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This is an ongoing initiative started in 2001, by the City Council of Barcelona in cooperation with the City Municipal Institute of Education and the Agbar Foundation, a private foundation with strong interest in promoting knowledge and raising public awareness, especially on water and environmental conservation. The Barcelona School Agenda 21 Programme (PA21E) is a programme for schools, which fits into the city’s Agenda 21. PA21E was designed in 2000 in the Environmental Education and Participation Division, in the city’s Environment Department. It has been running for nine school years. Through this programme, the educational communities are involved in diagnosing, providing solutions and undertaking commitments to make a more sustainable city, beginning with their immediate environment, the school itself. A slogan that summarizes PA21E philosophy is “Many small people, in small places, doing small things, can change the world” (Eduardo Galeano). Schools are seen as extremely important in the advance towards more sustainable cities because of their function of educating future adults and their multiplying effect in the community via families. All non-university level schools participate in the PA21E: nursery (0-3 years), infants (4-6) primary and junior (7-12), secondary (13-18) and all levels of special education schools. In the 2009-10 school year, there were 326 schools participating. PA21E stimulates and supports school centres so that they may design, carry out and appraise plans of action with the aim to become more sustainable schools. Any participating school can request for help and specific advice. The programme’s educators go to schools to work with the management and teaching staff, and attend working meetings of the PA21E coordinating committee consisting of teaching staff, pupils and non-teaching staff. Availability of customised support to each school is one of the programme’s strategies that participants most appreciate, and it is undoubtedly one of the keys to its success. An essential element of the Barcelona Agenda 21(BA21) programme is an opportunity to lead the educational community to become involved, together with other community actors (enterprises, associations, the Administration…) in the improvement of the city within the common frame of the BA21 and the “Barcelona People’s Commitment Towards Sustainability”. A network of school centres working towards the same objectives and sharing a learning process work on hundreds of environmental projects each year, and the number has been growing yearly. In the school year 2008/09, a total of 264 projects of very diverse subjects and types have been carried out: energy and water saving, reduction of noise, paper saving, waste prevention, composting, “caminos escolares” and sustainable mobility, naturalization of courtyards and gardens, organic gardens, promoting biodiversity, responsible consumption, improving communication, building participation and co-existence etc. The participating schools monitor the coherence between theory and practice, pupils play a leading role and other stakeholders are involved. The programme has become a collective experience in the continuous improvement of the environment, spanning close to 10 years and has had a social impact on thousands of teachers and hundreds of thousands of students and their families. During the school year 2009/10 alone, the School Agenda 21 Programme has directly involved 81,882 pupils, 7,583 teachers, 1,481 supplementary staff members of the educational centres and 62,970 families. In PA21E, it is understood that environmental education is for understanding and acting, for strengthening participation, personal and collective responsibility, moral and intellectual autonomy, and communication and cooperative working. The PA21E has indicators and provides guidance for schools to do their own self-evaluation. Sustainability is ensured by institutional anchoring in several related municipal departments as well as schools, communities and families. This programme encourages inter-generational interaction and discussion over a subject of great importance to present and future generations. This pioneering programme has spread to other Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Latin American cities.

Barcelona School Agenda 21 Programme
C Torrent del l”Olla 218-220 Barcelona 0O8012 Spain |