most opportunity for EfS/ESD.
|1 Some||2 Most|
|a||Article 4-5: The Contracting Parties shall promote the training of personnel competent in the fields of wetland research, management and wardening.|
|b||Strategic Plan 1997-2002, General Objective 3: To raise awareness of wetland values and functions throughout the world and at all levels|
|c||Resolution VI.23: Calls on the Contracting Parties to encourage the study of traditional systems of water management to investigate their relevance to the concept of wise use of wetlands|
|d||Recommendation 4.4: Recommends that Contracting Parties establish national networks of nature reserves , develop conservation education programmes linked to the establishment of such networks,|
|e||Draft Strategic Plan 2003-2008 (4th draft), paragraph 18b: Developing institutional frameworks, policies and laws which take into account the full range of environmental, social and economic values of wetlands|
|f||Draft Strategic Plan 2003-2008 (4th draft), paragraph 18i: Fostering active and informed participation of local communities and indigenous people as stewards of their wetland resources|
|g||Draft Strategic Plan 2003-2008 (4th draft), paragraph 18j: Involving the private sector in the conservation and wise use of wetlands|
|Can you suggest any factors of the Ramsar Convention (concerning implementation or texts) which might present a constraint for the adoption of your view of EfS/ESD? þ|
|Yes||Please explain, below|
|Dont know my understanding of the Ramsar Convention is insufficient|
|Dont know my view of EfS/ESD is not sufficiently well developed|
Part 4: EfS / ESD Practical activities
|Do you consider that you contribute to any activities or programmes that promote, encourage, support, contribute to or achieve EfS/ESD? þ|
|Yes||Please go to Question 23|
|No||Please go to Question 24|
|Dont know||Please go to Question 25|
|Please describe up to 2 activities that you believe contribute most to the EfS/ESD element in your work, and explain how they contribute to EfS/ESD. Then please go to Question 25.|
|At what level(s) does this activity / programme operate? þ|
|At what level(s) does this activity / programme operate? þ|
|What is/are the reason(s) that you are not involved in any practical activities or programmes that promote, encourage, support, contribute to or achieve EfS/ESD?|
PART 5: EfS / ESD Additional comments
|Please use this space to comment on any item in this questionnaire, or about related matters that you feel are not adequately addressed.|
Thank you very much for the time and thought you have given to this questionnaire. Your contribution to efforts to progress the educational work of the Ramsar Convention is very much appreciated by myself and the Bureau.
Dr Jane Claricoates