The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) supported the advanced International Training Program (ITP) on Environmental Education (EE) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in Formal Education (2004–2009), exclusively for Chinese participants. This programme was in partnership with NIRAS (a Swedish Consultancy Company), Environmental Education Centre in East China Normal University (EEC ECNU), Southern African Development Community Regional EE Program (SADC-REEP) and several other organisations in Sweden and China. During the 6 years, more than 180 environmental education practitioners and their organisations in Chinese formal education at different levels were involved, including educational decision makers, curriculum developers, teaching researchers, school principals and teachers. In this EE and ESD capacity building programme, the participants attended three weeks intensive training in Sweden, mainly on the theories and practices of EE and ESD from international perspectives, and two weeks of regional training in EEC ECNU with a focus on adapting the international experiences into the Chinese situation. By the end of the programme, with the continuous support from the resource people and individual mentors from Sweden, South Africa and China, each participant would finalise their EE and ESD CHANGE project based on the institutional context. They were expected to implement their change projects and to make the real changes happen at their workplaces.

After six years of joint efforts, this ITP supported the EE and ESD process in Chinese formal education successfully. A variety of related change projects created by the participants, for instance an EE and ESD policy proposal at the provincial level, a school-based inter-disciplinary curriculum on climate change, an interactive activity package on water education and so on, were put into practice. More importantly, many cases have shown that struggling with the social, economic and cultural structures, some empowered participants developed their own EE and ESD programmes on emerging sustainable issues and launched their own professional networks. This international cooperative programme was a dynamic process. The changes brought about by the participants happened not only individually, but also organisationally and institutionally. This chapter will reflect the experiences and lessons on the implementation of the ITP, which is expected to help mainstream EE and ESD in Chinese formal education in response to the national strategy for sustainable development in the long term.