Environmental Education (EE) gained international recognition in 1972 with the UN Conference on the Human Environment, in Stockholm, Sweden, which called upon Environmental Education as the means to address environmental issues worldwide. The world's first Intergovernmental Conference on Environmental Education, Tbilisi, Georgia (USSR), organized by UNESCO in partnership with UNEP in 1977, highlighted the important role of EE in the preservation and improvement of the world's environment, as well as in the sound and balanced development of the world's communities. Ten years later, in 1987, UNESCO and UNEP organized an International Congress in Moscow, USSR in order to determine an international strategy for 'action in EE and training' for the 1990s. This was
followed by a third conference held at Thessaloniki, Greece in 1997 which highlighted the role of education and public awareness for achieving sustainability.
In 1992, in order to assess 20 years of work in the field of environment following the 1972 Stockholm conference, the UN organised a Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also called the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The outcomes of this conference were crystallized in Agenda 21 in which Chapter 36, entitled 'Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training', established the basis for action in EE for Sustainable Development for the years to come.
Ten years later, in September 2002, the UN organised the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa to assess progress made in this direction on a worldwide basis.

The 1990s saw several other conferences and meetings which focused on Sustainable Development and the role of education in the process. At the end of the last millennium, United Nations adopted the Millennium Development Goals in an effort to consolidate the partnerships and commitments made at these events.
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