Botanic Gardens Conservation International
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Media Alert: ESD Guidelines

Botanic Gardens Conservation International

Education for Sustainable Development - Guidelines for Action in Botanic Gardens - July 2006

What?    Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) is launching a new publication this month to support botanic gardens in their strategic development and to assist them in understanding, developing and implementing programmes of Education for Sustainable Development.  While many botanic gardens around the world are already leaders in environmental education, this publication will help them to increase their focus on education for sustainable development.  As a holistic process, encompassing both natural and social sciences, Education for Sustainable Development is considered to provide a mechanism for addressing the environmental and developmental issues of the 21st century.

Who?    BGCI helps botanic gardens address issues of plant conservation, environmental education and sustainable development through training and community programmes. By initiating practical programmes internationally, BGCI aims to ensure that plants are recognised as one of the world’s most important natural resources and safeguards tens of thousands of ‘at risk’ plant species.

Why?    To address the environmental crisis, the global community is increasingly focusing on the relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation. The central role of education in contributing to sustainability has been recognised at the highest level with the United Nations declaring 2005 – 2014 the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.  Over 200 million people visit botanic gardens every year, presenting an incredible opportunity to educate and influence public behaviour in promoting plant diversity and sustainable development.

    The Guidelines for Action in Botanic Gardens provide a rationale for why botanic gardens need to be involved in Education for Sustainable Development, highlighting the importance of implementing initiatives for sustainable development and offering a range of ideas for educational approaches within botanic garden education.  Case studies focusing on the excellent work already being undertaken in botanic gardens across the world are included. These emphasise the need for botanic gardens to become models for sustainability.

•    “Education for Sustainable Development is an emerging but dynamic concept that encompasses a new vision of education that seeks to empower people of all ages to assume responsibility for creating a sustainable future” UNESCO, 2004

•    “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) motivates, equips and involves individuals and social groups in reflecting on how we currently live and work, in making informed decisions and creating ways to work towards a more sustainable world. ESD is about learning for change.”  IUCN – Commission on Education and Communication, 2004.

What Next?    BGCI is holding the 6th International Conference on Education in Botanic Gardens - ‘The Nature of Success, Success for Nature,’ from Sunday 10 to Thursday 14 September 2006.  Oxford Botanic Garden will be hosting the event which will address the following themes:


•    Achieving sustainability: ideas and solutions
•    Public awareness of plants
•    Reflection on practice
•    Education for all: working with challenging groups

Over 250 educators are expected from around 40 countries.
For further information and on the congress including keynote speakers please see:


Editors Notes:

BGCI - Botanic Gardens Conservation International

•    BGCI is the largest professional body representing botanic gardens across the world. Established in 1987, it unites more than 800 botanic gardens in over 120 countries
•    BGCI works on an international scale to safeguard tens of thousands of plant species from extinction. The organisation also raises awareness of the importance of plants as one of the earth’s greatest natural resources and the dependence on life on plant diversity. From grassroots action to shaping government policies and priorities, BGCI utilises its international network and internal expertise to achieve real conservation milestones
•    The work of BGCI is currently supported by HSBC’s Investing in Nature initiative – a US$50 million partnership which also includes Earthwatch and WWF. Through this funding, conservation projects in botanic gardens around the world are being supported and valuable plant research databases developed and consolidated

Copies of the report are available from:

•    Downloaded from the BGCI web site at:
•    For hard copies of the report contact:

All media enquiries and requests for images should be directed to:
Jane Bevan, Gaenor Cowles or Ruth Harman, Isis PR, Tel: 01844 212005, E-mail: