Japanese street crossing
Japanese street crossing

The Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme is being launched today at the annual UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development , in Nagoya, Japan. The four-year initiative will be led jointly by the Swedish and Japanese governments and WWF. SEI has been mandated to act as the Swedish Government’s representative in the programme, and Peter Repinski will take the main responsibility.

Q: What is the 10YFP?

PR: The 10YFP is a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production (SCP) in both developed and developing countries. It supports capacity building, and facilitates access to technical and financial assistance for developing countries for this shift. The 10YFP aims at developing, replicating and scaling up SCP and resource-efficiency initiatives at national and regional levels, decoupling environmental degradation and resource use from economic growth, and thus increasing the net contribution of economic activities to poverty eradication and social development. The new programme is one of five under the 10YFP. Its development was co-facilitated by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Q: Why is it important to address sustainable lifestyles?

PR: The ways that we – as individuals, as communities and as societies – exchange and consume goods and services are crucial in determining whether we can live within the boundaries of our planet. A shift towards more sustainable lifestyles is necessary in order to address major sustainable development challenges, but it is among the most difficult areas to tackle. At the same time, there are also great opportunities: more sustainable lifestyles can create value for both producers – for example through  new business opportunities linked to more sustainable products and services – and for consumers.

Q: What will the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme focus on?

PR: Working with actors from communities to scientists and economists, the programme will be exploring alternative models to do “more and better with less”; solutions that promote resource efficiency, reduced pollution and waste, together with higher quality of life and well-being. It has three key work areas:

1. Developing and replicating sustainable lifestyles (including low-carbon lifestyles). The objectives here are promoting both innovative and traditional models and practices for sustainable lifestyles; supporting conducive policies, infrastructures and economic instruments; and building the business case, encouraging responsible market innovation for sustainable lifestyles.

2. Educating for sustainable lifestyles. Objectives here are mainstreaming sustainable lifestyles into formal education; making sustainable lifestyles a focus in every learning environment; and mobilizing and empowering young people for sustainable lifestyles.

3.Transforming current and shaping future generations´ lifestyles. Here the programme will focus on developing scenarios for sustainable and low-carbon lifestyles; developing frameworks and tools to assess and track the impacts of different lifestyle; and ensuring and measuring the programme’s contribution to addressing global challenges.

Q: What are the Swedish Government´s ambitions for the programme?

PR: The Swedish Government has identified sustainable consumption and sustainable lifestyles as key challenges in national and global efforts to reduce climate change and other environmental impacts. Sweden needs to develop a credible approach to addressing the environmental and social impacts of consumption in order to meet national objectives – encapsulated in the “Generational Goal” of handing on to the next generation a society in which the major environmental problems facing Sweden have been solved, without increasing environmental and health problems outside Sweden’s borders. The government has also recently stepped up its efforts on SCP at national level. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) is the designated national focal point for Sweden´s work within the 10YFP , and the role of programme co-lead is an opportunity for Sweden to take greater responsibility for lifestyle issues in multilateral cooperation.

Q: And what will be SEI’s role?

PR: SEI will represent the Government of Sweden in its capacity as co-lead, supporting coordination of the programme’s overall implementation, reporting, information sharing and so on. This will include setting up a “coordination desk” for day-to-day support. One of the first steps will be to work with the other co-leads to define a joint roadmap for implementing the programme.

Read more about the Sustainable Lifestyles and Education Programme (PDF, 1.5MB)

Read a press release from UNEP about the programme (link to external site)

Read a press release on the launch from the Swedish Ministry of the Environment (in Swedish; link to external site)

Read a blog from the launch event by Gunilla Blomquist of the Ministry of Environment (in Swedish; like to external site)

The upcoming seminar “What could the Sustainable Development Goals mean for Sweden and Europe”, being organized by SEI and the European Commission Representation in Sweden, will focus on sustainable consumption and production. Read more and register.