This text is a Publication (2009) coordinated by Patrick Blandin and edited by the French National Commission of UNESCO.
In the 21st century mankind has reached a point in his evolution where the benchmarks of the past are no longer enough to guide the present and prepare for the future; it is thus important that the university community reasserts its interest in concrete issues, encourages the planet’s development and signifi cantly contributes to training and research applications, especially for the poorest countries. UNESCO, by launching 15 years ago a programme for UNESCO Chairs, at a moment in time when globalisation was just beginning to make itself felt, sought to offer, on an international scale, a system to establish networks on a certain number of topics. It is up to the Chair Network to develop their own different types of cooperation, but also with others which deal with closelyrelated fi elds of study.
It is in this manner that the Poles of Excellence saw the light of day and that eight UNESCO Chairs in France associated themselves to constitute a sustainable development pole: the objective is to initiate and implement common projects which bring to the sustainable development concept a new impetus, taking into consideration a vision of the world and its evolution. With different approaches to this problematical issue, the eight Chairs propose rich and original experiences for training in higher education and offer interesting complementarities, as well as possibilities of synergy.
In elaborating together a publication on « training of actors for sustainable development » which illustrates the concrete experience of the Chairs in question, their directors naturally wished to contribute directly to UNESCO’s major forum « World Conference on education for sustainable development« .
The French Commission for UNESCO wishes to express its thanks to the directors of each of the eight Chairs for their important contribution, as well as to the coordinator of the publication, Professor Patrick Blandin, Professor at the National Museum for Natural History and Co-Director for the UNESCO Chair « Development and Integrated Land Use ». When the conclusions of the seminar were made, the Director of the UNESCO Institute for Education in Hamburg, Adama Ouane, and the Deputy Secretary General of the French National Commission for UNESCO, Jean- Pierre Regnier, underlined the richness of the contributions made during the two-day seminar and once again, stressed the importance of the partnerships established.